Mass-market cereals enjoyed a long reign as breakfast staples, but consumers are learning to look beyond the bright and tasty surface to see them for what they are: artificially-colored, highly-processed grains with loads of added sugars.
It doesn’t help—and adds another layer to the deception—that many cereals make bold, misleading health claims on their labels. Not to mention the cartoons that allure us—ahem, our kids. That’s why it’s important to skip what the cover says and go straight to the nutrition facts label.
For cereal, you’ll want something high in fiber (3 grams or more) and low in added sugar (5 grams or less). As a rule of thumb, if sugar (anything ending in “-ose”) is in the first couple ingredients on the ingredients list, try something else.
Also, be wary of the food coloring used in the cereal. Petroleum-derived dyes used in food have been linked to an array of health risks, with some controversial ones still used by the most popular cereal producers today.
An unprocessed breakfast, like SaladPower, will probably serve you better, but if you do go for a cereal, a healthy tip is to pair it with a protein, such as yogurt, nuts, or seeds. This will help with portion control while adding a wider range of nutrients to your breakfast.
In review, mass market cereal brands are not to be trusted, so skip the manipulative covers and go straight for the nutrition facts to find something low in added sugars, high in fiber, and with no artificial food dyes. Serve with some filling proteins, and enjoy.