1) Kids Cereal: These sugary treats have classically been under fire by health advocates. Today’s versions have added fiber (and vitamins) to make them more health friendly. Unfortunately though many still deliver over 10 grams of sugar per serving and do not contain other nutrients (healthy fat and protein) your child needs for brain growth and development.
2) Unsweetened Grain Cereal: Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because there is no added sugar in these flakes or puffs that it is a healthy choice. Most in this category are refined starches and do not have intact whole grain nutrients and fiber for good health, digestion and appetite control.. Since they are light in weight (1 cup serving = one ounce= 110 calories) you’ll need several portions to feel full.
3) Adult Healthy Cereal: Here’s where we take those refined flakes and puffs and add-in a variety of ingredients such as crunchy nuts, tasty dried fruits, chocolate or other candy-like morsels with the belief that these super food ingredients make them healthy. What you should realize is that is gives you a speed pass to more calories (50% more) in the same small serving which will outweigh the nutrient value of the added ingredients.
4) Instant Oatmeal: All oatmeal is not created equal. With the convenience of instant you are relaxing the health benefit. Processing methods involve cutting, rolling, pressing and partially cooking whole oats so that essentialy “pre-digests” the starch making it more glycemic (fast absorbing, greater blood sugar impact) . Be even more careful with instant oatmeal with added sugar or sweeteners as this reinforces sugar cravings.
5. Granola: This health food craze leftover is still going strong in health appeal but with a meager 1/3 cup portion size it is also one of the most calorie dense choices at 125-175 calories per serving. While most granolas have healthy intact whole grains they are combined with “trail mix” type ingredients which contribute excess sugar and in some instances unhealthy trans fats. This is a cereal where you must be very careful in measuring and mindful of how you use it.
Consumer Checklist: Learn how to make cereal a healthy part of your day.
1) Be on the lookout for cereals with 10 or more grams of sugar per serving
2) Choose intact whole grains. The health benefit will win out over convenience in the long run.
3) Select cereals that have upwards of 3 grams of fiber per serving (5 or more is preferable) to keep you fuller for longer.
4) If you are using cereal as a single food meal, be sure to choose one with 5-10 grams of protein per serving. If not, be sure to pair your cereal with a protein source for needed nutrients and appetite control.
5) Be careful with portioning. Look at calories per serving, measure out and multiply how much your portion will be. Cereals over 120 calories are dense sources of calories and contain added sugar or fat.
Eat Healthy, Be Happy!
5 Simple Ways You Can Make Restaurant Salads Healthy Again
1. Put together a play list of your favorite salads and the restaurants that may offer them. Review the nutritional information on company websites or use any number of free software programs available on line.
2. Try to get an overview of where the restaurants are in relation to where you’ll be over the course of the week and your schedule by having a general idea of when you’ll be going to eat away from home.
3. Control as much as possible by having items placed on the side, use take-out containers for the extra cheese and meat which is great the next day with fresh greens and veggies!
4. Use healthy natural vinegar! It is full of nutritional benefits and will help you cut down on sodium and fat on prepared dressings. Just moisten the salad first with the vinegar of your choice and then you’ll be able to get by with considerably less dressing. This is commonly what puts even a plain salad over the top.
5. Be patient, while restaurant chains have mandatory calorie posting, it is not uncommon to experience frustrating difficulties in trying to access some information. Recognize that being a hungry consumer will override any attempt to make a healthy choice – be mindful and let planning work for you!
Eat Healthy, Be Happy!