In the Standard American Diet (aka SAD, very appropriate) – advertisements for breakfast usually includes cereal with orange juice. Some cereals like Honey Nut Cheerios are advertised as a part of a heart-healthy diet.

Food marketing and labeling is very confusing. You think you’re making a healthy decision however when you read the ingredients on the back of the box, you’ll find that it’s actually not that healthy for your heart.

Knowing how to read a nutrition label will give you the skills to make your own healthy decisions; you’re in control of your health!

Let’s take a look at the front:
Can help you lower cholesterol
It’s made with real honey aka sugar.

Sounds like a healthy alternative to the other cereals!

Let’s take a look at the nutrition label.

The ingredients are listed by what’s the most abundant first – Whole grain oats, sugar, oat bran, modified cornstarch, honey, brown sugar. The first six ingredients are all some form of carbohydrate or sugar. They will all be broken down into sugar in the body!

Now let’s look at the serving size up top. A serving size is 3/4 cup and there are 17 servings per container. WHO IS GETTING 17 SERVINGS OF CEREAL IN A BOX?! I could easily finish a box of cereal in a few days. The serving size listed is not what people are actually eating. The nutrition label is listed per serving, so you’re probably eating much more calories in a sitting.

Protein is the macronutrient that help will keep you full until your next meal. It also helps with building and maintaining muscle and bone. You want to aim for 30 grams of protein with each meal. One serving of cereal has only 2 grams of protein. For comparison, one egg has 7 grams of protein. Who’s eaten a big bowl of cereal but still felt hungry a few hours later? It’s because there isn’t enough protein to keep you full AND the sugar bolus you get with cereal can cause your blood sugar to drop and making you hangry (hungry and angry).

People reach for cereal for breakfast because it’s quick but unfortunately you’re setting yourself up for more trouble later in the day because of the blood sugar rollercoaster you’ll be on.

There are just as quick breakfast ideas that are more nutritious and higher in protein than cereal:

Eggs – my favorite. Hard-boiled eggs can be made ahead of time for a quick on-the-go breakfast.
If you’re OK with dairy, greek yogurt with some berries and nuts – berries are a low-sugar fruit with plenty of fiber and the fat from nuts will keep you full.
Smoothie – with protein powder, nondairy milk of your choice. You can get creative with the ingredients and don’t need fruit to make it sweet. You can sneak greens into it and won’t even taste it (great for picky eaters). Blend it and take it with you on your drive to work.

I hope this was helpful and helps you get creative with your breakfast ideas!