3 types of cereal for breakfast to lose weight
Add milk. Eat. But, when it comes to nutrition, the choices in the cereal aisle don’t stack up evenly. Varieties with chocolate chips and marshmallows likely stand out as the unhealthier of choices, but seemingly healthy options, such as some granolas and sweetened whole-grain varieties, can be packed with added sugars and unhealthy fats, too — not to mention they can be seriously lacking in good-for-you nutrients.
“Never judge a cereal by the front of the box; the manufacturers aren’t there to help you be healthy,” says Gretchen Spetz, RD, a clinical dietitian with University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio. To get the real scoop, you need to scan the ingredients and nutrition facts label for sneaky sugar sources and hidden processed ingredients. What you do want to see are ingredients like whole grains, oats, whole wheat, and brown rice, which tend to be higher in fiber than more processed carbohydrates.
The good news is that the right cereal pick made with the right ingredients can serve up a healthy, nutrient-rich breakfast in a flash — and yes, help you meet your weight loss or weight maintenance goals.
A review published in September 2014 in the journal Advances in Nutrition that analyzed dozens of previous studies that looked at the health benefits of eating cereal for breakfast found there is trustworthy evidence that cereals with a base of oats, barley, or psyllium may help lower cholesterol levels, and that wheat-based cereals that are high in fiber may help improve bowel function, too.
To make the right decision when it comes to your breakfast bowl, Spetz recommends looking for cereals with at least 3 grams (g) of fiber (5 g or more is considered “high-fiber”), less than 10 g of sugar, and less than 200 milligrams (mg) of salt per serving.
For a healthy breakfast, stick to classic Cheerios. “They contain a good amount of fiber and are low in sugar, all those things that we look for [in a healthy cereal],” Spetz explains. “Go with the plain Cheerios, not the honey nut or vanilla or any of the other flavors.” There are also many store-brand or generic versions of Cheerios, which are acceptable as well.