Healthier Alternatives to Cereal
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But did you know that despite cereal flooding the shelves at your supermarket, cereal isn’t as healthy as marketing makes it out to be? Unless you are eating good quality muesli each morning with some fruit, then cereal is not going to be giving you the nutrition you need to set your day off on the right foot.
Have you noticed all the health claims on cereal boxes? Be wary of marketing! It is unlikely you will something healthy inside of a processed cereal box.
“If you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat”
― Michael Pollan,
Check out the ingredients in some popular cereals.
Cheerios: Whole Grain Oats (includes the oat bran), Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate, Wheat Starch, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness.
Wheaties: Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, Salt, Corn Syrup, Trisodium Phosphate. BHT Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Zinc and Iron (Mineral Nutrients), A B Vitamin (Niacinamide), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate), Vitamin A (Palmitate), A B Vitamin (Folic Acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D.
Rice Krispies: Rice, sugar, salt, malt flavoring, iron, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), niacinamide, vitamin A palmitate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1), folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D.
Fruit Loops: Sugar, corn flour blend (whole grain yellow corn flour, degerminated yellow corn flour), wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, oat fiber, soluble corn fiber, contains 2% or less of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), salt, red 40, natural flavor, blue 2, turmeric color, yellow 6, annatto color, blue 1, BHT for freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid), niacinamide, reduced iron, zinc oxide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), vitamin A palmitate, folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin B12.)
Lucky Charms: Oats (Whole grain), Oats (flour), marshmallows (sugar, modified starch/modified corn starch, corn syrup, dextrose, gelatin, calcium carbonate, yellow 5 & yellow 6, blue 1, red 40), artificial flavor, sugar, corn syrup, corn starch, salt, calcium carbonate, food coloring/artificial color, trisodium phosphate, zinc, iron, vitamin C (sodium ascorbic), niacinamide (a B vitamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), vitamin A (palmitate), folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)
It is important to note vitamins and minerals are lost in the processing of grains. Food manufacturers add in synthetic vitamins to replace the natural vitamins lost in processing and manufacturing of the cereal.
What do you think is a better choice for your body? A vitamin in its natural form or one manufactured in a lab?
A smart rule to live by: If it was made by Mother Nature, eat it. If it was made in a factory, avoid it.
Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. There are a great many food-like items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food.. stay away from these” ~Michael Pollan
Cereals are also high in processed sugars. They cause rapid spikes followed by deep dips in blood sugar levels. That is why most people often feel tired, hungry, and grumpy mid-morning.
I’ve compiled a list of easy, fast and healthy breakfast ideas that don’t include the cereal box so that your next breakfast can be a nutritious one.
12 Healthy Breakfast Options
These are basically mini omelets that are baked in a muffin tray. You can eat them hot or cold, depending on your mood. You can also add in other healthy foods like vegetables, cheese, or meats. Simply whisk some eggs, add a dash of milk or water, chopped veggies and bake for 10-15mins. Easy right?
This only takes a few minutes in the skillet to cook and is great for using leftovers. Cut up some greens, beans, roasted potatoes, leftover meats, anything you’ve got will work. Grab a whole wheat wrap add your ingredients to half and fold over while cooking. The best part is that it’s super healthy for you!
Add some scrambled eggs, veggies, cheese, avocado, sour cream, salsa, and hot sauce to a wrap.
Biscuits or Muffins
These are pretty great because you can add in all sorts of things to make them even more healthy and tasty. You could use mashed banana instead of sugar or raw cacao instead of chocolate chips. Some of the things I like to add in are nuts, seeds (including hemp or chia seeds), coconut flakes, and fruits like blueberries. You can also add in protein powder or collagen. Vital Proteins collagen peptides are my favorite.
Muesli is great for the summertime when it’s too hot for things like a hot bowl of oatmeal. Raw oats, fruit, and nuts are very filling and can be soaked in nut milk overnight to make a cold breakfast that’s ready to help you beat the heat of the summer’s day. Try this brand.
Smoothies are very healthy for you, but it can be tricky to make sure they fill you up until your next meal. Try adding some dry oats, nut butters, or avocado for more protein and belly-filling power! You can actually make these the night before by putting the ingredients into a bag or container and store in the fridge. When you wake, add it all to the blender, pour into a glass and off you go! I like to use frozen fruits and vegetables in my smoothies, they make it more creamy and delicious. You can disguise so many superfoods in smoothies like kale, broccoli, spinach, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut oil, hemp seed oil, protein powders, Vital Proteins collagen peptides, probiotics, cacao powder, maca powder, and goji berries. You can get really creative with smoothies. Try this Superfood Pumpkin Smoothie.
I also like to make smoothie bowls which are just really thick smoothies. You need a high powered blender like a Vitamix to make them. I add this Superfood Cookie Crumble and chocolate drizzle (melted chocolate chips and coconut oil) to them.
Baked Oatmeal is really great for grabbing on the go. If you make it on Sunday night, you can pack into a little container and it will be great for breakfast all week long! You can eat it cold or hot that will take just seconds to make. You can also add in some fruits, nuts, and even chocolate for different flavors.
You need to be very careful with pre-made bars. Some of these bars say they are healthy when they are really packed full of sugar. I like to make my own instead so that I can make sure I am eating only the healthiest ingredients. So, instead of adding sugar, try adding some nuts, oats, mashed banana or dried fruit. Those ingredients will guarantee it tastes great and be healthy for you too! If you’re looking for a healthier store-bought option, try this one, or this one.
Eggs and Veggie Soldiers
These are soft-boiled or poached eggs with vegetable sticks as soldiers. They are an amazing and healthy meal that’s also easy and fast to make.
Make a simple parfait with layers of plain greek yogurt (sweeten with honey or maple syrup), low sugar granola (try this brand), and fruit.
Like the Breakfast quesadillas, these are great for using leftovers. You can add in fruits, veggies, meat, cheese, olives, dried fruit, and/or nuts to make whatever surprise you’d like to see on your plate in the morning. Think of it like a snacks plate or nibbles platter where you can have a mini buffet of food on your plate.
Protein and Fiber Packed Pancakes
Many pancake mixes are filled with unhealthy ingredients and void of nutrition. They are full of sugar and often topped with more processed sugars in the form of Log Cabin or Mrs. Butterworths. This is a dangerous combination that will create unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels.
Pancakes can be made healthier! Try this Protein and Fiber Packed Pumpkin Pancake recipe.
If you drink coffee with breakfast, read Nine Ways to Turn America’s Favorite Beverage Into a Superfood.
Now, that you have some great new ideas for eating healthy at breakfast time, there is no reason to skip the most important meal of the day. Whether you are in a rush or have plenty of time to cook up a hearty meal, you’ve got plenty of healthy options to choose from that will make sure your body gets the nutrients it needs to make it through the day.
Switching from a processed food diet to a whole foods diet takes time, patience, and persistence. Hang in there and don’t get frustrated.
Get The Ultimate Shopping Guide to learn some simple tips on how to transition to a whole foods diet.