Do you know the calories in the cereals you typically eat? We usually think of cereals as an essential part of a good breakfast, packed with healthy ingredients, but the reality can be far from that.
In truth the calories in cereals can be high - manufacturers pack them with sugar, chocolate, honey and nuts, all of which can dramatically increase the calories in cereals.
However, if we switch to those that have less sugar and more fibre, they provide the foundation to a good breakfast. When you add in some skimmed milk or natural yoghurt, you have a good, balanced way to start the day.
Unfortunately, the best cereals to eat are probably not those that we have most often. Good choices include wheat-based choices such as Shredded Wheat and Wheat Biscuits, which are high in fibre and protein, or porridge, muesli, and other oat based alternatives.
To give you an idea of typical values, here are two popular choices compared:
- 100 grams of cornflakes - around 361 calories (361 kcal)
- 100 grams of porridge - 333 kcal
Worryingly, those that are marketed at children are typically the worst choices of all. When compared with adults' cereals, the children's ones typically have more sugar, sodium, carbohydrate and calories per gram, and less protein and fibre.
The Consumer Association (2004) researched this topic and found nine kids' brands that were at least 40% sugar and contained an excessive quantity of salt.
The worst brands nutritionally were:
- Nestle Lion Cereal: 0.75g salt, 13.7g fat, 35.9g sugar
- Kellogg's Frosties Turbos: 1.5g salt, 1.5g fat, 40g sugar
- Nestle Cookie Crisp: 1.5g salt, 2.9g fat, 41.3g sugar
- Nestle Golden Grahams: 2.5g salt, 3g fat, 32g sugar
- Kellogg's Frosties Chocolate: 1.63g salt, 4.5g fat, 41g sugar
- Kellogg's Hunny B's: 1.25g salt, 2.5g fat, 37g sugar
- Nestle Cinnamon Grahams: 1.75g salt, 9.8g fat, 34.2g sugar
- Nestle Honey Nut Cheerios 1.75g salt, 3.7g fat, 35.2g sugar
- Kellogg's Coco Pops: 1.13g salt, 2.5g fat, 39g sugar
- Kellogg's Frosties: 1.5g salt, 0.5g fat, 38g sugar
So when making your breakfast choices, check the label and be clear exactly what it is that you are getting.