Is cereal really dessert in disguise?
Scan a typical grocery store aisle. With about 130 varieties of cold cereal, each box yelling its seductive “low sugar!” “high fiber!” “great source of whole grains!” health claims, it’s easy to feel, well, bowled over. “Some cereals are as healthy as salad, others are like scarfing down a chocolate eclair,” Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of The Flexitarian Diet, recently told Health magazine. “But while there are a lot of sugary cereals, happily, it’s easier than ever to find a really nutritious one.” Here’s how to find the healthiest cereal for you.
When your healthy cereal is a sugar bomb
Grab your favorite cereal box and look at the ingredient list: You may be shocked to see that some form of sugar appears—perhaps multiple times—in the first few ingredients. “Even if a cereal is made from whole grains or loaded with other healthful ingredients, a high sugar content disqualifies it from my list of top picks,” Today contributor and nutrition expert Joy Bauer, RD, says. Too much sugar adds unnecessary calories, and it also spikes your blood sugar and primes you for a mid-morning energy dip. Enter snack cravings!
Healthy cereal makeover: Expert recommendations vary, but most say look for fewer than 5 to 8 grams of sugar per serving. (Don’t judge a box by its cover: Quaker Honey Graham Oh!s cereal, for instance, has 12 grams, while Lucky Charms cereal has 10 grams.) For great options, check out FitSugar’s list of low-sugar cereals, where most have 5 grams or fewer. If you still can’t give up on your favorite, mix it with a serving of low-sugar cereal.