Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Healthiest Breakfast Cereals


We all eat cereal. Well, most of us do. But interpreting the information on the box is usually pretty difficult when every cereal company sells their cereals as the highest in fiber content. I know, it’s like is fiber THAT important that it trumps everything else?! Since this is something most of us eat every day, I thought it would be great for us to know what our options are. We’ll talk about the nutritional content of each, but we’ll leave out the fiber because all the cereals named here will be high in fiber content.

Quaker Oatmeal Squares: Really, basically anything Quaker Oats. As far as I know, this cereal is available in three flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon and Golden Maple. One cup of this cereal with skimmed or soy milk contains about 250 calories and 6 grams of protein. It has no cholesterol too. Because the flavors are mostly sugar-based, it is a little high in sugar content. But realize that the calories and sugar come from natural ingredients like oats, whole grain, and brown sugar.

Shredded wheat: Yea, you guessed it. There are several brands of shredded wheat cereals, but make sure you stay away from the frosted kind. Frosted shredded wheat is almost like Frosties. It contains a huge amount of refined sugar, which defeats the purpose of eating a healthy cereal. Plus, shredded wheat cereals are not the tastiest so if you’re going to fill your bowl with sugar, why not go for something tastier? So the summary is: stay away from anything ‘frosted’. What is the nutritional information in two biscuits of shredded wheat? About 160 calories, and 5g of protein. It contains no sugar and no cholesterol, and the only ingredient is whole grain wheat. The only ingredient! Obviously, this seems like the healthiest cereal ever.

Weetabix: But then we encounter Weetabix. Those who know me know I have a bond with this cereal. It’s like it understands me. Anyway (before I start talking of cereal like an actual human being), Weetabix is another brand where I’d say almost everything they make is tasty but healthy. There are about 127 calories in two biscuits and 4g of protein. Whole grain wheat is also the major ingredient (95%), and it does contain sugar and salt, but in very little amounts. It’s suitable for vegans as well :)

Golden Morn: Yes, your mama had it right. Some people argue that Golden Morn is for babies, but I think otherwise. It’s a great cereal full of whole grain and milk. Half a cup contains about 70 calories and 2g of protein. Since it is very similar to Cerelac, I will admit that it’s a little toddlerish, but it works for me!

Special K: Special K is amazing because there are so many flavors. You’d definitely find something you liked if you looked. There’s the Original flavor, the Multigrain Oats & Honey flavor, Red Berries, Cinnamon Pecan, Fruit & Yogurt, and lots more. See, I told you there were many flavors. The only drawback to Special K is that it is a pretty light cereal and does not keep you full for too long. One cup of the Multigrain Oats & Honey flavor contains about 150 calories and 2g of protein.

Kashi Go Lean Crunch: This also contains a lot of whole grain. And if you like really crunchy cereal, this is your thing. Hence the name ‘Go Lean Crunch’. But what you may not know is that although it contains a little more calories than some of the other cereals here – 190 calories per cup – it also packs on a whole lot of protein – about 9g per cup. So for the gents, or the ladies trying to tone up, this is a great way to add some protein to your diet.

Post Grape-Nuts Trail Mix Crunch: Well, the box says 100% natural so it must be good right? But what’s good about this cereal? It’s that it contains 200 calories and 6g of protein in a half cup. I know, I know, a half cup sounds small compared to the others, but this is a much heavier cereal so the amount you get in a half cup is about the amount you get in a cup of the others. Oh, and as for the ingredients, it’s all about the whole grain too.

Raisin Bran: So several companies have made their own version of this cereal, but it’s mostly the same story. I’ll give the info here based on the Kelloggs brand. The box says that one cup of Raisin Bran contains about 190 calories and 5 grams of protein. However, there are a few ingredients in this cereal that may worry you if you’re trying to go all natural. For example, does anyone know what ‘invert sugar’ is?

All-Bran: Another Kelloggs product, All-Bran has been around for as long as I can remember. It is very high in protein with about 8g in a 1-cup serving, and has about 160 calories in a cup. Over the years, Kelloggs has introduced a couple of flavors, but ‘Bran Buds’ and ‘Complete Wheat Flakes’ doesn’t sound too different from the original to me.

Cheerios: If you have ever turned on a television in the US, you'd probably be expecting to see this one first, right? With Cheerios, it’s very easy to stay on the right track, but also very easy to go the other way. It is a very light cereal too so you get tempted to just keep eating, which destroys the purpose of eating a healthy cereal. So make sure you watch how much you eat. Also, there are many flavors, but I suggest sticking to the Original or Multigrain flavors because they contain mostly whole grain with fewer calories. One cup contains only about 110 calories. However, this cereal does not contain a lot of protein – one cup contains only about 2g of protein.

There you have it, some healthy cereal options. I try them all only for you :) Here is a summary to help you make an informed decision when next you go grocery shopping.


If you have more cereals you’d like to add to the list, let us know.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

2 comments:

  1. good to know; been trying to look out for healthier cereals, particularly for the kids, thanks Suzanne

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  2. Thanks for this but is Golden morn healthy for adults?

    ReplyDelete

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