every day. Read labels carefully and choose a healthy cereal.
least expensive healthy cereal is a bowl of hot cooked grains. Quinoa,
millet, and brown rice are all perfect for weight loss because they are
high in fiber and have a low calorie density. Rolled grains and cracked
are almost as good, as long as you cook them. Cooking makes grains
expand. They absorb water and we are more satisfied when we eat them.
If you don't know how to read and interpret food labels, the rest of
this page might confuse you. Take this
quick course in reading nutrition labels and you will be good
Packaged hot cereal
If you get tired of single grains, there are many grain
combinations. You can buy some mixed grains from bulk bins at your
store. Or you can buy packages like this 4 grain hot cereal.
the Nutrition Facts label to see if the cereal is 10% fat or
less. This one has 10 fat calories out of 140, so it is 7% fat. Great.
Check that the sodium content is
no more than the calorie content. This cereal easily meets the test:
140 calories and no sodium.
We can't determine the calorie
density from this label. A 39 gram serving will
absorb water as it cooks. Cooked rolled oats have a
calorie density of 24 calories per ounce. The density of this
cereal is probably similar.
The list of ingredients looks fine. It is a healthy
cereal, and good for weight loss.
Packaged cold cereals
cereals will never be as good for weight loss as cooked whole grains.
Most cold cereals are made of flour, which gives them a high calorie
density. Even cold cereals that are made of rolled or sprouted whole
been heated and dried. Their calorie density is higher because they are
not plumped up with water.
But there are times that it is
not practical to cook hot grains for breakfast. If you get up late, or
you are traveling, it is better to eat a cold packaged
to skip breakfast completely. Let's compare a few choices so you know
how to find a good one:
Back to Nature granola
People think of granola as being a healthy cereal, but it
seldom is. Most granola contains lots of oil and sugar. However, if you
read labels carefully, you can find oil-free granola in your
natural food store. It is fat free, but sometimes too sweet.
Years ago, this was the only oil-free granola we could find. We bought
it in bulk and mixed it with equal portions of rolled oats
and Grape-Nuts. We called the mixture Power Breakfast. We ate
it at home and we
took it with us when we travelled.
The Nutrition Facts label says this granola is
12.5% fat (25 calories out of 200.) That is excellent, since the ideal
fat percentage for weight loss is 10%.
The label says 0 sodium. There probably is a little sodium that occurs
naturally in the grains. At least they didn't add any salt. Good.
The calorie density is 3.9 calories per gram (200/51). Multiply 3.9 by
28.35 and we find it is 111
calories per ounce. That is super high. If we eat very
much of this, it will
make us fat.
The ingredients list explains the high calorie density. This granola
contains four different sweeteners: evaporated cane juice (sugar) and
three different types of fruit juice concentrate.
Let's try to find a better granola.
Galaxy Not Sweet Vanilla Munch
This oil-free granola is sweet enough for us. We even like to
munch on it dry. Maybe that's why they call it vanilla munch....
we look at the Nutrition Facts, we see that the granola is 11% fat
(14 fat calories out of 155.) That is excellent.
The sodium content is only 30 mg in a 155-calorie
The calorie density is 3.1 calories per gram
(155/50). That equals 88
calories per ounce. Not nearly as good as oatmeal,
but better than the first granola.
It contains no oil and no sugar. Apples and pear juice concentrate make
it taste a little sweet.
This looks like a pretty healthy cereal. However, there are two
questions about the ingredients. Manufacturers "puff" grains at a very
high temperature. It is usually healthier to cook foods at lower
temperatures. Puffed brown rice may not be as nutritious as rice cooked
in water. Also, it is hard to know what "natural flavoring"
Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Cereal
Food for Life makes several different flavors of Ezekiel 4:9 cereal. It
is a crunchy dry cereal similar to granola. How does it compare?
the Nutrition Facts label, we can see that the fat content of the
cereal is low (only 10 fat calories out of 190, or 5% fat.)
are 200 mg of sodium in a 190-calorie portion. That is a tiny bit
higher than we would like, but not bad at all. The ideal would be 190
mg or less. This is basically a healthy cereal.
The problem is
the calorie density. There are 3.3 calories per gram (190/57). That is
the same as 95 calories
per ounce (3.3 x 28.35).
Here is the ingredient list. Malted barley is barley
that has been sprouted and dried.
When barley is malted, some of the starches in the grain turn into
Between this and the Galaxy granola, it is nearly a toss-up. We would
probably go with the Galaxy granola because:
- It is lower in sodium.
- It has a
lower calorie density.
- It tastes great.
Options from the supermarket
come and go. You may not be able to find any of these items in your
area. If you don't have a health food store near by, take your
calculator to the supermarket and look for a healthy cereal there. Here
are a couple of products you might
Wheat has been around since 1893. Our parents ate it when they were
children. There is no patent on the name, so several companies make
their own versions of it.
The Nutrition Facts label says that Shredded wheat is 6% fat (10/170.)
They claim there is no sodium in a 170-calorie serving. That sounds
The calorie density is 3.4 calories per gram, which is equal to 96 calories per ounce.
It is high, as we would expect from a dry cereal.
The list of ingredients is short and sweet. Some of that preservative
probably migrates into the cereal. But it is a very healthy cereal
most of the other junk in the cereal aisle.
Here is a product that looks something like Grape-Nuts.
From the Nutrition Facts label, we see that the cereal is only 7% fat.
There are 260 mg of sodium in a 210-calorie portion. That is not so
good. It should be 210 or less.
Again we have an issue with the calorie density. There are 3.6 calories
per gram (210/58). That means 103
calories per ounce. Typical for a cold cereal.
about the ingredient list? Except for the salt, it looks great. It is
nice that they used vitamin E as a preservative instead of BHT.
Here you will
find details on how to choose a healthy milk substitute.
you can't find a good non-dairy milk when you are on the
road, moisten your cold cereal with apple juice or another