Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Choosing whole, plant-based foods is always the healthiest option, and it’s often the easiest, since you won’t have to sift through ingredients. Buying whole foods also tends to be cheaper, since you aren’t paying for the extra processing and packaging. This lack of packaging is why it often pays to buy your oatmeal, rice, and other grains in the bulk section. For busy mornings, however, it can be helpful to have a decent breakfast cereal, or homemade muesli on hand. And if you choose to buy such products, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
First, you’ll want to check the ingredients list, which ideally have fewer than five ingredients and have little to no added sugars. Added sugar is often disguised as a seemingly “natural” ingredient and includes corn syrup, agave, cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, sucrose, barley malt, dextrose, and rice syrup, among others.
If the ingredient list does contain added sugar, make sure that the added sugar is towards, or at the bottom of the list (ingredients go in descending order, according to amount used).
Next, look at the serving size and grams of sugar per serving. Since cereals are grain-based (unless unsweetened dried fruit is in the ingredient list), your sugar grams are coming directly from these added sugars. A good rule to remember is that 4 grams equals 1 teaspoon of sugar. If the serving size is 3/4 cup, with 15 grams of sugar/serving, and you typically have 1 1/2 cups of cereal in your bowl, then you’re eating roughly 7 teaspoons of sugar for breakfast.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
The best option when choosing a breakfast cereal is choosing a variety with no added sugar. Sweetening your own cereal with fresh fruit, a small handful of dried fruit, or a teaspoon of your preferred sweetener is the best option. Additionally, adding spices like nutmeg and cinnamon may make you feel less of a need for added sweeteners.
Aside from homemade muesli, here are some of our top recommendations for breakfast cereals:
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