A bowl of breakfast cereal may not be the healthiest option in the morning. This guide explains just what makes branded breakfast cereals a bad choice – and how you can make them healthier.
Most cereals are full of added sugar
A lot of the cereals you see in the supermarket are loaded with added sugar. This sweetness is added in order to help them appeal to kids – and it can make such cereals tasty and addictive. However, this excess sugar ultimately isn’t good for your body.
Eating breakfast cereal is likely to spike your blood sugar levels. Many people experience a sugar crash a few hours later, which makes them crave more food. Weight gain and diabetes are common side-effects of a high sugar diet. Cutting out sugary breakfast cereals could have a big impact in helping you to lose weight and reduce the risk of diabetes.
They’re also full of refined grains
While whole wheat grains are packed full of nutrients, most cereals are made from refined grains, which have had all the nutrients stripped out. You’re essentially eating lots of empty carbs.
Refined grains are also surprisingly low on fibre. As a result, a bowl of cereal isn’t very filling and most people end up craving something a couple hours later.
Not all breakfast cereals are unhealthy
Some breakfast cereal options are healthier than others. It all comes down to the ingredients.
A healthy breakfast cereal should ideally have little or no added sugar and should be made from whole grains. A benefit of whole grain cereals like oatmeal porridge, whole wheat corn flakes and muesli is that they keep you fuller much longer. You can find these cereals in supermarkets and in health food stores.
Of course, a bowl of oatmeal on its own isn’t very exciting. This is why a lot of people add fruit and nuts. Fruit can add some sweetness and will also add vitamins and extra fibre. There are lots of different fruits you can try including bananas, raisins, apple slices, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries and kiwi. Nuts can meanwhile add extra flavour too, while also providing extra protein. Sites like itsgrowli.com explain more about how to add protein to your cereal if you’re planning a workout.
You should try not to add sugar to your cereal. If you’re really craving that added sweetness and you’re not able to get it from fruit alone, consider adding honey instead. A spoonful of honey contains about as much glucose as a spoonful of refined sugar, however honey does have added health benefits such as helping to fight illness and reduce inflammation due to containing small amounts of vitamins and antioxidants.
Ditch the heavily-processed cereals
Organic cereals are much better for you than processed cereals because you know they haven’t been filled out with sugar and other additives. You can usually tell which cereals are mostly organic and which are heavily processed just by looking at the packaging. This guide at asweetpeachef.com lists a few healthy cereal options that could be worth looking into.