Cereal is a staple food product that many people enjoy for breakfast. While it is a convenient, and for many, a comforting way to start the day, it is important to be aware that not all cereals are created equally and understanding what to look for and what to avoid would go a long way.
Cereal is typically high in carbohydrates and low in protein, which does not make for a balanced meal according to Sherry Roberts, a registered dietitian-nutritionist and certified diabetes care and education specialist with CRM Counseling, a coaching and wellness company in Centerville, Minnesota. Many cereals also contain added sugars, which can increase the risk of heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and obesity according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
However, the news isn’t all bad either. Research published in the March 2022 JAMA Network Open found that cereal fiber specifically was associated with lower inflammation and lower risk of heart disease in older adults. This can be encouraging news for those who still enjoy eating cereal for breakfast, as it is a reminder that not all cereal should be dismissed, but rather that some can be part of a nutritious, well-rounded breakfast.
For those who still enjoy having cereal for breakfast, here are the rules:
In the American Journal of Medicine scientific journal, Lynn Grieger, a registered dietitian-nutritionist and certified diabetes care and education specialist, provided five tips to help you begin your day in a healthier manner.
The first rule proposed by Grieger is to check the label before purchase. When shopping for cereal, it is essential to read through the list of ingredients and the nutrition facts. Choose options that are lower in sugar and saturated fat. Additionally, the label should list at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein per serving.
The second rule recommended by Grieger is to avoid sugar-coated and artificially sweetened cereals. Cereals that are loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners can be detrimental to one’s health. Eating these types of cereals can result in a rapid spike in blood glucose levels and increase hunger.
Next, Grieger suggests eating a cereal that is high in whole grains. Whole grain cereals have more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than white flour or sugary cereals. Whole grain cereals can also help keep a person feeling full for longer and help stabilize blood sugar levels.
The fourth rule recommended by Grieger is to combine cereal with other nutritious foods. An ideal cereal breakfast can include a bowl of whole grain cereal with a serving of low-fat dairy and a handful of fresh or frozen fruit. Eating different types of food together can help provide a more balanced and fulfilling meal.
The final rule proposed by Grieger is to be mindful of portion size. It is important to measure out the serving size according to the label and not to over-consume. Eating a reasonable portion size can help maintain a healthy weight and prevent accidental over consumption.
Following these 5 rules proposed by nutritionist Lynn Grieger can help ensure healthier consumption of cereal. It is essential to be mindful of portion size, choose options that are lower in sugar and saturated fat, avoid sugar-coated and artificially sweetened cereals, choose cereals high in whole grains, and combine cereal with other nutritious foods. Eating a nutritious breakfast that includes cereal can have a significant positive impact on one’s overall health.