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4 Best Breakfast Cereals

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By: 
Ashleigh Atkinson, MHK

If you can resist the sugar-loaded, cartoon-faced land mines in the cereal aisle, there are some healthier options just right for your macros.

It’s safe to say most of us grew up with cereal as our go-to breakfast option, and some of us never outgrew that comfort food. You can’t beat a bowl of crunchy cereal with refreshing milk. As adults, however, we should likely take a step up from the childhood cereal choices we formerly made and start making more health-conscious choices. Move over, fruity O’s and chocolate crispies; we’ve got some better-for-you options to fill your bowl.

Cereal can be a bit of a crapshoot, even when marketed as being healthy or natural. Reading labels is absolutely critical. Many, perhaps most, are loaded with sugars, which isn’t an ideal way to start or end your day. The added sugar can be so bad that the bowl you’re eating is akin to having a processed-carb breakfast with a Coke!

This list of your four best cereal choices are packed with nutrients, including fibre and whole grains, so you can enjoy them and stay on track with your nutritional plan.

1. Oats. Though this may not be regarded as the most traditional cereal, it’s one you can enjoy hot or cold. Whether you opt for rolled, steel cut, or instant, you’ll be enjoying a breakfast with more staying power than a bowl of sugar. This grain is incredibly nutrient-dense, providing a wide array of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamins B1and B5, to name a few. You also can’t overlook the soluble fibre, as it helps reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels, and it can help you feel satiated for longer. Where a sugary cereal will cause a rapid spike in insulin levels, oats spark a slower absorption of glucose into the blood. Talk about a power food!

2. Puffed Rice. From no-name brands to the snap, crackle, and pop variety, puffed or crisp rice cereals are strong options to include. With one serving* (about 1¼ cup) providing zero fat and 30 grams of carbs, it’s a great way to fill carb macros alone. It also offers a decent number of micronutrients such as vitamin A, C, and E, folic acid, riboflavin, and vitamins B6and B12. The only drawback is the low fibre content, so be sure to eat enough in your other meals. For volume-eaters, this cereal is a great answer!

3. The famous O’s. This iconic cereal has evolved over the years, coming out with new flavours and even limited-edition versions based on seasonal trends (looking at you, pumpkin spice). You can keep feeling like a kid by enjoying this cereal forever with its strong nutrient profile. A single serving* contains a solid quantity of folic acid, iron, zinc, and vitamin B, with smaller amounts of vitamins A, C, and D, and calcium. With a low fat content and only one gram of sugar, a serving yields 20 grams of carbohydrates with 4 grams of fibre. Keep in mind, these values are for the originalversion; many of the other flavours not only have a slightly smaller serving size but also average 8 grams of sugar per serving.

4. Chex. Even though it makes a great party mix, it’s time to add milk and enjoy this as a cereal again. Chex comes in with the largest serving size of the group at 47 grams. With this, you’ll take in one tiny gram of fat, 5 grams of protein, and 40 grams of carbohydrates, consisting of 7 grams of fibre and only 5 grams of sugar. This breakdown is great to fill carb macros without worrying about your other macros. When it comes to micronutrients, folic acid, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12top the list. While these values are for the wheat variety, other flavours such as vanilla, cinnamon, and blueberry have slightly higher sugar counts with a smaller serving size.

Grab a Bowl

The next time you feel a craving for something reminiscent of your childhood, or a refreshing treat, pour yourself a bowl of one of these cereals. You can enjoy it knowing that you’re fueling your body with healthy nutrients while satisfying cravings. If you’re looking for something a little sweeter, try sprinkling some cinnamon on your cereal for added flavour without adding any nutritional content or throw on some fruit, such as blueberries or raisins. An added bonus is that cinnamon can increase insulin sensitivity and is packed with antioxidants. Flavour + health for the win.

*Serving information is for dry cereal only, not including milk.

 

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