The Facts About Cereals

We all love the the sugary sweet crunch of cereal in the morning. It is what most of us would like to have for our morning breakfast. If we can not avoid sugary cereal totally, we can reduce the amount at least by half. According to The Environmental Working Group, there are ten sugary children’s cereals on the supermarket shelf.
These facts are based on percentage of sugar by weight:

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks 56%
Post Golden Crisp         52%
Kellogg’S Froot Loops Marshmallow   48%
Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s All Berries   47%
Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original   44%
Quaker Oats Oh!s       44%
Kellogg’s Apple Jacks             43%
Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original   41%
How much sugar is in a one cup of cereal?  It is interesting to find that at least 47 popular children’s cereals pack more sugar in one cup than three Chips Ahoy Cookies and a Twinkie.
Healthier cereals have a short ingredient list, lots of fiber, few or no added sugars and they are always placed higher on the shelf.  Mothers want to serve healthier cereals that also taste great to their children.  There are a lot of good options that many kids will like.
Better Cereal Choices:
Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats
General Mills Cheerios Original
General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios
Kix Original
Quaker Natural Granola
I’ve found that oatmeal is the best, but it, too, has lots of sugar.  It is better to have plain oatmeal where you can add your own ingredients like agave nectar, pitted dates, cranberries, walnuts and your choice of fruit like bananas and strawberries. McCann’s Irish oatmeal is great tasting. I love my oatmeal well done.  I cook it little more than recommended.
Health Benefits of Granola

Lower Blood Pressure

Granola may lower your blood pressure, which is a health benefit because hypertension increases your risk for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Whole grains, such as oats, may lower your blood pressure because they are high in potassium and low in sodium, according to the Mayo Clinic. For some extra potassium, purchase or make your granola with dried fruit, and eat it with skim milk or yogurt and fresh fruit, such as bananas. Read the label when you purchase granola to make sure that it is not too high in sodium.

Prevent Anemia
A health benefit of granola is that it may reduce your risk for iron-deficiency anemia because oats are naturally high in iron. Iron is an essential mineral for healthy red blood cells, and children and women of child-bearing age are at higher risk for iron-deficiency anemia. Each cup of homemade granola may have more than 5 g iron, or nearly one-third of the daily value for iron. For extra iron, choose a ready-made granola that is enriched with iron.

Control Your Weight

Granola may help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, which can reduce your risk for obesity-related chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. Oats supply dietary fiber, and a high-fiber diet may help you control your weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. Increase the fiber content of your granola by buying a high-fiber brand, or making your own with flax seed, nuts or dried fruit. Granola is high in sugars and calories, so only have a small portion as part of your reduced-calorie breakfast for weight control.

Lower Cholesterol

Granola may lower your cholesterol as part of a high-fiber diet. Soluble fiber, which is in fruit, beans and oats, lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels in your blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you are making your own granola, add some flax seed for extra fiber and heart-healthy omega-three fats. Read the ingredients list before you purchase a ready-made granola to make sure that it does not have partially hydrogenated oils. These oils supply trans fats, which not only raise your LDL cholesterol, but also lower your levels of good HDL cholesterol.

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