Grocery guru: cereals
What to look for on the label to ensure you get the healthiest brekkie for your needs
The results are in – eating cereal is good for your health. So good, in fact, that people who enjoy breakfast cereal regularly have less chance of developing heart disease or diabetes. Plus, they’re likely to weigh less. And yet, which cereal to choose? Supermarket shelves are brimming with so many options, each boasting various nutrition benefits. But in truth, some are more like a dessert in disguise. To help you avoid the traps and pick the best of the bunch, here’s what to look for on the packet:
Made with wholegrains
Yep, that’s what you’re after, because wholegrains are the ones that have all three layers of the grain intact – a fibre-filled outer layer, a starchy middle layer and a nutrient-rich centre. By comparison, a refined grain such as puffed rice and many flaked cereals, contain only the starchy middle layer, meaning most of its goodness has been thrown away. So, read the ingredients list and opt for a cereal made with wholegrains for a nutrient-filled breakfast that will keep you going till lunch. Look for wholegrain wheat, rolled oats or bran twigs.
Full of fibre
Fibre plays an important role in that full feeling (and not craving a mid-morning snack), as well as keeping you regular. It’s also associated with blood sugar control and can work to lower cholesterol. As a guide, when looking at the nutrition panel on the pack, aim for more than 10g fibre per 100g.
Low in sugar
While ‘quitting’ sugar is still on everyone’s radar, it’s not really necessary. Look for less than 15g sugar per 100g and you’re off to a good start. But if your cereal contains dried fruit, it counts towards the sugar, while adding beneficial nutrients and fibre. You can spot too much unwanted added sugar by scanning the ingredients list – if it’s listed towards the start then the cereal’s high in added sugar.