Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Which cereal is best?

Choosing a healthy breakfast cereal can be an overwhelming task. Nowadays at least one whole aisle of the supermarket is dedicated to breakfast cereals. Many of them flaunt nutrition claims and jargon across their packages. It often seems impossible to find a cereal that's high in all the good stuff (fibre, low GI energy) but low in all the bad stuff (fat, sugar and salt).  


What to look for on a label?

All food packages have Nutrition Information Panels which list essential criteria (energy, total fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars, protein, fibre and sodium) per serve and per 100g. The 'serve' size varies anywhere from 30g to 50g serve in cereals so when comparing two products it is always best to use the per 100g column. 

Try choosing a breakfast cereal with:
  • Total fat <12g/100g
  • Saturated fat <2g/100g
  • Sugar <20g/100g
  • Fibre >6g/100g
  • Sodium <400mg/100g
Ingredients list:
  • Look for cereals with the shortest ingredients list. This goes for all packaged foods as the shorter the ingredients list, the less processed the food
  • If cereals have >12g total fat/100g, check the ingredients list to see if the source of fat is healthy (e.g. nuts) or unhealthy (e.g. vegetable oil)
  • If cereals have >20g sugar/100g, check the ingredients list to see if the source of sugar is natural (e.g. honey) or added (e.g. molasses) 

Examples of muesli's which meet these criteria:

Brookfarm, Coles, Just Organic, Lowan, Monster Muesli, Morning Sun, Uncle Toby's


Examples of cereal's which meet these criteria:

Goodness Superfoods Protein 1st/ Digestive 1st/ Heart 1st, Sanitarium Weet-bix, Sanitarium Light n Tasty, Kellogg's All Bran/ All Bran Apple flavoured crunch, Kellogg's Guardian, Vogel's Ultra Bran, Be Natural Wholegrain Flakes Cereal/ Manuka Honey, Spice Clusters & Flakes Cereal  

*Image from Brookfarm website

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