When I was a kid, breakfast cereals like cornflakes or wheat flakes were unknown in Hungary, and I think in most communist countries. We used to eat cream of wheat, which is basically semolina poured into hot milk and cooked for few minutes and then served with sugar and /or cocoa powder, cinnamon. I never knew anybody who didn’t like this meal, but still it wasn’t something we would have consumed every single day.I didn’t have the motive to investigate after the best breakfast cereal until 20 years later.
I can’t remember, what was the first cereal I have ever bought, but it was during the time I was living in Canada, when I was already in my middle twenties and I got hooked on it very quickly.
I have tried different brands, various flavours and I had many favourites. Naively, I thought cereals must be healthy. I didn’t know I was eating spoons of sugar with some wheat flakes. I only looked the front of the boxes, which normally claimed “high in fibre” “good source of vitamins”, “made with honey”, but I have never read the list of ingredients.
If it had raisins in it – like Kellogg’s Raisin Bran for example – , which I love and supposedly good for my body, I assumed it must be a good choice for me.
Then few years ago I started to inspect the back of the packaging, and I was shocked. I had to realize I was taking so much sugar for breakfast I could have a slice of cake or chocolate instead. I went through of several boxes, quickly analyzed them, and learned that anything with dried fruit in it is loaded with sugar. (Have you ever wondered why those raisins are sparklingly white?) Some contained more then 50 g sugar per 100 g !!!!!
Honey might be a good natural sweetener, but not if it comes in a cereal box. Don’t let this misleading healthy image to blindfold you. Stay away from any colourful or funny shaped cereals as well, or packaging with cartoon figures. These are all just marketing tools to ruin your diet and make you, or even worst, your children fatter.
So you might ask the question: Ok, but what is left then? What is the best breakfast cereal ?
Not many choices , but you can use your creativity to get some variety of tastes.
My favourite, best breakfast cereal is Bitesize Shredded Wheat, while the runner-up is All Bran.
Shredded Wheat is made of 100 % whole grain wheat; hence its sugar content is 0.3 g per serving, basically 0%. It doesn’t contain any trans fat, neither saturated fat or salt. It is a good source of fibre with almost 12% and with the same amount of protein.
All Bran – not the flakes!- only comes as second, because it has some sugar, but it has the one of the highest level of fibre level with 27%.
Now, I must admit none of them has a great taste, but they don’t taste bad neither. I would compare their flavour to a cardboard. Don’t ask how I know how cardboard tastes, because I can’t tell, I just know.
You can mix them with anything to bring out a good flavour: banana, berries, fruits fresh or dried, milk, yoghurt, linseed, almond, cinnamon, these all add sweetness, vitamins and colour to these plain, but indeed healthy cereals.
A bowl of well picked cereal with your favourite fruits and skim milk can make you feel full for hours and the fiber helps to reduce the craving for snacks during the day. Its easy and quick to prepare even without any culinary knowledge, and it will give you the boost you need to start the day.