Millions of people have cereal for breakfast every day. It is supposed to be nutritious and to give you the energy to go through the day. But how do you know whether it is really healthy and beneficial? Use some practical advice on how to select the healthiest cereal for you and your family.
Less Sugar Is Better
It is certainly beneficial to get a little bit of sugar in the morning as it gives you energy to start the day. However, too much sugar is bad for your teeth, for your weight and for your health as a whole. That is why you should be extra careful about this ingredient when searching for the healthiest cereal.
Check the grams of sugar per serving and calculate the percentage of sugar in each serving as well. The latter is essential since 10 grams may not seem a lot but when the serving is 30 grams the sugar corresponds to one third of all nutrients which you will get. The lower the percentage is the better. Experts recommend that you avoid the products which have over 4 grams of sugar per serving.
You should watch out for substitutes of sugar such as sugar alcohols which are not healthy. The alcohols in particular can cause digestion problems and great discomfort. In general, if you are not familiar with an ingredient listed on the box it is best to check it up online to confirm that it is healthy and that it does not add extra calories to the serving.
Look for Whole Grains
Whole grains are much healthier than refined grains. They bring healthy carbs and protein to your diet and have a good amount of fiber. When reading the label of a cereal, you should look for whole-grain wheat and whole-grain oats. These should be among the first two or three ingredients on the list. This shows that they are in abundance at least when compared to the other ingredients. Just like with sugar, you should calculate the percentage of whole grains which you will get with each serving. The higher this percentage is the better.
Get Dietary Fiber
This is one of the healthiest compounds that you can get with your cereal. Even though it is not actually digested, it helps to keep cholesterol and blood glucose under control and to keep the digestive system in good condition. It helps to protect you from heart disease, diabetes and gastrointestinal conditions.
The best sources of dietary fiber included in cereals are bran and nuts. Oat and soy fiber may have healthy benefits, but they have not been fully confirmed yet. That is why you should look primarily for the first two ingredients mentioned here. You should try to get at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
Be Careful with Dried Fruits
The dried fruits in cereals bring a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals so they are definitely great ingredients to have. The problem is that some manufacturers just add dye, flavoring and cent to jelly and add it to the box presenting it for fruit. The best way to avoid falling into this strap is to compare dried fruits from the box to ones that you buy in the local market. If there is noticeable difference in the texture and taste then the fruits in the cereal are not genuine. Alternatively, you can buy cereal and dried fruits separately and mix them together for breakfast.
Finally, when you choose the healthiest cereal, you need to pair it with the healthiest milk for the most nutritious and beneficial breakfast. Choose low-fat milk without any added ingredients. Almond milk is a suitable option for vegetarians and vegans.