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Breakfast Cereal Varieties: How Healthy Are They?

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Cereals, as a category, refer to grain-based food products, and most often, breakfast cereals are tasty, satisfying to consume and healthy. Cereals don’t require a lot of time for preparation, and can be a quick fix for getting your daily dose of nutrients every morning. Most cereals contain either maize, rice, wheat, barley, oats, rye or sorghum as the wholegrain derivative. A healthy cereal is one which contains a combination of proteins and fibre, and not a lot of saturated fat, added sugar or sodium.

Porridge

Porridge is the healthiest, and widely consumed breakfast. It is 100% wholegrain. Porridge is healthier when consumed with low fat milk or water, without adding extra sweeteners. Porridge oats is a key player in lowering and controlling cholesterol, and can also be consumed with banana slices, or honey as an alternative to sugar.

A serving of 40g of porridge oats with semi-skimmed milk, has an energy content of 241kcal, fat content of 6.2g, 8.2g of sugar and 0.2g of salt.

Muesli

Muesli contains a mixture of grains, fruits and nuts. However, these differ according to various brands. It is always better to prefer muesli with minimum added sugar and salt. Most brands, however, sell them with frostings, and for this reason, the health benefits offered by grains, fruits and nuts are offset by the added sugar.

50g of no sugar, no salt muesli packs around 179kcal of energy, 2.9g of fat, 6.5g of sugar and 0.08g of salt.

50g of sweetened muesli packs around 183 kcal of energy, 3.1g of fat, 10.6g of sugar and 0.17g of salt.

Wheat Cereals

Shredded whole wheat cereal is a conventional breakfast choice, and is a healthier alternative to regular cereals, due to the absence of added sugar or salt, and the high quantity of fibre. A few brands may sell this with fruits, which may be frosted, and might contain artificial sweeteners. 

45g of shredded whole wheat cereal has an energy content of 163 kcal, 1.0g of fat, 0.3g of sugar and 0.02g of salt.

Other wheat cereals contain wholegrains like bran flakes, malted wheat and wheat biscuits and are high in fibre, but are usually shipped with added sugar and salt. The high quantity of fibre helps with digestion and is good for the overall heart health. 30g of bran flakes contains 100 kcal of energy, 0.7g of fat, 6.3g of sugar and 0.27g of salt.

Corn flakes

Cereals like corn flakes are the healthiest when consumed with low fat milk. Corn flakes are low in fibre, but the ones containing added sugar and salt might not be as healthy as the other wholegrain cereals. Corn flakes also have vitamins and minerals and are popular as a healthy breakfast meal.

30g of sugarless corn flakes packs about 113 kcal of energy, 0.2g of fat, 2.2g of sugar and 0.13g of salt.

However, 30g of sugar frosted corn flakes pack around 105 kcal of energy, 0.2g of fat, 11.5g of sugar and 0.2g of salt.

Granola

Granola doesn’t contain a lot of fat and sugar, but this depends on whether the variation contains dry fruits, nuts, seeds or added flavours like chocolate, or vanilla. 

60g of granola containing dry fruits, nuts or seeds has an energy content of  270 kcal, with its fat content at 13.3g, sugar content at 10.8g and salt content at less than 0.01g.

50g of granola containing artificial sweeteners and flavorings has an energy content of 220 kcal, with its fat content at 15g, sugar content at 24g and salt content at 0.5g.

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