Nutritionists Rank Breakfast Cereals

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Nutritionists Rank Breakfast Cereals

Nutritionists can assist you out with healthier breakfast cereal selections. I would classify these cereal offerings as being more oriented towards children. So, this may help you select a healthier cereal for your child.

Navigating the cereal aisle in any grocery store can be confusing and time-consuming. Which is a healthy cereal? How do you compare them when the serving sizes vary? Should you be focusing on certain nutrients? Fiber? Sugar? Protein?

Two reputable nutritionists are here to help!

Nutritionists’ Opinions About Breakfast Cereals

Nutritionists share their opinions on the healthiest breakfast cereals. Although debate continues on whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day, breakfast cereal sales keep growing year after year, with $15 billion in revenue expected in 2018.

These are America’s nine top-selling cereals, according to 2017 figures from Chicago-based data firm IRI:

1. Honey Nut Cheerios
2. Honey Bunches of Oats
3. Frosted Flakes
4. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
5. Cheerios
6. Froot Loops
7. Frosted Mini-Wheats
8. Lucky Charms
9. Raisin Bran
Nutritionists Rank Breakfast Cereals

Here are the rankings of two Nutritionists, Amy Gorin and Jonathan Valdez, from healthiest to least healthy.

Nutritionist Amy Gorin

Amy Gorin, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in New York looks for whole grain options. “You can take a look at the ingredients list of the cereal to check that the first ingredient is a whole grain. That ingredient might be whole wheat, oats, cornmeal or another whole grain.” Gorin also looks to see that the cereal has at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein per serving. Avoid cereals with more than 4-6 grams of sugar.

Here is Nutritionist Amy Gorin’s Ranking of Healthy Cereals:

1. Cheerios
2. Honey Bunches of Oats
3. Raisin Bran
4. Honey Nut Cheerios
5. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
6. Lucky Charms
7. Frosted Mini-Wheats
8. Froot Loops
9. Frosted Flakes

Nutritionist Gorin’s Analysis

• Out of these, Cheerios would be my first choice because they have a base of whole grains and are low in sugar.

• She listed Honey Bunches of Oats above Raisin Bran despite the latter’s higher fiber and protein content because “I’d rather see a cereal have slightly less fiber and protein and less added sugar. Honey Bunches of Oats also has more healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats.”

• Frosted Mini-Wheats lands below Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms due to their high sugar content. While Raisin Bran has naturally occurring sugars from dried fruit, the second and third ingredients of Frosted Mini-Wheats are sugar and brown rice syrup, aka added sugar.

• “You can always add forms of fiber and protein to your cereal, like berries and nuts, but you can’t take away the added sugar.

Nutritionist Jonathan Valdez

Nutritionist Jonathan Valdez, owner of Genki Nutrition,  is a New York City-based Telehealth Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Below is Valdez’s ranking of these cereals from healthiest to least healthy.

Here is Nutritionist Valdez’s Ranking of Healthy Cereals:

1. Raisin Bran
2. Cheerios
3. Honey Bunches of Oats
4. Frosted Mini-Wheats
5. Honey Nut Cheerios
6. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
7. Lucky Charms
8. Froot Loops
9. Frosted Flakes

 

Nutritionist Valdez explains the basis for his rankings:

• “In general when choosing cereals, I always look at the protein and fiber content more than anything. These are the components that will help you stay fuller for longer. If you have a low-calorie breakfast, you will likely have cravings later… and are more likely to eat more.”

• He ranks Raisin Bran first because the added sugar is coming from the raisins, not added table sugar. Also, raisins are grapes and they contains antioxidants.

• He ranks Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes lowest because they are made with refined grains.

 

Nutritionists Look for These Numbers

Nutritionists focus on these numbers on cereal package labels:

• Added Sugars. Nutritionist Valdez looks to avoid added sugar, commenting that “When it comes to added sugar, less is better.”

• Refined Grains. Unlike whole grains, refined grains like white flour and degerminated cornmeal have been stripped of most of their fiber, vitamins and minerals. That means that they are more quickly digested and have a high glycemic index, which may lead to overeating.

• High Sodium Levels. If you have high blood pressure or a family history of this condition should also take note of the amount of sodium in cereal. Valdez advises aiming for less than 5 percent of the daily value.

• Serving Sizes Vary. When looking at a nutrition label, it’s important to note the serving size, which can vary widely from cereal to cereal. Ready-to-eat cereals serving sizes range from 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups.

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