Friday, June 22, 2012

5 Things To Look For In Your Breakfast Cereal

Boxed cereal is the go to breakfast for people of all ages.  Kids especially eat cereal for breakfast and each meal is an opportunity to feed them something nutritious to create health and energy (which is good for us too).  Yet, the information on cereal boxes can be confusing and a bit misleading.  The best way to choose a cereal is to follow these five guidelines which can be determined from the nutrition information on the side of the box (Nutrition Action, May 2012 and Ayurveda)
  1. Look for a cereal that has the first two ingredients to be a whole grain or fruit (oats, brown rice, whole wheat, soy, raisins, etc.)
  2. The cereal should have no more than 250 calories per cup serving.  Watch the label carefully to see what the serving size is.  Many cereals will give a 1/4 to 1/2 cup size for the serving.
  3. Fiber content should be at least 3 grams.  The fiber should come naturally and not from additives like isolated fibers (inulin, oat fiber, corn fiber and wheat fiber).  These fibers have been extracted from the grain and processed.  It is best to get fiber naturally from the whole grain in its original state.  Ayurveda prefers foods in their natural, unprocessed state as it is easier to digest and absorb.
  4. Sugars should be limited to 6 grams per cup serving.  Preferably, the sugar should be naturally occurring from the fruit or real sugars.  Ayurveda does not recommend chemical sweeteners because they are not healthy and are stressful for the body to digest.
  5. Sodium should also be checked on the nutrition label and stay below 150 milligrams per cup serving.  Sodium should be limited for people with high blood pressure and/or other cardiovascular health risks.  In Ayurveda, there are six tastes (salty, sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent), and these should be balanced within a meal.  This helps the body digest the meal better.  It also prevents cravings and overeating because all the tastes are equally represented.
These five easy guidelines can make you an informed consumer for yourself and your family.

Stay healthy & well,

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