Susie Burrell

‘your food, your body, your life’

How do you choose a healthy breakfast cereal?

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Table of Plenty.

Opinions on breakfast cereal have changed significantly in recent years. People are much more aware of the sugar content of breakfast cereal, and there are now many different options that have been formulated to support gut health, food intolerances and even athletic performance. So here are the key nutritional components I take into account when I am selecting a healthy breakfast cereal.

1. Does it contain wholegrains?

Breakfast cereals have traditionally been made from processed cereal grains – refined rice, wheat and corn options that have a relatively high GI, meaning they are digested relatively quickly compared to wholegrain cereal options. Wholegrains including oats, rye and barley contain significantly more nutrients including iron, zinc, magnesium and Vitamin E than refined cereal grains and as such are much better for us. The higher the wholegrain content of your breakfast cereal, the better.

2. Low in added sugars

There is a difference nutritionally between sugars that are found naturally in fruits and dairy, and added sugars and it is common for added sugars to be found in breakfast cereal to make the wholegrain mixes more palatable. Added sugars may come from sugar itself, as well as honey, glucose syrup, rice syrup, dried fruits and malt. The lower any sugars are positioned on an ingredient list the better, or <5g of added sugars per serve.

3. Added nutrients

Healthy eating is not only about avoiding the not so good foods but optimising our intake of nutrient rich foods. Breakfast cereals that contain added nuts and seeds also have the added bonus of more dietary fibre, good fats and key nutrients including Omega-3’s, zinc and Vitamin E. Pumpkin seeds, almonds, chia, sunflower seeds and walnuts are especially nutrient rich additions.

4. The special fibres

One of the areas of nutrition that we have learnt most about in recent years is the way the health of our gut impacts our overall health and wellbeing. A key aspect of supporting gut health is to feed the good bacteria naturally found in the digestive tract the right mix of fibres including prebiotics to keep the bacteria healthy. Seeking out cereals that contain high amounts of dietary fibre, or >3g of dietary fibre per serve, along with prebiotics will ensure that your daily serve of cereal will also be helping to keep your gut as healthy as possible. One of my favourites, Table of Plenty Probiotic+ Muesli contains green banana flour which is a rich source of these special prebiotic fibres and a single bowl offers a massive 7g of dietary fibre per serve.

5. Probiotics

The good bacteria that helps to keep our gut healthy, there is a growing range of breakfast blends that also contain probiotic cultures. The added bonus of getting some of this good bacteria from your cereal is that your gut health box is ticked early in the day, every day.