Whole Grain Breakfast Cereals: Top Ways To Start Your Days

Quite a few years ago, in the days of C.W. Post and W. K. Kellogg, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal was the latest fad, with two or three different types to choose from. Fast forward several decades and breakfast cereals have exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry with an entire supermarket aisle overflowing with different shapes, flavors and forms. And these days, many manufacturers try to entice you by promising their cereal is “Made with Whole Grain.” In fact, it might appear that those rainbow-colored, sugar-coated rings are the nutritional equal of a bran flake or shredded wheat, but it’s not the case. We?ve read all the fine print to find out which whole grain cereal is really what it says it is.

Helpful Hints
In case we missed your favorite cereal below, here are a few things to consider when deciding how best to fill your breakfast bowl.

  • Check the ingredient. Ingredients are listed in descending order’the closer to the top an ingredient is, the more of it is found in the food. When it comes to whole grain cereal, the first ingredient should be a whole grain such as 100% whole wheat, whole oats, etc.
  • Avoid sugar shock. While you may steer clear of the cereals featuring cartoon animals, it’s not a guarantee that your breakfast choice is low in sugar. Know that 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon’so a cereal with 16 grams of sugar per serving has the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar. The only exception, sort of, is fruit-containing cereals like raisin bran. Since raisins naturally contain sugar, raisin bran is going to contain more sugar than a simple flake cereal. In that instance, look for the brand with the lowest sugar.
  • Bump up the nutrition quotient. A bowl of whole grain cereal topped with low-fat or skim milk is a nutrition-packed way to start your day, but you can boost the nutrients even more by sprinkling on fresh fruit, nuts or both.

? Heidi McIndoo, M.S., R.D.

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