Cereal: good or bad for you?

Americans love cereal! There are about a billion different kinds of breakfast cereal (okay hundreds?) on the shelves at the supermarket. Most are loaded with sugar. Even the ones that seem healthy may still be loaded with sugar so be sure to read the Nutrition Facts label. Look for the sugar grams per serving. Did you know that 4.2 grams of granulated sugar equals a teaspoon? If there are 12 grams of sugar per serving as there are in Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, it is like putting nearly 3 teaspoons of sugar on your 3/4 cup serving of corn flakes. Does that sound healthy to you? In fact some breakfast cereals have more sugar than a Twinkie, actually over half sugar by weight! In addition, companies can put all sorts of health claims on their packaging and much of it is misleading. Kellogg’s recently claimed that Rice Krispies “helps support your child’s immunity”. Hmmm. Don’t believe all that you read on the packaging.

Most breakfast cereals are highly processed grains that are quickly converted to sugar in your body even if they don’t have added sugar. Eating excessive sugar has been shown to lead to obesity, diabetes, inflammation, heart disease and cancer. It is best to eat whole grains for breakfast for longer sustained energy with the added benefit of the fiber and vitamins in the whole grains. Old fashioned rolled oats are easy to make (the instant kind is processed and doesn’t have the same health benefits). There are a number of whole grains to try for breakfast. Here is a great article listing a few to try. Or make up a batch of my maple crunch granola in no time at home. I just served samples of this at a recent Health Fair and got rave reviews 🙂

Maple Crunch Granola

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp. coconut oil (or canola)
1 Tbsp. water

Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 275 degrees. Coat a 9” x 13” metal pan with cooking spray, then set aside. Mix oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt, coconut and cinnamon in a bowl. Bring syrup, oil, and water to simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Drizzle over oat mixture, and stir to combine. Pour mixture onto prepared pan. Working a handful at a time, squeeze cereal to form small clumps. Bake for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Let cool. Makes one quart. Recipe can be doubled, but use two pans.

Granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Be creative with adding other ingredients to this basic recipe. Dried fruits should be stirred in after 30 minutes of baking, then put back in for another 15 minutes longer. Try your favorite combinations of nuts and dried fruits for endless possibilities!

To your health,

Laren Watson
Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach

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Juvata - March 9, 2012

Love your website and blog!

Avisek - April 22, 2012

Well, the Nature Valley has more whole grains, and trunaal sugar (though it seems to have too much). However, the Special K also lists whole grains, as the third ingredient, and after sugar. Personally, I would not choose a cereal where the sugar listing comes before the whole grain listing. I prefer that the whole grain listing is the first on the list.Generally, I stick with Cheerios, and mix them with other cereals, usually the other types of Cheerios. If I just have a plain bowl of Cheerios, I mix in some cinnamon with it. I also agree with Kashi cereals. They’re generally cheaper or the same price as other cereals and all trunaal. I also agree with oatmeal. It’s also cheap and healthy. I hope this helps.

    Reymond - July 7, 2012

    Also curious about the isnnatt oatmeal comment. I recently switched to steel-cut oats because I wanted to control what was added into the oatmeal, but I didn’t realize isnnatt oatmeal was bad . I’ve found that if I start the oats cooking right when I get up, then by the time I take a shower and the kids are out of bed, all I have to do is add in some flavoring and breakfast is ready. It tastes great warmed up after being in the fridge for a day or two, so I tend to make large batches. I also make a big egg + some kind of meat and potato casserole once a week and we eat some of that mid-morning (I have a preschooler and a toddler and one on the way). Eating fruit is easy around here I keep a big tub of frozen fruit chunks in the freezer and we have that for treats/dessert throughout the day.

      France - September 16, 2012

      I love Cheerios! I do like the multigrain ones but I also like the baanna and chocolate flavors 😉 I am pretty conscious of what I eat, and it’s all about balance for me – if I have an indulgent meal, I make sure to eat lighter and healthier throughout the rest of the day. I also exercise pretty regularly. And I snack in between meals so I’m not starving when it comes to mealtime!

        Igor - November 27, 2012

        Takk det samme du! Men med frakt havner du pe5 samme pris for en pakke ceaerl som i butikken i Norge, hvis vi tenker pe5 feks Vita Hjertego og Fitness som er de eneste sunne her til lands, men de kan ikke helt me5le seg med go lean!

    Metin - July 8, 2012

    My boys can’t start their day without thier mskkihale (they are 3 and 4). I mix 1/3 organic whole milk vanilla yogurt and 2/3 sikm milk in their sippy cups. They usually finish off with a banana or hard boiled egg. Once or twice a week, when we have a little extra time, we make scrambled eggs with fresh salsa yum!

      Tsegaye - September 16, 2012

      Hmm, I wonder if gdinring the almonds in mortar and pestle would turn out well. I of course, have not ever attempted to make it, but I have used mortar and pestle to grind roasted chick peas and that has worked well in the past, and I think that’s the texture similar to what the almond powder should have. I also think that gdinring it would be fresher than buying it powdered.

        Argjend - November 27, 2012

        As I was reading your post, I was reemidnd of my high school prom (you’ll see why in a sec). I remember mentioning to my prom date something about how I’d definitely need to snack on something otherwise it would be six hours before we ate again. His response was, so? Suffice it to say, that didn’t last. Just wanted to share. Snacking is so essential 🙂

        Amilcar - November 28, 2012

        wow I love GoLean crunch, but I’ve awylas told myself it’s a little overkill to get your cereal shipped all the way from the USA , but if I buy the same amounts you have, I guess it will be worth it:pBy the way you have a great blog! Keep up the good work:)

Tim - January 22, 2013

Really liked what you had to say in your post, Cereal: good or bad for you? | eating well : living well | Laren Watson | holistic health and nutrition counseling, thanks for the good read!
— Tim


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