How To Select The
Often, the breakfast cereal is so devoid of nutritional content that the manufacturers employ the services of marketers in order to make the product more appealing.
Breakfast cereal marketers are very clever at promoting products. They can easily use deceptive marketing tactics to make it seem that their product is one of the healthiest breakfast cereals available!
Then, the added vitamins and minerals (which are generally in miniscule amounts) are promoted on the front of the packaging giving customers the impression that the cereal is somehow 'enhanced'!
The 'contains no artificial colours or flavours' slogan, which again, is generally plastered on the front of the product, takes most people's focus away from the fact that the breakfast cereal is loaded with sugar; a 'natural' flavouring!
In fact, a good general principles to follow when it comes to selecting the best breakfast cereal for you and your family is this: Do not buy breakfast cereal that contains more than 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams. However, the exception is if the breakfast cereal contains a substantial amount of dried fruits like, sultanas, paw paw pieces or pineapple pieces. If this is the case then allow a maximum of 25 grams of sugar per 100grams of product.
This information is required by law here in Australia and can be easily found by simply looking at the nutritional information on the side of the box or the back of the packet.
Another guideline regarding sugar is to ensure that it is not one of the first three products listed in the nutritional panel/ product listing with the exception being if the product contains few ingredients, i.e. Weet-Bix or similar products.
If a breakfast cereal is offering a toy in the box, often, in a child's mind, the toy becomes the product and no matter what, the child wants the toy and gets the breakfast cereal as a 'bonus'!
If the breakfast cereal features superheroes or cartoon celebrities on the packet, the 'good feelings' that the child associates with the character now become associated with the product.
Fun colouring-in activities are also featured on the back of some cereal cartons as an inducement to children. In fact, one particular breakfast cereal product had a recognisable cartoon character on the front, a colouring-in activity on the back and contained over 41 grams of sugar per 100 grams of product!
In other cases it might say, 'source of protein' and only contain 2.4 grams of protein per serve! Furthermore, the type of protein provided is also a low-quality source, usually from wheat.
High in carbohydrate but low in sugar
Low in fat
A source of vitamins and minerals (preferably not added)
Something you enjoy and can eat for the rest of your life
Some examples of the healthiest breakfast cereals are: Oats, natural muesli (not toasted), Weet-Bix, Corn Flakes and Oat Flakes.
Of course, even if you have one of the healthiest breakfast cereals on its own with milk the predominant macronutrient is carbohydrate. The meal is very low in protein and fat. Therefore, it is always a good idea to add 1-2 tablespoons of nuts and seeds or LSA (ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds) to your cereal to increase the protein and good fat content. This will help to balance out the macronutrient profile of the meal.
To take this one step further, a standard serve of cereal is only 30 grams (1/2 cup), which is actually a small amount of cereal when you measure it out. Even if you add the nuts and seeds or LSA to it, it is still a small amount of food. As a result, I also recommend adding a tablespoon of psyllium husks to the cereal. This will help to increase the bulk of the meal, which will make you feel more satisfied.
Also, you may want to add a teaspoon of superfoods to your cereal in order to increase your antioxidant intake substantially.
If you follow these tips and understand the deceptive marketing tactics used in marketing breakfast cereals then you will certainly be able to select the healthiest breakfast cereals and will be giving your body a great start to the day!
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