Top tips for choosing a breakfast cereal

August 17, 2011 BY: LISA

Breakfast Cereals

Choosing the right breakfast cereal can be a mine field as there are now so many choices on the supermarket shelves.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it literally “breaks the fast” given that you have not eaten overnight (and nor
should you be). Research has shown that people who eat breakfast have a better chance of achieving the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals. Breakfast also improves concentration levels and importantly eating breakfast is a characteristic of people who successfully maintain their weight – so it’s a must not only for kids but for adults too.

So how do you know what’s good?

Here are my top tips:

  1. Choose a cereal you like the taste of. As breakfast is such a healthy habit to get into it’s important that you enjoy the
    taste of the cereal. Let’s face it, if you don’t like the taste you are unlikely to keep eating eat.
  2. Choose a cereal high in fibre. Breakfast provides an excellent opportunity to reach the daily fibre recommendations, which are 25grams for women and 30grams for men, and breakfast cereals can be a great source of fibre. Fibre is essential for good bowel health and regularity and soluble fibre can assist with cholesterol lowering. Look on the nutrition information panel and choose a cereal that has >15grams of dietary fibre per 100grams.
  3. Go low in sodium. Sodium (salt) raises blood pressure so decreasing the amount of sodium in your diet is good for heart
    health. Surprisingly, some breakfast cereals are high in sodium so check the label for sodium levels <450mg per 100grams.
  4. Choose cereal that doesn’t have heaps of added sugar. All cereal will show sugar on the label so it’s impossible to get one
    without it. Be aware that cereal with dried fruit in it will have a higher sugar reading on the label – but there is nothing unhealthy about small amounts of dried fruit. Steer away from those cereals that have sugar added in large quantities. Be aware that those cereals that have “clusters” are likely to be higher in sugar and fat as this is what will help to stick the clusters together.
  5. Choose lower in fat if you are watching your weight. Most cereals are low in fat however, now there are a lot of cereals
    that have nuts in them. On the packaging you will find that they are higher in fat than those without nuts. This is because nuts have oil within them which is a fat. Keep in mind that the oil from nuts is beneficial to your health however
    it will also increase your weight if you are eating this too often or in large quantities. If you are trying to lose weight then choosing a cereal high in nuts may set you back. If you love them then consider having it every second day, alternating with a low fat cereal or having a small amount of the nut based cereal on top of another high fibre low fat variety of cereal.

Lisa Renn is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and

author of Body Warfare– The Secret to Permanent Weight Loss”

(Brolga Publishing 2011) RRP $25.00



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