Why I think you should avoid it:
Boxed cereal is the go-to breakfast for a lot of people as it is easy, convenient, and as most people are concerned “healthy”. Unfortunately most breakfast cereals (including granola) are not healthy. They are cleverly marketed with misleading labels such as “whole grain” and “low-fat” which make them sound healthy, but they are actually loaded with sugar, refined grains, hydrogenated oils, salt and, preservatives and chemicals. Starting your day off with a high-sugar breakfast will spike your blood sugar levels, which then a few hours later will crash, causing your body to crave another high-sugar meal or snack. This creates a vicious cycle of overeating which can lead to weight gain and diseases, such a diabetes.
Don’t be fooled by the food industry into thinking this highly-processed, packaged food is a healthy breakfast option. Eat REAL food.
If you absolutely must buy cereal, here are my tips:
1. Carefully read the ingredients list
Reading the ingredients list is important as the first few ingredients listed are what the product contains the most of. If sugar is listed as one of the top 3 ingredients, it’s best to avoid that cereal. Many food manufactures are sneaky and sometimes use different names to hide the amount of sugar in their products.
Here is a list of other common names for sugars:
(there are actually a lot more, these are just come of the most common names)
– agave nectar
– beet sugar
– brown sugar
– cane juice
– cane sugar
– cane syrup
– carob syrup
– caster sugar
– coconut sugar
– confectioners sugar
– corn syrup
– crystalline fructose
– date sugar
– demerara sugar
– dehydrated cane juice
– evaporated cane juice
– fruit juice crystals
– glazing sugar
– golden sugar
– golden syrup
– high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
– icing sugar
– malt sugar
– raw sugar
If you see more than 2 or 3 of these names listed in the ingredients list it is a good indicator that the product has a very high amount of sugar.
If there are any ingredients listed that you have never heard of or are unsure what they are, Google it to find out before you put it in to your body.
2. Read the nutrition information
Look in the ‘quantity per serving’ column and look at the ‘sugars’ and ‘dietary fibre’ content.
Choose cereals that have:
– 5 grams or less of sugar per serving
– at least 3 grams of dietary fibre
– at least 3 grams of protein
3. Pay attention to serving sizes
It can be very easy to go over the recommended serving size with breakfast cereals and you can end up consuming large amounts of calories. Most cereals have a recommended serving size of around 40 grams. If you’re not sure what 40 grams of cereal looks like, weigh it out next time you have cereal. If the recommended serving size does not fill you, you could add some healthy foods on top.
4. Add extra protein and fibre
Adding extra healthy ingredients will make your breakfast cereal more filling and nutritious. Adding some nuts, seeds or Greek yoghurt will boost the protein content. Adding fresh of frozen fruit such as berries or sliced banana will boost the fibre content and give you some extra vitamins and minerals.
Alternative breakfast options:
1. Fresh fruit
5. Homemade granola (check out my recipe here)