We’ve seen the latest stats and most Aussies are eating brekkie (yay!). Of those who ate breakfast, almost half are choosing cereals in the morning and with so many varieties out there, we thought we’d make you a simple checklist to help you choose the healthiest!
1. Look for wholegrains
Aim for a cereal that contains at least 50% wholegrains. Search the boxes for the word ‘wholegrain’ on the front (it’s usually quite obvious). If you can’t see it on the front, you can check the ingredients list for whole wheat, barley or oats. Look for the words ‘whole’ or ‘wholegrains’ listed in the first two ingredients, as this indicates that wholegrains are the most prevalent ingredient in the product. Oats certainly take the cake, containing 100% wholegrains, and weet-bix aren’t too far behind with 97%.
2. High fibre is key
Choosing a breakfast cereal that is high in fibre will set you on your way to meeting your fibre requirements for the day (25g/day for women and 30g/day for men). Fibre is essential for a healthy digestive system and adequate fibre intake has been linked with a reduced risk of chronic diseases including bowel cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease. To ensure you’re choosing a cereal that’s high in fibre, we recommended finding one with at least 10g of fibre PER 100g.
Look for ‘high fibre’ or ‘good source of fibre’ on packaging.
3. Keep an eye out for sugar
It tends to be the kiddie cereals that are the biggest offenders when it comes to added sugars, so pay careful attention for sugar if you’re shopping for your children. A good rule of thumb is to look for less than 15g of sugar per 100g, give or take a little if the cereal contains dried fruits. We recommend adding whole fruit e.g. half a banana to your cereal if you require extra sweetness!
4. Go low salt
When it comes to sodium (aka salt), less is always better! Sodium is linked to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease, and most Aussies are currently consuming too much salt. Aim for no more than 400mg of sodium per 100g.
5. Compare Health Star Ratings
The health star rating system has been designed to help you choose healthier options at a glance. Generally speaking, the more stars a product gets, the healthier the option. It takes into consideration both beneficial nutrients (e.g. fibre, protein) as well as unhealthy nutrients (e.g. sodium, sugar and saturate fat). The way it has been designed to be used is to compare with similar products, so when it comes to choosing a breakfast cereal, it is a great tool to use to help you decide.
Here are some healthy cereal options: