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Cereal – to Eat or Not to Eat?

by Faith Judson


When we think of cereal, we often immediately think of it as an unhealthy food. For the most part, this is true. Most cereals are processed, made with refined grains, contains lots of added sugars, and overall provide little nutritional value, especially for the amount of calories a serving may contain. However, there are cereals that actually may be beneficial to add to your diet.

What are the benefits? How do you know which cereals to include?  

First, the cereal should be made of 100% whole grain. This will ensure that you will be getting the benefits of whole grains, which include reduced risk for heart disease and diabetes among other health benefits. Whole grains also contain fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and keep you feeling full for longer.  

Next, look for in a cereal is that it is fortified. Fortified cereals are greats sources of lots of added vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function. It can especially help fill in the gaps for people who do not get enough of the vitamins and minerals needed on a daily basis. Certain B Vitamins (Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, B-6, Folate, and B-12), Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and other vitamins are often added into these ready-to-eat cereals. Also often included are minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper.  One note of caution is to look at your diet as a whole, and make sure that what you eat meets the daily vitamin and mineral recommendations but does not excessively over exceed it.

Be sure to keep an eye out for added sugars. Just because some cereals may have nutritional benefits, it does not mean that they are not also loaded with sugar. Make sure to stick to cereals low in sugar by reading the nutrition facts.

These cereals can provide a good source of carbohydrates for your breakfast, but should not be the sole food eaten at a meal. Some balanced meals that include cereals are eggs with a side of cereal, or Greek yogurt with granola that meets the above qualifications.









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