They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As well as breaking the over-night fasting period and kickstarting your metabolism, it can be an excellent source of fibre and vitamins, which are all important when maintaining a healthy diet. So, if it’s the crunch of cereal that you crave the most in the mornings, then here are some tips to help you choose wisely.
Although it seems obvious that the chocolate varieties are a big no and you might sway towards the healthier alternatives, always double check the nutritional values on the packaging as you might be surprised at what you see.
Manufacturers aren’t there to make you eat healthily, their main goal is to make money and even seemingly “healthy” cereals can contain lots of sugar. Walking through the colourful cereal aisle can be daunting, but if you take a moment to look at the nutritional information then you’ll be helping yourself in the long-run.
A diet high in fibre has been linked to reducing your risk of heart disease and type two diabetes. Wholegrain contains plenty of fibre and B vitamins, so opting for wholewheat cereals, shredded pillows or porridge oats will ensure that you maintain a healthy digestive system as well as reducing your risk of developing some diseases.
Mueslis usually contain wholegrain and fruit. Although they might seem to be a healthy breakfast option, they can sometimes be quite high in fat and added sugar – always check the labels! Soaking your oats overnight can be more beneficial than just eating them straight away as it helps to break down the starches and reduces the amount of phytic acid, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients more efficiently.
Healthy cereals can sometimes be slightly lacking in flavour due to the fact that they have no added sugars. To combat this, you can add dried fruit like raisins and apricots or alternatively you could slice up a banana and throw in some berries to add sweetness. A lot of people like to mix fruit juice into their cereal, which also counts towards your five a day – just make sure you check the nutritional values as these juices can often be packed full of artificial flavours and added sugars. Remember if you’re counting your calories to include the added fruit and nuts, as a banana contains around 100 calories, and a handful of dried fruit can contain 200 or so, which soon adds up over a week.
So, whether it’s porridge or cornflakes, always try to be mindful about what you put in your body to start your day!