What did our grandparents have for breakfast? Although we do not know the exact answer, we do know that they did not have what we know today as breakfast cereals.
What did our grandparents have for breakfast? Although we do not know the exact answer, we do know that they did not have what we know today as breakfast cereals. But the same could be said about our parents and sometimes ourselves more than 30 years ago. What did we have for breakfast then, when there were no “breakfast cereals “? Well, several things, but often cereals, real cereals, in the form of bread, fresh or toasted, in a sandwich, sliced. Cereals after all that were nothing more than that: flour, water, yeast and salt.
- It is important to know that not all cereals that are sold “for breakfast” are the same and that the amounts of sugar and fat can vary greatly.
- What will make it easier for us to choose is the labeling, the list of ingredients and the nutritional information about the product.
- An example: while some processed cereals can contain up to 35% sugar, some plain oat flakes only 1%.
Today, in many homes, breakfast is not conceived without “ breakfast cereals” but if we do not choose well which cereals we consume, it is better that we stick with the old versions of breakfast and return to bread. Are all breakfast cereals the same?
If we are thinking of the whole variety of cereals that are sold bagged or even in bulk, absolutely not, not all are the same, between some whole oat flakes and cereals based on refined cereal with chocolate, caramel or any other sugar there is a abyss at the nutritional level. Now, if we only stay in front of the supermarket cereal line, the differences are not really very noticeable.
In this section we can find chocolate and sugary cereals aimed at children, “special” cereals to take care of the line, or rich in fiber to avoid constipation and other somewhat different products such as muesli, with their more exotic variants for gourmets , with nuts and chocolate, with dried tropical fruits or with red fruits, etc.
What to look for?
As in many other occasions, what will facilitate the task of choosing is the labeling, the list of ingredients and the nutritional information about the product.
The key data that we must look at are:
In the list of ingredients:
- The length of the listing. Although it is not always strictly so, normally a very long list indicates that we are dealing with a processed product.
- The components of the listing. If they are cereals themselves, sugars, fruits or other types of added substances.
- The order of the list: remember that the ingredients are listed from highest to lowest amount present in the product, therefore the first ingredients should be cereals.
In the nutritional composition table:
- The amount of simple sugars in the product is usually the most uneven point in breakfast cereals.
- The amount of fat, and among them the percentage of saturated fat.
- The amount of fiber in cereals, it is always preferable to choose whole grains, or whole grains, as indicated in English “whole grain cereals”.
This table will serve as an orientation on the nutritional content of the product, but above all as a comparison between different types of cereals. Also as a comparison, and especially if we are interested in controlling the caloric intake of the diet, we will also review the total kilocalories of the product.
There is a great difference at the nutritional level between oatmeal flakes, without any other added ingredient, and processed cereals that include many other ingredients in addition to the cereal in question. While the latter can contain more than 35% sugar, some rolled oats contain approximately 1% sugar.
Are “breakfast cereals” really a good breakfast option?
We know that one should not generalize but take into account the characteristics and objectives of the person and factors such as the amount we consume and whether or not they are supplemented with other foods. Now, the figures speak for themselves and everyone can draw their own conclusions from the following table. By way of reflection and example, it is advisable to note that, while 100 g of “demonized” bread (whole wheat bread) contains 229 Kcal, 2.3 grams of sugar and 7 g of fiber, some chocolate cereals provide around 400Kcal , more than 35 g of sugars and less than 1 g of fiber. And without going to the extreme of chocolate, some cereals type “watch your line” provide 375 Kcal, 15 g of sugars and 4.5 g of fiber. Surprised? Perhaps it will turn out that the bread It is not so bad “as they paint it” …
- They are easy to consume and do not require preparation and are usually well accepted by children, not only the sugary ones but also the “just plain” puffed cereal grains.
- Having become a fairly mass consumption food, they are often supplemented with vitamins and minerals.
- In many cases, this supplementation is unnecessary in the case of an adequate diet, but in certain cases it can be an advantage.
- Many of them are highly processed products with a fairly considerable sugar content.
- They can displace other foods and ingredients that are very healthy and a very good option in intakes such as breakfast, mid-morning or snack. We talk about fruit, bread, dairy, nuts …
How to take them?
If we decide to consume breakfast cereals, we must take into account the nutritional information and the labeling to make a good choice. We will take a moderate amount so that they are not the only food in the intake. We will complete them by combining your intake with foods such as fresh fruit, nuts or whole wheat bread. And despite having their consumption very introduced together with milk, we can take them with vegetable drinks, mixed with yogurt, with fresh fruit, etc.