Just as some of us who can hardly function without our daily morning cup of coffee, others cannot fathom commencing their day without their refreshing bowl of cereal. Despite hearsays of the breakfast staple’s diminishing popularity, cold cereal is still one of the most prevalent breakfasts in the world, reported global information and measurement company Nielsen. And it is not difficult to see why.
Cereal is relatively easy to prepare when you are racing against time every morning. The last thing you have is the luxury of time to prepare yourself a mega breakfast gourmet. Besides, there is something delightfully pleasing about the sound of your favourite crisp shapes cereals tumbling out of the box and into your breakfast bowl. Not to mention the sweet, crackling comfort when you start crunching them in your mouth after splashing over your preferred cold milk beverage.
However, with the numerous candy-like creations of cereals lining up in the front rows of your nearest supermarket shelves these days, it is not surprising that these grains are gradually earning a bad reputation for being loaded with sugar, low in protein and essentially scarce in nutritional value, which inadvertently leads to the question — can you still enjoy your morning cereals if you plan on losing weight? For some, the thought of giving up cereal completely is as agonising as losing a faithful friend.
Fret not! The abundance of cereal choices also means that there are probably some healthier options hiding amongst the brightly coloured boxes of Honey Stars and Trix. Today, we share with you several nutritious cereal brands and alternatives available for purchase, as well as do-it-yourself (DIY) varieties that you can start your day with without feeling guilty.
Time and again, oats have continuously proven themselves as an extremely nutritious cereal choice and have even been labelled as a superfood by health experts and nutritionists alike.
These whole grains are typically crushed or rolled and consumed as oatmeal and are chock-full of fibre and beneficial nutrients. Half a cup of oats roughly serves you four grams of fibre and cover almost three-quarters of your daily required manganese intake. It also provides you with 16 per cent of zinc and 18 per cent of selenium and phosphorus.
Oats are widely available in stores and are remarkably versatile that it can be whipped up in a wide variety of ways, including steeping it in hot water or milk and topping it with fresh fruits, nuts or cinnamon thereafter. You can also prepare it overnight if you are someone who snoozes your morning alarm repeatedly — simply soak the oats in yoghurt or milk before you go to bed and they will be ready for you to guzzle down before you rush out in the morning.
Granola is quite a healthy cereal option, and even more so if you make them on your own. Homemade granola can be prepared by baking a mixture of rolled oats, dried fruit and a handful of nuts in the oven until it turns crispy. Nonetheless, most types of granola that you can find in stores contain a reasonable amount of healthy fats and protein. It also provides you with more than a few minerals and vitamins, such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins, among others.
However, bear in mind that granolas are rather high in calories — a single cup serving of approximately 120 grams of granola can set you back by almost 600 calories. Therefore, it will be wise to consume granola in moderation and stick to the recommended serving size of a quarter cup (85 grams) to ensure that your calorie intake is kept under control.
Grape nuts are yet another wholesome cereal you can find. This crunchy snack does not contain any added sugar and is produced with merely four simple ingredients — whole-grain wheat flour, dried yeast, salt and malted barley flour. They provide you with seven grams of fibre for every 170-gram serving and is packed with beneficial nutrients, including copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and B vitamins, among others. You can also choose to make a slightly healthier version this nutritious cereal at the comfort of your own kitchen by substituting wheat flour with coconut flour and adding some almonds into it.
Cinnamon Crunch Cereal
There are many of these sinfully delicious cinnamon crunch cereals on the market, most of which are relatively high in added sugar. Try avoiding these commercial ones and create your own healthy version of the cinnamon crunch cereal using cinnamon, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, coconut oil and apple juice. A single serving of this homemade cinnamon crunch cereal offers approximately five grams of filling protein and contain much lower carbs as opposed to its commercial counterparts available in stores.
Choose Your Cereal Wisely
There certainly are many healthy cereal options for you to choose from that provide you with a good source of nutrients without the added sugar. The next time you stroll down the aisle of your favourite supermarket, make it a habit to double-check the ingredient list at the rear or the sides of the box before tossing it into your cart to ensure that you have made a healthy choice. Alternatively, you can also choose to make your own cereal, which is an excellent way to amplify the nutrition content and steer clear of unhealthy ingredients.