New Year, New You
With a new year approaching, you may be telling yourself this is the year that you will start eating healthier or will lose those fifteen pounds you gained during the holidays. Switching over to a healthier lifestyle is a great decision and the best way to start is by having the most important meal of the day - breakfast.
If you normally skip this first of the daily meals, you shouldn’t. Studies have shown that having breakfast in the morning helps to stave off your hunger for later in the day (like lunch, instead of a Kit Kat), helps promote a good diet by eating regularly and thus eating healthier, as well as giving you energy throughout the day. If you need a quick breakfast, turning to a nice bowl of cereal can start your day off right.
However, shopping for cereal can be just as hard as shopping for a healthier lunch and dinner. Continue reading for some of the best breakfast cereal you should and will want to choose from.
What to Look For
When you go shopping for cereal, you’ll no doubt see the many brightly colored boxes that advertise less sugar or less fat and even those that claim they will help you lose weight. The important thing when looking to buy cereal is not what the company is saying on the front, but what the nutrients are saying on the back or side of the box.
So what should you be looking for when it comes to cereal? The best breakfast cereal is one that is low in fats and sugars, but has a high amount of fiber, protein, and for women, iron. A large amount of fiber will help to stave off hunger until the appropriate hour for lunch, as well as keeping your digestive tract on a regular schedule; protein also helps in keeping hunger at bay and helps to keep you full, so you aren’t reaching for that candy bar an hour later.
Here’s a list of five best selections for breakfast cereal. Again, it’s important to check the nutritional value, as some of the general brands have been updated (as in, now with sugar so that it tastes good and you’ll buy more of it).
1. Un/Frosted Mini Wheats - The original shredded wheat is the best cereal choice as it contains a high amount of wheats and
grains, which are high in fiber. However, it is understandably that some people (especially those trying to ween their way off a high sugar intake) may not take to the blandness of this staple. Frosted Mini Wheats adds some sweetness to the mix; for women, who lose a portion of iron every month, this is a good way to replenish those stores. And it’s a good snack that’s good for you.
2. Cheerios - Original Cheerios (and even a portion of Honey Nut Cheerios) is good for your heart, as it contains soluble fiber, which helps to reduce the risk of heart related illnesses (as does most fibers).
3. Post Grape Nuts - While a little bland, a bowl of Grape Nuts can be a fairly good way to start the day. Made with wheat and barley, this cereal can fend off the hunger, however it can be low in protein and pack on carbs. If the taste isn’t appealing for you, add in some fruit - such as strawberries or raspberries; some people enjoy it warmed for those cold mornings.
Just recently, reports have come out from the FTC and that of the FDA about claims made by cereal companies. Kellogg’s (which makes Frosted Mini Wheats) has come under fire twice for stating their cereals promote healthy eating when they actually may not and during a study by researchers found that Kellogg’s Corn Flakes may not be as healthy as previously thought.
With all this in the news, it’s very important that you read the nutritional labels on the cereal boxes (and other foods). Many of the things we eat going through processing procedures may also add unwanted chemicals or ingredients that we don’t want to have. Does this mean you should go for organic cereals?
On the previous page, I talked about some of the best breakfast cereals you should check out so you can start your day off right. But while these cereals can be healthy for you, there can also be hidden dangers. As stated, most of our food goes through processing procedures so that they come out the way we see them when they finally get to our plates.
These procedures add in artificial colorings, sugars, and big, long words that you wouldn’t even dare to try and pronounce. Thus comes in the proponents of eating organic foods. Organic foods are those that basically don’t go through that whole processing of adding things to appeal to our eyes (and stomachs). These foods are usually naturally grown, no sorts of preservatives or things like that, but can’t possibly include cereal, can it?
Yes it can, as ‘organic’ cereals boast to only having the grains straight from the fields, without any of those harmful ingredients added. To go with the previous three cereals, here are two offerings from Kashi, a maker of organic foods such as cereals and granola bars.
Kashi, which is now owned by Kellogg’s, makes a lot of organic, healthy cereals. Their Honey Sunshine could be a new favorite for
those who enjoyed their Capt’n Crunch as a kid; however this cereal has a fairly high fiber count (6g) and has about 20g of whole grains. You can also try their GoLean brand (the original) which has about 13g of protein and 10g of fiber.
But even organic cereals should be looked out when it comes to their nutritional content. Some of the updated versions may add in sugar or artificial flavoring in order to make it ‘taste good’, which is the number one complaint when it comes to eating organic foods (especially if you’re not use to eating them). Make sure that you are getting the most benefit when dealing with your health by always checking the label and knowing your needs for a healthy diet.