Is your breakfast a cereal (diet) killer?!

Barbara Wilson

We all know the old saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper”, yet not everybody makes the time in the morning to break their overnight fast. If we really should ‘breakfast like a king’ then surely managing to eat anything in the morning would be good thing, right? Wrong!

Okay then, surely eating a bowl of breakfast cereal in the morning can’t be bad, right? Wrong! Many breakfast cereals are high in fibre, low in fat and sodium as well as being fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals, but not all breakfast cereals are as healthy or nutritious as they might first appear.

A recent report from the Food Commission found that a bowl of some breakfast cereals is equivalent to consuming a plate of chocolate-chip cookies! The study found that certain brands of cereal were so rich in saturated fats and sugar and so low in dietary fibre that they should be treated like cakes or biscuits.

Just take a closer look at the nutritional information on the side of the pack of some cereals and you might be in for a bit of a surprise…low in fibre and high in fat and sodium, without even the benefit of added vitamins and minerals to see you through the day.

Some varieties of muesli, crammed full with nuts and dried fruit, have as many calories and as much fat per 100g as Jaffa Cakes - even the reduced sugar varieties. But this is not the worst of the bowl busting cereals…much worse for those of us watching our fat and calorie intake(and who isn’t?) are the crunchy, nutty and chocolatey cluster cereals.

But these cereals contain oats and wheat; they must be good for us?? Wrong again! These sticky cereals are not packed full with fibre, vitamins and energy-boosting carbohydrates but instead are bursting with fat, sugars and just too much salt. Unfortunately, they are also yummy and very more-ish and it is easy to indulge in more than the recommended 30g serving.

If you are going to make the effort and breakfast like the proverbial king, make sure you do it right…try to avoid the sticky, high fat choco-nutty sugar crisp clusters and go for a high fibre, flake or biscuit type cereal with added vitamins and minerals. These contain hardly any fat and you will be able to have a generous amount without ruining your diet. Add some fruit and use low-fat milk, and one bowl really will last you ‘til lunch!

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