So how can you choose what’s best for you and your family?
Experts say that choosing a healthy breakfast cereal is mainly about getting in whole grains – research suggests those who eat more whole grains are at lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.
“Consumers should aim to select cereals that are high in fiber, ones that are made with whole grains,” says Sandra Affenito, PhD, RD, CDN, an associate professor in the department of nutrition at Saint Joseph College. “Americans of all ages do not consume the recommended fiber intake.”
In addition to whole grains, your breakfast cereal needs to be low in sugar, and contain no saturated fat or trans fat. A helpful tool is the nutrition panel on the side of the cereal box (ignore any health claims made on the front). Compare the nutrition listing to the overall serving size. For example, if a cereal says it has 10 grams of sugar and a serving size of 30 grams, that means the cereal is one-third sugar, which isn’t the healthiest of choices.
- A product’s ingredients are listed in order of quantity. If the first or second ingredient is refined, the cereal probably isn’t very good for you. Always look at the first two ingredients listed.
- Consider adding your own fruits and other healthy ingredients to your cereal for added nutritional benefits.