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Choose The Best Cereal To Eat For Breakfast

 

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Hear the word “breakfast” and you may conjure up a picture of the archetypal cereal bowl and milk or perhaps you envision a mad morning dash where you’re just lucky to get all the kids out along with their lunches.

Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day, with very good reason. Besides for providing the needed start up for a long day (we have been fasting for at least 7 hours), it also…

  • Provides us with key nutrients we may not be able to make up later in the day (such as iron, calcium, B vitamins and fibre)
  • Keeps us eating less fat and cholesterol
  • Reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes, as indeed one large study found that men who skipped breakfast had higher risk of heart attacks and heart disease mortality.
  • Boosts brain power- keeping us alert through the morning
  • Preserves our feeling of satiety and prevents snacking on less nutritious foods.

While some people may avoid breakfast in the hopes of losing weight, skipping breakfast may in fact increase one’s risk of obesity as eating breakfast puts us on track for making healthier choices throughout the day and gives us extra energy to be more physically active.

So now that we know the whys of eating breakfast, what should we be eating? Should we go stock up on cereal and dust off our bowls and spoons?

The breakfast meal should include foods from three of the four food groups (grains; fruits & vegetables; milk & alternatives; meat & alternatives), and include fiber and protein to keep us feeling full for longer.

Some breakfast ideas:

  • French toast topped with yogurt and sliced peaches
  • A whole wheat English muffin with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes
  • A homemade muffin and fruit smoothie or even warmed-up supper leftovers!

If you go the cereal route, choose varieties with less than 5 grams sugar and 2 or more grams of fiber. Eat with milk and a handful of berries or dried fruit and you have 3 food groups!  Look for cereals high in fiber (2+ grams) and low in sugar (less than 5grams). Keep in mind that a low fat cereal has less than 3 grams of fat.  Use the chart below to help you choose the best cereals.

Flake Cereals  

Flake cereals are usually low in fat, but they do vary in fiber and sugar content.

Children’s/Sugar Cereals

Even with the use of whole grains these cereals are too high in sugar and should be limited maybe to once a week.

High Fiber Cereals

Cereals with 6+ grams of fiber are perfect for adding fiber into the diet, keeping you feeling full longer, and helping with regularity.   Just be sure to drink lots of water.

Granola                                     

Most granola style cereals are highly caloric with added oils and sugars.  A better option may be a home-made granola of rolled oats, sliced nuts, seeds and fruit to control the sugar and fat while increasing fiber.

Make Your Own

Combining cereals can give you the best of both worlds; high fiber, low fat and sugar.  Minimize the amount of high fat or sugar cereal and combine with a high fiber cereal to make your own tasty creation.  Add fruits, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds or other boosts for flavor and fiber.  Get experimenting and think outside of the cereal box!

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About Bracha Kopstick

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Bracha is passionate for educating about health and wellness. She enjoys preparing healthy and delicious foods for family and friends, and believes a healthy lifestyle is possible even within a food-oriented Jewish culture. Bracha has a BASc in Nutrition & Food.�

 

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2 Responses to Choose The Best Cereal To Eat For Breakfast

  1. avatar says: Leah

    There used to be (is?) a cereal called familia. I don’t remember — maybe it became non-kosher or milchig. But the basic idea is similar to granola, without the added oil and sugar. I used to let my kids mix their own, and they called it birthday party cereal, because they could add whatever they wanted. Basically, any flaked grains (think oatmeal…) plus any nuts and/or seeds, and any dried fruits. It’s delicious with either milk or yogurt. If you need to for your kids (or yourself) you can add sweetener, chocolate chips….

    My kids also take the oats and additions and usually peanut butter, and add boiling water to make a hot cereal — no cooking, and high fiber!

    One last thing… Try making your own instant oatmeal.

    Ingredients

    5 cup oats, quick cooking — blend 1 1/4 cups and leave the rest as flakes
    1/3 cup instant dry milk powder
    2/3 cups brown sugar, packed firmly (or other sweetener)
    3 tablespoons cinnamon
    1 cup dried fruit – like apples, apricots…
    1/2 cup nuts, chopped
    1/2 cup raisins or craisins
    Instructions

    In a large bowl, stir to combine all ingredients
    Place 2/3 cup of mixture in a resealable bag

    Instant: Add equal amount of boiling water, stir, and wait a few minutes till it thickens.

    Cooking
    Add 2/3 – 3/4 cup milk or water to a small saucepan and heat to boiling on stove
    Add oatmeal packet and cook 1-2 minutes or until thick

    Microwave
    Add oatmeal packet to microwave safe bowl
    Add 2/3 – 3/4 cup milk or water to oatmeal and stir
    Heat 1-2 minutes on high
    Serve
    Enjoy with additional dried fruit or nuts and milk to taste

    Note:You can add the fruit and nuts into the mixture or leave them out and add right before serving.

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