How to Choose a Healthy Breakfast Cereal

healthy cereal

We’ve all been there: walking down the cereal aisle at the grocery store wondering what kind of cereal is healthy and which ones just pretend to be good for us. You pass by all the sugary kid cereals… Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cookie Crisp, Trix.

You head for the healthy-sounding boxes, but as you look at the ingredients list, you notice that most cereals (even “healthy” ones) have tons of sugar, additives, and processed junk! So should you just say forget it to all breakfast cereals? Not necessarily. I love cereal way too much to banish it from my diet.

Follow this how-to guide to help you choose a clean breakfast cereal!

Rule #1: Ignore the healthy-sounding titles.

Many cereals have titles that sound like they’re good for you, but they’re not. Fiber Plus, Special K, and Honey Bunches of Oats are prime examples of cereal that seems healthy but has additives and sugar.

Rule #2: Read the ingredients list thoroughly.

If the ingredients label is a mile long, don’t even bother reading it. If there aren’t too many ingredients, read through the entire list. If there are any unfamiliar words, long unpronounceable additives, or confusing chemicals, put it back on the shelf.

Rule #3: Be on the lookout for disguised ingredients.

Many cereals have additives that can be called different things. Companies try to trick you by using other words that sound less threatening. For example, cane sugar or cane syrup is the same as sugar. Corn syrup or fructose is processed sugar. Enriched flour means it has been bleached and processed. Artificial flavor means there is fake flavor. Glycerin is a sweet syrup that’s also used in beauty products. Gross!

Rule #4: Look for clean words in the ingredients.

Make sure the cereal specifies that it’s whole grain. Most will say whole grain wheat, bran, or barley. Really, that’s the only ingredient cereals need. If the cereal has sweeteners, make sure they’re all natural, like honey, molasses, or dried fruit.

Rule #5: Be patient and persistent.

I’ve searched high and low for clean breakfast cereals, and I’ve only been able to find a few. I shop at chain stores (Meijer and Wal-Mart), and it’s really hard to find any clean cereals on the shelves. You have to be patient and read lots of labels, and you have to do a lot of searching, but it’s worth it to make sure your body is healthy.

My favorite cereal right now is Post’s Shredded Wheat’n Bran, so if you’re having trouble finding a clean cereal, try it! I add sliced bananas or strawberries to enhance the flavor and naturally sweeten it up!

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