Cereal is a pantry staple for many women. It’s fast, it’s delicious, it hits all the right cravings (sweet, crunchy, comforting). We eat it as breakfast, dinner after a long day of work, and for a bedtime snack. And it can be super healthy or a diet downfall. The cereal aisle is tall, wide, and the shelves are covered in boxes that are covered in everything from colorful pictures to misleading labels (All natural! Whole grains! Low fat!). Ugh.
There are tons of cereals out there that are delicious, but we all know are far too low in protein and high in sugar to make a good breakfast option (I’m looking at you, Cap’n Crunch). But you can compromise by mixing one of the treat cereals with a healthier, heartier cereal. You can still enjoy the taste of the less healthy option, but you’ll get less sugar and more fiber, which will keep you from downing half the box.
Experts recommend choosing cereals that are made from whole grains (the first ingredient should have the word “whole” in it), has less than 5 grams of sugar, and has more than 3 grams of fiber. It can take some effort to find a truly healthy cereal, because, again, manufacturers love to make things look healthy on the box, even if they have tons of added sugar or contain high fructose corn syrup (yes, you, Frosted Mini Wheats).
Here are some good pairings of a treat cereal with a healthy cereal that can give your breakfast a quick makeover. (Try mixing 1/4 cup of the treat with 3/4 cup the good stuff. Measure it so you don’t just end up with a double bowl of cereal and an excess of calories.) I’m not saying the ingredients on these treat cereals didn’t make me die a little inside, but sometimes, we have to take baby steps.
Cocoa Crispies + Wheaties
Apple Jacks + Wheat Chex
Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch + EnviroKidz Peanut Butter Panda Cereal (I picked this up at TJ’s last week and I am in love.)
Kellogg’s Smart Start (yeah…turns out, not so smart) + Fiber One Bran Cereal (the original)
Frosted Mini Wheats + Shredded Wheat (look for 100 percent whole grain cereal as the only ingredient)
Trix (my personal fave) + Nature’s Path Optimum Slim
Kix (my other personal fave) + Kashi Go Lean!
Reese’s Puffs + Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins
Once you’ve found a healthy cereal you like and can happily down as your base, try different “treat” cereals to see what works best for you. Remember to eat your cereal with skim milk or low-sugar/low-fat soymilk to get the most out of it. Eating breakfast is a key part of a healthy diet, but it doesn’t have to be all bran and boring!