If you walk up and down the supermarket cereal aisles, you know there are hundreds of choices for your breakfast bowl. Quite frankly, many of them are not as healthy as a candy bar. If you’re looking to improve the health of your morning meal, choosing whole grain cereals several times a week is a good place to start. A whole grain, by definition, is one containing all of its natural parts including bran, the germ, and endosperm.
Studies have shown that a diet high in whole grain items has positive health benefits.
Some of those include lower blood glucose which is a big boost for preventing diabetes. They also reduce the risk of certain cancers, especially thyroid, mouth and upper digestive tract cancers. A diet rich in whole grains is good for your heart and maintains a healthy digestive system. It may prevent diverticulitis. And, those eating whole grains regularly report a greater degree of success with weight control.
While there are some very poor choices in boxed cereal, there are some surprisingly good ones as well. Cereals high in fiber and protein and low in sugar are the best choices. Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat and Honey Nut Cheerios are three cereals falling in the healthy category. Most Kashi cereals and those from Barbara’s Bakery and Ezekiel 4:9 are also generally healthy choices.
Advertising on cereal boxes as on any product can sometimes be misleading. Don’t read the front of the box, but instead always look at the nutrition information on the side or the back. You’ll find the calorie count per serving and also the fats, sugars and fibers in grams. You’ll also see what the first listed ingredients are. If the cereal is a healthy whole grain product, the first ingredients will be the whole wheat, corn, rice or other whole grain. The wording is important. If you’re looking for whole grain cereals, you must see the words whole grain, not “made with whole grain,” which means there is a lesser amount of whole grain mixed with processed wheat, corn, or whatever grain is involved.
Another choice for healthy grains at breakfast is cooking your own hot cereal. Rolled oats is a popular choice, but if you do a little bit of research, you’ll find good recipes for other whole grains in your breakfast bowl. You might try cracked wheat, cracked barley, quinoa, or cracked corn. Mother Earth News has some excellent recipes for homemade breakfast cereals. You can also find addresses for ordering your own whole grains if you desire to grind them yourself at home, thus increasing the health of the product.
Experiment with the whole grain cereals your family enjoys the most. Granolas are full of healthy items such as oats, nuts, wheat germ, seeds, and the like, but they also are high in fat and sugars. You might want to branch out and try some whole grain products your family has never tasted such as triticale, millet, sorghum, whole rye or buckwheat. Each grain has its own distinctive flavor. Check the organic aisles at your supermarket or the whole food markets in your area.
You’ll find great whole grain cereal recipes at Whole Living.