I'm a 90's kid. I spent most of my childhood eating 2 bowls of cereal every morning for breakfast. Favorites included Trix, Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Cookie Crisp. (God bless my mother for dealing with five children, each on a serious sugar high.) I wish we would have all known better at the time. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we should treat it as such.
To celebrate #NationalCerealDay, fill a bowl with milk and opt for varieties following our Nutrition Editor Sidney Fry's "5-5-10" rule for labels. Hit the grocery aisle and look for boxes with more than 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, but less than 10 grams of sugar. Here are three things to keep in mind:
1. More whole-grains: This should be the first item on the ingredient list as it's a clear indication of whether your cereal boasts fiber or not. Five grams is the minimum Fry suggests, but the more the merrier.
2. More nuts and seeds: Many cereals contain added proteins or "isolates," which are often highly processed. Stick to those with whole-grains, nuts, and seeds that are naturally packed with protein.
3. Less added sugars: Fry says 10 grams is equal to 2 heaping teaspoons and often "complicated 'healthy' cereals contain as much as 16g per serving—more sugar than a glazed doughnut." Avoid varieties with dried fruits and check that added sugars fall far to the bottom of the ingredient list.
Now, using Fry's "5-5-10" rule and knowing what to look for in a nutritious cereal, my new favorites serve up much healthier mornings. Kashi's Organic Promise Cinnamon Harvest Whole Wheat Biscuits is the perfect breakfast for chilly winter days. Hints of warm and toasty cinnamon spice will woo your senses. And Lydia's Organics Berry Good Cereal is a nutty, fruity, and down-right delicious gluten-free option boasting 11 grams of protein in each serving. It also makes a great mid-day snack. A major win-win!
Try my suggestions or find some new options on your own.