One of the most daunting aisles of the grocery store: the cereal aisle. Hundreds of choices to choose from, all tantalizing you with their catchy names and flashy labels. Where does one begin in finding one that’s both healthy and tasty?
Here are a few tips taken from one of my favorite nutrition books, Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Handbook. Not only does she gives tips on how to fuel your body for specific athletic activities, she also details what constitutes a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Check it out, it’s definitely worth the read!
Next time you are purusing the cereal aisle, choose cereals that are…
1. Iron-enriched: Iron is a necessary part of your body’s red blood cells that circulate oxygen from your lungs to your muscles. Without enough iron in your diet, you can often become fatigued. To increase your iron absorption, eat fruit rich in vitamin C with your cereal. Aim for 25% or greater of your daily value of iron per serving.
2. Folic Acid Fortified: Folic acid is associated with lower risks in birth defects. Hence, prenatal vitamins always have folic acid in them. Folic acid is also important for the regeneration of body cells and in preventing DNA changes that may result in cancer. Aim for 25% or greater of your daily value of folate per serving.
3. High in Fiber: Fiber reduces constipation, satiates appetite, and assists in the process of weight loss. Hello, win win win! Aim for 4g of fiber per 30g of cereal.
4. Wholesome: LOOK AT THE INGREDIENT LIST FIRST! If sugar or sugar substitutes are within the first 3-4 ingredients, you can be sure that your cereal is loaded with, you guessed it, SUGAR! Stick to cereals with wholesome ingredients that will feed your body not put you in a sugar coma.
5. Low-Fat: Fat is associated with weight gain, cancer, and heart disease. No bueno! There are healthy fats of course, but most likely those will not be found in packaged, processed cereals. Therefore, limit yourself to 3g or less of fat per serving.
Moral of the cereal story: READ YOUR LABELS! Health starts with understanding what’s in what you eat. If you don’t understand the ingredient list, google it. Don’t be afraid to try new cereals. There are a lot of good ones out there but there are also tons that claim to be healthy when in reality they are not. Check out these links for more healthy cereal tips and tricks.
XO, Kitchy Living