EatingWell: How to pick the healthiest breakfast cereal
Many cereals use dried fruit coated with sugar. Better to add fresh or unsweetened dried fruit for natural sweetness. (Fotolia.com / April 17, 2013)
1. Go for fiber
Aim to get fiber from whole grains--they should be listed as the first ingredient. Many cereals bump up fiber content with functional fibers (isolated, nondigestible carbohydrates), like inulin and oat fiber.
Look for: Dietary fiber, greater than 3 grams per serving
2. Limit sodium
Some cereals are so low in calories you may be tempted to eat more. But if you double your portion, your breakfast can easily eat up a quarter of your daily allotment of sodium since many cereals hover around 200 mg of sodium per serving and milk adds another 100 mg sodium per cup.
Look for: Sodium, less than 240 mg per serving
3. Save on sugar
Look for sugar toward the end of the ingredient list (which means it has less of it). Also, watch out for multiple forms of sugar (and its many aliases, like fruit juice concentrate or evaporated cane juice).
Many cereals use dried fruit that's been coated with sugar. Better to add fresh or unsweetened dried fruit for natural sweetness.
Look for: Sugar, less than 7 grams per serving
CEREALS IN THE SWEET SPOT
Here are some brands you might try:
Barbara's Puffins (Original or Cinnamon)
Uncle Sam Strawberry Cereal (or other varieties)
Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat
Post Bran Flakes
Familia Swiss MÃ¼esli (No Added Sugar)
Bear Naked Granola
(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at http://www.eatingwell.com.)