BLOG 229: CEREALS
What’s breakfast without cereal when you were a kid?? Super convenient and taste bud pleasing, but is cereal actually healthy?? Cereal does come from processed grains. How cereal is made is highly processed starting with processing the grains into flour, then adding sugar and water, undergoing high temperatures to shape the cereal, and then drying out the product into the final shapes. Nutrients are added, hence many of the labels stating fortified with vitamins and minerals. This crunchy food is typically enjoyed with milk or yogurt in puffed, flaked, or shredded form.
The major trouble that comes with cereal is the added sugar. Consumers are often misled by false claiming labels. You have to read the nutrition facts, not the claims that say they can lower cholesterol or help fight diabetes. The next problem with cereal is that most people eat well over one serving at a time. Most cereals abide by ½ cup to 1 cup per serving with around 200 calories. However, a “bowl” of cereal is much more than this amount. Many cereals also contain refined grains, so it is important to find those that are whole grain so that more of the nutritional value is intact. To help out, always look for cereals that contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Another worry with cereal is that it can pack on the sodium. Therefore, between the added sugar and sodium, it’s no wonder we want to keep adding more and more to the bowl if there is milk left. Some cereals contain up to 500 mg per serving. When it comes to sugar, some cereal equates to eating cookies. Cereal also does not contain much protein at all, which means it doesn’t necessarily keep you satiated unless of course you eat a large quantity of it.
There are close to 6 million types of cereal. There are many crispy and crunchy brands. Cereals is quick and easy, and of course has a longer shelf life than eggs and toast since it is a highly processed food. There are also hot cereals such as oatmeal and grits. All types of cereal either come in corn, wheat, or rice form. This ready to eat packaged option makes the morning routine much easier to manage. The worst types of cereals are those made for children and they can contain up to 50% sugar. The packages only claim the good qualities, but it is important to read further into your selection. All of the colors and shapes make cereal fun and attractive. Even in adulthood we can be nostalgic for a good bowl of cereal. For some, it’s a late-night snack too. Always read labels, always. Then make more informed choices because how you start your day can direct your energy, mood, and performance.