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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Whole Grains and Breakfast Cereals

An easy way to get in a serving of whole grains every day is to eat a breakfast cereal that is all or mostly whole grain.  But with the myriad of breakfast cereals on the market, where does one start? 

First off, the first ingredient must be WHOLE GRAIN.   Only then is it a whole grain cereal or at least a mostly whole grain cereal. 

Then look for the amount of sugar added and the amount of fiber per serving. 

Ø  You want cereals that are less than 5 grams of sugar.
Ø  Finally, look for the amount of fiber in the cereal.   Choose the  cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.

Whole Grain Cereals:

·         Oatmeal:  Old fashioned oat meal seems devoid of nutrients if one just goes by the food label but it is rich in vitamins and minerals because none have been taken out in processing.  

·         General Mills cereals – to make it even easier to choose a whole grain cereal, choose General Mills cereals as every cereal is whole grain.  Yes, some are higher in sugar than other cereals but the first ingredient is always whole grain.   If you have kids, have them choose a General Mills cereal and you will know they are getting a serving of whole grain.   Look at the ingredient label and the first word you will usually see is the magic, “WHOLE”.   Some examples:

·         Cheerios – made from oats is whole grain.  A favorite of children and adults, Cheerios is an excellent choice for a whole grain cereal for breakfast or for snacking.

·         Rice Chex – whole grain rice
·         Corn Chex – whole grain corn
·         Wheat Chex whole grain wheat

Some cereals have the words WHOLE GRAIN on the box, but are not really whole grain cereals.  Yes, they may contain some whole grain but they are mostly refined cereals.   Take Special K, even their web site promotes whole grains by stating, “Make whole grains part of your day”.

 Special K original has as the first 3 ingredients:  RICE, WHEAT GLUTEN, SUGAR.  No whole grain here.

Special K Cinnamon Pecan:   has as the first 3 ingredients:  RICE, WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT, SUGAR.  This cereal is mostly refined rice but it does have some whole grain.

Special K – Multigrain Oats and Honey is whole grain and the first 4 ingredients listed are: WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT, RICE, SUGAR, WHOLE GRAIN OATS.  Since Whole Grain is the first ingredient, this cereal is mostly whole grain.
Which Cereal to Choose?

Whole Grain Cereals  (healthy choice)
Refined Cereals (poor choice)
Frosted Flakes
Shredded Wheat
Rice Krispies
Corn Flakes
Raisin Bran
Special K Original


General Mills cereals – all whole grain

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