When it comes to getting the best cereal for yourself or your kids, it can become an uphill task. This is because there are so many options to choose from. If not taken care, you will pick the wrong cereal box loaded with unhealthy nutrients for you and your family. To prevent you from such mistakes, we have listed 7 cereal nutrition facts you should look out for when next you are at the mall. Plus, before the end of the article, we will point out some tips on how to choose the best cereal.
It is important to know the calories you consume in a bowl of cereal by finding out the number of calories in a single serving. If the total calorie on the box is high, chances are that per serving calorie will also be high, e.g., 3/4 cup of cereal and 1/2 cup milk equals one serving size and approximately 170 calories.
When it comes to picking out healthy cereal for kids; whether it is fiber one cereal, shredded wheat cereal, or grape nuts cereal, you sure want to look at the ingredients to know what that cereal is made of. When looking at the ingredient list, you will find that the ingredient with the largest content will be listed first while others follow. This information is helpful for those with food allergies and sensitivities.
You should look out for the serving size on the cereal package (i.e., the size you should consume at a time). Then compare the portion size you usually eat with the recommended serving size. If the recommended serving size is one cup, and you have eaten two or more cups, you are getting double or three times the calorie content
When checking for cereal nutrition facts in a cereal box, you should make sure that it contains in large quantity some of the essential nutrients like minerals, vitamins, fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin D. These nutrients are very important in a cereal because they protect you and your family from health problems like anemia and osteoporosis(condition in which bones become weak and brittle). They also make for healthy cereal for kids.
When you check a cereal’s percent Daily Value (DV), you will be able to know how to incorporate it into your meals. It will tell you if you should take more or less food in the course of the day. DV is the average nutrient levels that are recommended for a person in a day. It is usually 2,000 calories for an average person.DV refers to the calories you should take for the whole day and not just for one meal. If a cereal has 5% DV of fat, it means that it provides 5% of the total fat that you should be taking in a day. For some people, they may need more or less of some certain food nutrients in a cereal. With the help of DV, you will not need to guess how many calories in a bowl of cereal because it will be provided for you.
When you see 20% DV or more, know that the percentage is high. 5% DV, on the other hand, means that the percentage is low. So, when next you are shopping for fiber one cereal, shredded wheat cereal, or grape nuts cereal, you should aim for low cholesterol, trans fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Then aim for high minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
Having pointed out the most important cereal nutrition facts, it is equally important that you know other nutrients on the cereal pack so as to check their percentage DVs.
Protein will be listed as part of the nutrients contained in a cereal box, but you may not see the DV. It is, therefore, required that you get your DV from main protein sources like fish, poultry, beans and peas, low-fat milk, peanut butter, cheese and yogurt, etc.
Other nutrients you will see are carbohydrates and sugars. Always check their percentage to know how to plan your meal. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 recommends that you consume no more than 10% daily calories for added sugars.
Now that we have listed the nutrition fact guides, here are few quick tips to help you select the best cereal for you and your family.
Reduce sugar – if you want a healthy breakfast cereal, look out for the one that has fewer than 10g of sugar per serving. This will ensure you avoid having a sugar crash, irritability, headache and anxiety that comes with eating too much sugar. Any cereal with a high dose of sugar is not a healthy cereal for kids.
Stock up on protein – ensuring that you have adequate protein content in your cereal will help to keep you full throughout the day without the need for food binging. Aim for cereals with more than 5g of protein per serving. You can also pair your cereal with low-fat milk, yogurt and eggs to make it more nutritious.
Look for the word ‘whole’ - When picking out a cereal, make sure that the word ‘whole’ is clearly written out. You should look for whole grain like whole oats, whole wheat, or whole barley. It does not matter whether it is fiber one cereal, shredded wheat cereal, or grape nuts cereal. If you can’t see ‘whole’ attached to their name, skip to the next cereal box.
Ensure it is rich in fiber – a cereal high in fiber will not only help you feel fuller for longer but will aid digestion. It also helps to reduce cholesterol levels and regularize blood sugar level. Make sure the cereal has at least 3g of fiber per serving.
We have taken the time to go over some guides and quick tips to help you select the best cereals when next you are in the cereal aisle. While you are checking for the cereal nutrition facts, which is very important, do not fail to look out for bad nutrients that could harm your health.Remember that high trans and saturated fat lead to heart disease. High level of sodium leads to blood pressure. When you pack on the healthy nutrients by selecting healthy cereals, you may not need to constantly check how many calories in a bowl of cereal.