Cereal: good or bad for you?
Americans love cereal! There are about a billion different kinds of breakfast cereal (okay hundreds?) on the shelves at the supermarket. Most are loaded with sugar. Even the ones that seem healthy may still be loaded with sugar so be sure to read the Nutrition Facts label. Look for the sugar grams per serving. Did you know that 4.2 grams of granulated sugar equals a teaspoon? If there are 12 grams of sugar per serving as there are in Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, it is like putting nearly 3 teaspoons of sugar on your 3/4 cup serving of corn flakes. Does that sound healthy to you? In fact some breakfast cereals have more sugar than a Twinkie, actually over half sugar by weight! In addition, companies can put all sorts of health claims on their packaging and much of it is misleading. Kellogg’s recently claimed that Rice Krispies “helps support your child’s immunity”. Hmmm. Don’t believe all that you read on the packaging.
Most breakfast cereals are highly processed grains that are quickly converted to sugar in your body even if they don’t have added sugar. Eating excessive sugar has been shown to lead to obesity, diabetes, inflammation, heart disease and cancer. It is best to eat whole grains for breakfast for longer sustained energy with the added benefit of the fiber and vitamins in the whole grains. Old fashioned rolled oats are easy to make (the instant kind is processed and doesn’t have the same health benefits). There are a number of whole grains to try for breakfast. Here is a great article listing a few to try. Or make up a batch of my maple crunch granola in no time at home. I just served samples of this at a recent Health Fair and got rave reviews
Maple Crunch Granola
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp. coconut oil (or canola)
1 Tbsp. water
Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 275 degrees. Coat a 9” x 13” metal pan with cooking spray, then set aside. Mix oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt, coconut and cinnamon in a bowl. Bring syrup, oil, and water to simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Drizzle over oat mixture, and stir to combine. Pour mixture onto prepared pan. Working a handful at a time, squeeze cereal to form small clumps. Bake for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Let cool. Makes one quart. Recipe can be doubled, but use two pans.
Granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Be creative with adding other ingredients to this basic recipe. Dried fruits should be stirred in after 30 minutes of baking, then put back in for another 15 minutes longer. Try your favorite combinations of nuts and dried fruits for endless possibilities!
To your health,
Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach