Everytime I’m in the cereal aisle conducting a supermarket tour with my clients, I always show them how to look for a tasty and healthy cereal on the shelves. For breakfast, we all should have a strong source of protein and fiber to keep us full and keep our attention span at work. It is fine to have some sugar as long as it is a reasonable amount of sugar.
Here are the guidelines to find the best cereals:
We must have at least 2 oz. of protein for breakfast. Yes, we can get protein from cereals in the form of oats, soy and whole wheat. On the nutrition label, we see protein listed in grams. However, most of don’t know how to calculate this in term of ounces. So here is the equivalent:
1 oz. of Protein = 7 Grams
The cereal that I always most highly recommend is Kashi Go Lean – it has 13 grams of protein which, if you do the math and divide it by 7, this equals to almost 2 oz. of protein. Of course, we are going to consume this with 1 cup of milk (1 oz. of protein). So, here we have a breakfast that is providing you with 3 oz. of protein.
We should have at least 5 grams of fiber for breakfast, and at least 25 grams per day. If we do not have fiber for breakfast, it will be very difficult to reach that level. Again, my favorite cereal Kashi Go Lean has 10 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. If we sprinkle on a ½ cup of the ever-so-popular blueberries, we get 2 grams of fiber more. You certainly have heard about Fiber One cereals which can provide us with 11 grams of fiber. It is certainly a great choice as well.
25 Grams of Fiber per Day is Recommended
Most healthy cereals do not have a whole lot of sugar. I tell my clients not to choose a cereal that has more than 10 grams of sugar. Here is another equivalent for you:
1 Teaspoon of Sugar = 4 Grams
You will notice that Kashi Go Lean only has 6 grams of sugar which is equivalent to 1½ teaspoons. Fiber One with Raisin Bran Clusters has 13 grams or 3 teaspoons of sugar.
You will see that most cereals do not have any fat unless they have nuts added or they are a granola-type. I always tell my clients to keep the percentage of fat to 20% per serving.
For instance, a granola will have 180 calories per cup and next to the calories on the food label, it will say calories from fat. Look there and do not pay attention to the grams of fat because that is like comparing apples and pears.
1 Gram of Fat = 9 Calories
The Food Label reads:
- Granola 180 Calories
- Calories from Fat 45
- Fat 5grams
So, if you want to understand what the grams mean, all you have to do is multiply 5 grams of fat by 9 to see how many calories it has. So 5 grams is equal to 45 grams calories from fat. You divide 45 by the total calories in a granola which is 180 – you’ll get 25. This means that the granola is 25% fat.
After reviewing these guidelines, you will see that there many cereals that are healthy and tasty. Some clients tell me they like to add these cereals to a homemade trail mix with nuts and dried cranberries. ENJOY! Call me if you have any questions about reading the cereal food label. I know it can get confusing.