“Take your health cerea-sly and eat your bowl of healthy cereal daily!” Cereals can be the most nutritious food that you can have for breakfast, if you choose wisely. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Keep reading to know more about their health benefits and to find out the best cereals for breakfast.
What is Breakfast Cereal?
Breakfast cereal is made by processing grains and is often enriched with vitamins and minerals. It is usually consumed with milk, yoghurt, fruits or nuts. No breakfast is as quick and easy as making cereal.
Whole grains go through a long process for making the cereals that we have at our breakfast table. The steps include:
- Processing: The grains are processed into fine flour and cooked.
- Mixing: The flour is mixed with ingredients such as sugar, cocoa, and water.
- Extrusion: Machines are used to shape the cereal.
- Drying: After shaping the cereal, it is dried.
Which are the Best Cereals for Breakfast?
A variety of cereals are available in the market in various shapes and forms. Some of the commonly used cereals are:
Oats is a whole-grain cereal that is a popular breakfast choice worldwide. It is gluten-free and packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin B, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Oats are also a rich source of a soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which promotes healthy digestion.
Granola is a combination of oats, seeds, nuts and fruits, which is sweetened (using honey, maple syrup, etc.) and baked. Granola increases the levels of healthy gut bacteria as compared to other breakfast cereals. The seeds and nuts in granola are good sources of antioxidants that help fight inflammation. They are also high in fibre, making granola a satiating breakfast that helps curb your appetite for long hours.
Muesli is similar to granola, with the only difference being that granola is sweetened and baked while muesli isn’t. Thus, muesli has fewer calories as compared to granola. Opting for unsweetened muesli is the best choice to reduce your calorie intake, especially if you are on a weight-loss regime or are a diabetic. Muesli is a rich source of fibre, protein, essential nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, and is also a powerhouse of iron.
All whole grains are healthy and nutritious. However, their nutritional value may decrease during the process of making cereals. Meanwhile, fortified cereals contain most of the essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you might be looking for in a good, healthy breakfast.
How to Choose a “Healthy” Breakfast Cereal?
For adding a healthy breakfast cereal to your daily diet, some tips to take care of include:
1. Less Sugar
Read the food labels to look for breakfast cereals that contain less than 5 g of sugar per serving. Also, be mindful of cereals with barley malt extracts as an ingredient as it is just another name for sugar. This will help in lowering your sugar intake and keep a check on your total calories consumed per day.
2. Look for High-Fibre
A high-fibre diet can reduce your risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. You can opt for cereals that are made with 100% whole grains such as oats, wheat, and barley with at least 5 g of fibre per serving. Fibre keeps you full for long periods, preventing frequent hunger pangs and thus lowering your calorie intake.
3. Add Some Protein
A protein-rich diet promotes satiety and reduces your appetite. This is likely because protein may reduce levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and a fullness hormone called Peptide YY (PYY). You can add up a handful of nuts, seeds, or greek-yoghurt to your breakfast cereal bowl.
[Note: As breakfast cereals are crunchy and appetising, sometimes you may end-up bingeing on them. All breakfast cereals come with a label that includes their nutritional information along with the calories in each serving. Make sure you go through the label to keep a track of how many calories you are consuming per serving.]
What are the Health Benefits of Cereals?
Cereals make for a healthy and nutritious start to your day. Some of the health benefits you can achieve from a bowl of cereal are:
- Having a bowl of cereal in the morning keeps you satiated for long, which helps avoid frequent snacking. Thus, cereals can help you cut out on calories and aid in weight loss.
- Fibre-rich cereals such as oatmeal can boost your gut health and also reduce the risk of chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Cereals are also a good source of protein, which is beneficial in building muscle mass and accelerating weight loss by improving your metabolism.
- They are also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in reducing your cholesterol levels and thus lowering the risk of heart diseases.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Breakfast cereal is made by processing grains and is often enriched with vitamins and minerals. It is usually consumed with milk, yoghurt, fruits or nuts.
- Cereals are available in various shapes and forms. Some of the most commonly used breakfast cereals are oats, granola, and muesli.
- You can go for fortified cereals that contain added vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients you might be looking for in a healthy breakfast.
- For adding a healthy breakfast cereal to your daily menu, opt for cereals having less sugar content, look for cereals with high fibre content, and add protein in the form of seeds, nuts, and yoghurt.
- Cereals make for a healthy and nutritious start to your day. Some of the health benefits you can achieve from a bowl of cereal include better digestion, improved metabolism, weight loss, low cholesterol levels, and better heart health.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading nutritionists and dieticians to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order tasty treats, breakfast foods, health juices, snacks and more!
Cereals are a good source of fibre, proteins and carbohydrates, which makes it an ideal breakfast. However, make sure that you find a whole-grain cereal, keep a check on your portion size, choose cereals that have low sugar content, and opt for low-calorie cereal options (not more than 200 calories per serving). For added benefits, you can choose skimmed milk and add fruits, nuts, and seeds to your cereals.
A healthy breakfast should have a good balance of fibre, proteins, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients. Whole grain cereals such as oats can be one of the healthiest options that you can choose from. You can add low-fat milk and fresh fruits to your oatmeal to increase its nutritional value. It keeps you full for longer, thus reducing the need for frequent snacking, and lowering your calorie intake.
Cereals that are highly processed and contain a high amount of refined sugar content can be considered the less healthy ones. As per American Diabetes Association (ADA), to opt for the best cereal for breakfast, you should choose ones that contain at least 3 g of fibre and less than 6 g of sugar content per serving. Cereals that do not pass on these criteria may not be beneficial for your health.