As trite as it may sound, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and skipping it could lead to severe hunger pangs mid-morning, which in turn lead to over-eating and obesity. Most people have intensely busy schedules and find it hard to set some time aside for a full breakfast in the morning. In these scenarios, breakfast cereal emerges as a lifesaver – quick to prepare and eat, cereal is a breakfast staple in most houses. The more popular varieties, like puffs or frosted flakes, are bad for health; instead, it is best to go for the healthier options as far as breakfast cereals are concerned, since they are generally the first thing you put into your body at the start of the day. The key to buying healthy cereals is to read the labels on boxes thoroughly, and know what you need to look for and avoid.
- Go for cereals made of whole grains: The grain content of a cereal is the key to determining whether it is healthy or not. Most of the popular cereal varieties are made of refined grains – however, these add nothing to a body’s overall health. Instead, you should select cereals that are made of whole grains, as these have a higher fiber, potassium and magnesium content, in addition to containing a whole host of other nutrients. In addition to their properties, whole grains are healthy because they keep you feeling full for longer, and are easy for the body to digest.
- Buy cereals that have little or no high fructose corn syrup: High fructose corn syrup is generally used as a sweetener, but this can be more damaging than sugar, as it is a highly processed and modified product unsuitable for consumption first thing in the morning, if at all. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for this every time you read the ingredients listed on a box of cereal.
- Get cereals that do not contain too much sugar: It goes without saying that sugar is not the best thing for your body, and overloading on it first thing in the morning can be extremely harmful. Excessive amounts of sugar can dull the brain and damage your overall health. Check the ingredients on cereal boxes you are considering, to note the sugar content in each, and pick the one with the least amount of sugar.
- Buy cereals that have little to no fat content: Cereals can frequently contain trans fats and this is quite possibly the most harmful ingredient of them all. Ensure that this is not listed in the ingredients of any cereal you purchase, and only buy cereals which have a low or zero fat content. Fat can cause heart diseases, obesity, and high cholesterol.