Healthy Breakfast Cereals
Choosing Healthy Breakfast Cereals can be confusing! When you hit the cereal aisle, colors explode before your eyes! Cartoon characters reach out to grab you and healthy slogans fight for your attention. Choose me I'm the best, most breakfast cereal for your kids, say.
If you bring your kids shopping, the fun starts in the cereal aisle. They will be championing cereals that are not healthy, but advertised on their favorite television shows. Health or whining, what do you base your decision on? If you have excess time, you could attempt to read the statistics of each type, but who has the time and who really knows what to search for?
Healthy Breakfast Cereals should contain:
- At least one serving of whole grains, which is 16 grams of whole grains listed as the first ingredient on the food label.
- Low sugar which would be less than 10 grams, but the lower the better.
- An acceptable calorie count and serving size. Higher calorie cereals include statistics on a very small serving size. Does anyone really eat only a half of a cup of cereal? The average cereal serving size should be between 60 and 80 grams. Check the serving size for the amount that is labeled and make adjustments. If the food label statistics are for 30 grams of cereal, double the stats. Don't be tricked as manufacturers make food labeling confusing and inconsistent.
- High fiber which would be at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, even more if possible. I choose cereals that include 10 grams of fiber if possible.
- Be free of artificial colors and dyes and any additives. You should be able to understand the ingredients listed on the food label.
- Be free of genetically modified food ingredients (GM or GMO) which will not be listed on the food label, so you will need to be a detective on this one. Look for 100% Organic foods which will contain no GM foods! Be careful because regular organic products can contain up to 30% GM foods. Some companies like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Private labels do not include them, so their private brand cereals are great choices! Brands that are guaranteed to be GMO free are Barbara's Bakery, Peace Cereals, and Annie's Home Grown!
- The healthy diet habit is to locate great healthy breakfast cereals that consistently meet most of the above criteria and find choices that your kids love. There are many healthy choices that will fit even a frugal budget. It is a great lifestyle solution to completely eliminate sugary, processed cereals!
My favorite store bought healthy breakfast cereals are:
- Barbara's Brand cereals: The Puffins cereal line is my favorite. There are different varieties like peanut butter, chocolate, cinnamon, multigrain, and original. They contain no wheat, but corn and rice. They are low sugar, but taste sweet. The cinnamon Puffins contain 26 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 90 calories for a serving size of 2/3 cup. This brand also includes Shredded oats cereals like Shredded spoonfuls, High Fiber cereals, and Classics like Cornflakes. There are over 20 different types of Barbara's cereals so lots of variety and 3 of the choices are even gluten-free!
- Kashi Brand cereals: Kashi cereals contain whole grains, high fiber and protein, and are delicious, but they are not sticklers for non GMO foods. They are a bit higher on the sugar than other brands, but the higher fiber and protein will keep you full for a long period of time. Any of the Go Lean brands are great. Costco even carries them at a reasonable price.
- Trader Joe's Store Brand cereals: There are many types, but my favorites are High Fiber Cereal, which is crunchy and retains its crunch in milk, and Joe's O's, which in my opinion top Cheerios!
- Whole Foods Store Brand cereals: Their store brand cereals are reasonably priced and called 365 Brand!
- Nature's Path: Organic Flax Plus is a great choice.
- Cascadian Farms: They offer many cereal choices!
For those of you that want to go the extra mile and limit any processed foods, choose whole grains. Oatmeal or any whole grain can be made into a hot cereal. Choose ones that are minimally processed. Add chopped nuts, dried or fresh fruit, and milk or yogurt and enjoy.
My family loves homemade granola. I have an easy recipe and have added the ingredients that we love! One thing to remember with granola is that it is caloric. A half cup serving goes a long way in staving off hunger until lunch! The healthy diet habit is to avoid sugar processed cereals that your kids will whine for, and choose healthier versions, or best of all go with whole grains made into healthy breakfast cereals!