With so many options in the cereal aisle… how do you know which one to choose? Look beyond the attractive packaging and the nutrition claims and delve into the nutrition label to find your perfect breakfast companion.
First, look at fiber. If the cereal has 3 grams or less of fiber per serving, make sure it has 8 grams of sugar or less per serving. If the cereal has 5 grams or more fiber per serving, the cereal should contain 16 g of sugar or less per serving
Other things to watch out for:
- Serving Size: Serving sizes can differ between cereal brands. When looking at the label and comparing cereals, look at the serving size and make sure you’re actually choosing the healthier cereal.
- Cholesterol: Don’t think a cereal is extra healthy just because it says “cholesterol free.” Cholesterol comes from animal products… all cereal is cholesterol free.
- Contain real fruit or yogurt: Most cereals that say they contain real fruit are actually fruit flavored pieces that are loaded with sugar and dyes. Cereals that say the contain yogurt or “a good source of calcium,” are usually loaded with sugar and saturated fat. The calcium is added to the product and not from the “yogurt.”
- Multigrain: Many cereal brands put the claim on their products. Make sure to check out the ingredient list and check if the cereal is made from actual whole grains. Look for the key word “whole” in the ingredient list.
They key is to find a cereal that is low in sugar, high in whole grains and fiber, no saturated or trans-fat, and one that actually tastes good! Spend some quality time in the cereal aisle and use these tips to pick a healthier cereal!
Shelly Edens is a Registered Dietitian with Memorial Hospital.