When choosing a breakfast cereal to eat in the morning, one of the first questions most people ask themselves is whether or not it’s healthy.
With some cereals, it’s easy to tell straight away that they’ll be packed full of sugar just by the name or the ingredients. But with others, they may appear healthier than they actually are.
There are lots of very healthy choices out there, though, and cereal definitely doesn’t have to be bad for you.
Can Eating Cereals Help You Lose Weight?
If you choose the right type, then cereal can certainly make a healthy breakfast and can actually aid in weight loss. The key is to choose a cereal that’s made with nutritious ingredients like whole grains, whole wheat and is low in sugar and saturated fat.
You should also eat cereal that’s high in fiber and protein and contains lots of vitamins and minerals. There are lots of healthy breakfast cereals out there, and to increase the nutritional value of your morning meal, you can try adding other healthy foods like greek yogurt and fresh fruit.
Included as part of a healthy diet, these kinds of breakfast cereals can help you lose weight, as protein helps you stay full for longer and fiber aids with digestion.
Unhealthy Ingredients In Cereals
The main thing you should try and avoid in breakfast cereals is excessive sugar. This can be pretty difficult as the majority of them do contain added sugar to give them their sweet taste. Eating too much sugary cereal can lead to an increased risk of illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
The best way to check how much added sugar is in your breakfast cereal is to always read the nutrition label on the side of the box. Ideally, a healthy cereal will have less than 6 grams of sugar per serving.
Another ingredient you should watch out for in breakfast cereals is refined grains. This is where the whole grains have had most of the fiber and nutrients removed and so don’t provide any health benefits.
Top 5 Healthy Cereals
Quaker’s Oat So Simple Original Porridge
Porridge is one of the healthiest breakfast cereals you can possibly have. It’s made with whole grain oats, which help lower your cholesterol and are a great source of dietary fiber.
Porridge is known as being very heart-healthy and doesn’t contain much fat, as long as it’s made with low-fat milk. Try to resist putting your own added sugar onto it, as this will make it less healthy.
Kellogg’s Bran Flakes
Bran Flakes are made with whole-grain flakes that are very high in fiber, which promotes good gut health and normal bowel function. They don’t contain much cholesterol either, so they can help to lower the risk of heart-related illnesses.
They’re also low in sugar and most of the sugar they do contain is natural sugar from carbohydrates. The Kellogg’s brand is a good choice, and you should avoid brands of bran flakes that contain lots of added sugar.
Kellogg’s Corn flakes
This classic cereal has been a mainstay at breakfast time around the world for a long time, and there are many good reasons why. They’re made with corn and so are naturally low in fat, and a single serving of Corn Flakes doesn’t contain any saturated fat at all.
Compared to whole-grain cereals, they don’t have a lot of fiber, which is one downside, and depending on the brand, they can have a fair bit of sodium in them. As long as you choose the right brand, Corn Flakes can make a good addition to a balanced diet.
Alpen Muesli No Added Sugar
Alpen Muesli is a healthy mix of nuts, fruit, and grains that’s low in salt, sugar, and saturated fat. The ingredients vary depending on the brand, but Alpen is the go-to for most muesli-lovers.
Weetabix is a shredded whole wheat cereal that is probably the healthiest option of all the cold breakfast cereals. This is because it has no added salt or sugar and is an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Keeping it plain and simple is best to get the most out of it, but if you want a bit of extra sweetness, you can try adding fruits like blueberries or bananas.
Top 5 Unhealthy Cereals
Kellogg’s Honey Smacks
Honey Smacks are one the least healthy cereals on the market due to the massive amount of sugar that’s packed into each serving. Just one serving gives you 15 grams.
Although it contains no cholesterol or saturated fat, this doesn’t make up for that amount of sugar and should definitely only be eaten very occasionally.
Lucky Charms are a staple in many households and a favorite for kids. There’s no denying they’re delicious, but they certainly can’t be called healthy. One serving contains 24% of your daily recommended intake of sugar, so it’s no wonder those marshmallow pieces taste so good.
One saving grace for Lucky Charms is that they do contain a reasonable amount of minerals and vitamins, and one bowl will give you 20% of your daily iron.
Marshmallow Fruity Pebbles
Another sugary offender on the list is Marshmallow Fruity Pebbles, with 18 grams of sugar in a serving. The vibrant coloring of the pebbles may look good, but it’s created using artificial food dyes, which some studies have shown to contain chemicals that can cause cancer.
What’s more, this cereal also contains no fiber at all. It’s actually quite difficult to find a breakfast cereal with no fiber in it, so that does come as a bit of a surprise.
Cap’n Crunch is another cereal that’s made using artificial colorings, namely Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, which are used to create its signature golden appearance. Added sugars are once again very much present in Cap’n Crunch with a whopping 17 grams per serving.
Post Golden Crisp
Golden Crisp may well take the crown for being the unhealthiest cereal currently available. One 38-gram serving contains a rather unbelievable 21 grams of sugar! Not only is that 42% of your daily recommended intake, but it means that in a bowl of Golden Crisp, over half of it will just be sugar.
Where To Buy Healthy Cereal
You can buy healthy cereals from most grocery stores like Target and Trader Joe’s.
Although we all enjoy a sweet treat, if you’re choosing a cereal to eat on a regular basis, you’ll want to make sure it’s not going to be overly bad for you. As we’ve seen, some of the most popular cereals around are some of the most sugary and the least healthy.
It’s still fine to eat them occasionally, but for your daily breakfast, you’ll want to reach for something that’s high in fiber and protein.
Then, when you do treat yourself to something sugary, it’ll taste all the sweeter!