The Only Word You’ll Need for Breakfast is “Whole”

Breakfast cereals are not all created equal. To find the most nutritionally complete cereal, you need to become an ingredient list expert. The most beneficial word found on a cereal label is “whole.” You are specifically looking for the term “whole grain.”

All other expressions like multigrain, bran, even 100% wheat are misleading because while they may sound good, in reality these additional words indicate the grains are highly processed. Take your time to explore the various ingredients in cereal, and discover which cereals are indeed whole and therefore healthiest for your family.

whole grain council stampIn order for a grain to be considered whole, it must contain all three parts of the grain kernel. A whole grain includes the bran, germ and the endosperm. The Whole Grains Council is a nonprofit organization that was established in 2002 to help consumers in their quest for healthier whole grains.

The Council designed a 100% whole grain stamp to aid the public in identifying whole grain foods. Today the stamp is used on the packaging of many foods that contain whole grains including cereals.

When you look at the ingredients on whole grain cereals, there are several things to understand. You should avoid foods that list mystery items such as BHA or BHT. These are both chemical preservatives and there is evidence questioning their safety.

Maltodextrin is another substance that is added to many foods including cereal. It is a highly processed food starch usually derived from corn, potatoes or rice, but its primary use is as a filler, thickener or sweetener.

In addition, beware of cereals that list sugar as one of the first few ingredients, and understand that sugar may be hidden in terms like sucrose, fructose, maltose or corn syrup. Cereals that contain the words crunch or clusters in the name indicate significant amounts of sugar are included in the mix.

Use the Following Guide to Create the Ideal Breakfast Bowl

  • Start with plain, unsweetened 100% whole wheat, rice, oats, corn or barley cereal.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of heart healthy almonds or walnuts.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of antioxidant rich cinnamon.
  • Add fresh or dried fruit for natural sweetness.
  • Mix in 1 tablespoon of flaxseed for added fiber and omega 3.
  • Top with natural yogurt (with no sugar added) for proteins and calcium.

If you follow this plan for a healthy morning start, you will be pleasantly satisfied until lunchtime. Your energy levels will soar with a tasty breakfast bowl that is rich in protein, carbohydrates, fiber and important nutrients for your optimum health. Learn to read the list of ingredients and know what is in your breakfast cereal.