The end of Spring Break(fast) is near, so I thought today we could “walk” down your cereal aisle, and see what makes a cereal good for us. Generally, whole grain cereals are better than cereals that list “enriched flour” as their first ingredient. Cereals low in sugar are going to benefit your health the most, because your insulin superheroes won’t have to try as hard to pick up a lot of sugar first thing in the morning. We already learned a lot about fiber, so I’m sure you know that a cereal high in fiber is going to make you fuller and will help your body to process the nutrients better. These three qualities are what’s going to make up a great cereal.
The classic example of a cereal that meets these requirements is Cheerios. Cheerios have been around forever, and they boast heart healthiness in every advertisement they have. It seems silly that these little “o”-shaped oats are actually good for us, but they’re one of the healthier cereals you can consume, and while they may not be perfect, they’re much better for you than many of the cereals out there. The first ingredient on Cheerios’ nutrition label is “whole grain oats,” which is great! If the first ingredient on a cereal’s nutrition label starts with “whole grain” or “whole wheat,” that’s a sign that the cereal is more likely to be good for you! Next, let’s look at sugar: Cheerios’ label states that there is 1g of sugar per serving of this cereal. That’s also a very good sign! For the fiber content, Cheerios have 3g of dietary fiber per serving, which is good, as they have more fiber than sugar per serving. Here’s the catch: how big is a serving?
Cheerios lists their serving size as 1 cup. So for every cup of Cheerios you eat, you’ll take in 1g of sugar, and 3g of fiber. That’s not bad, except that most people don’t just eat one cup of cereal in the morning. Many people eat quite a lot more than that! So it’s important to look for serving size when you’re determining how healthy something is for you. This is also an excellent way to control your portions when you are eating something that’s less healthy for you: if you stick to the serving size or below, you’ll likely not overeat that sweeter food, and you’ll have more room to fill your body with nutritious and delicious foods!
The best way to measure a serving of Cheerios would be with a measuring cup, but if you don’t have a measuring cup and want to know about how much 1 cup is, you can use your hand: 1 cup is about the size of your fist. Happy eating!