When you are walking into grocery stores, the aisles are stocked on both sides with boxes and boxes of cereal. Commercials with catchy jingles and animated mascots demand, you stop and try their products. It is little wonder that cereal is the favorite food with children and grownups alike. Breaking down what you know about the breakfast food should make it easier to pick a cereal that keeps you healthy.
What foods are considered cereals?
Cereals come from grains, which come from members of the grass family: wheat, corn, rice, barley, rye, and oats. When processed, they are made into dry foods that can be eaten hot or cold. They can be eaten at any time, though it is most common to have cereal for breakfast. Cereals are made for every type of person, including children; many popular kids’ cereals feature bright colors, sweet flavors, and funny characters that help market the product.
What are the calorie counts for different cereals?
Because they are made with different grains and served different ways, the calorie counts vary for different plain cereals. Oatmeal (1/4 dry as a serving size) has 75 calories. Congee, a porridge made with rice and water, eaten in Asian countries for breakfast, has 138 calories in a cup. A cup of Corn Flakes, one of the most recognizable cold cereals, has roughly 100 calories. Children’s cereals may vary, but they are known for a higher sugar content. One cup of Kellogg’s Froot Loops contains 110 calories. When served with milk, sugars or sweeteners, or other condiments, the calories go up.
Is there a difference between hot and cold cereals?
Besides the obvious, that hot cereals are hot and cold cereals are served cold, there are a few notable differences between them. Hot cereals, like oatmeal, have fewer calories per serving, and usually contain less sodium, sugar and cholesterol. Cold cereals are prepackaged and good to eat on the go, but they are higher in calories and have more preservatives. Labels will tell you the nutritional value of each kind of cereal. Common sense says that if you make the food yourself, you can control what ingredients go into it.
Which cereals are best for diets?
Again, common sense is the best way to determine what cereals you should eat. Healthy weight loss depends on a well-balanced diet and an exercise plan to burn calories and maintain fitness. If you want to lose weight, examining a potential cereal for its nutritional value is mandatory. Some diets call for low numbers of carbohydrates or high proteins; choose a cereal that fits your plan. Adding milk, butter, cream, sugar, fruits, or nuts raises the amount of calories, carbs, fats, and sugars you consume. Choosing a cereal that has sugary ingredients, like marshmallows or chocolate, is impractical if you want to lose weight. Cereals that contain dried fruits and nuts may have an unexpected amount of sugars and calories; always check the label. Portion control also plays a part in controlling weight loss.
The next time you stop in the cereal aisle, look at your favorite brands. Does the cereal you eat fit your health and weight loss needs? If not, check the labels and choose other, healthier cereals that fit your dietary plans. The different kinds of grains that make up the different cereals leave you many options. Knowing what to look for makes it easier to decide which one is best for you.