The healthiest way to start the day isn’t usually a branded product, but might be any whole food from eggs, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes to whole grains like quinoa, oats, buckwheat, barley or rye.
But sometimes when there’s nothing in the fridge or no time to prepare from scratch, a box of breakfast cereal can be a convenient and quick brekkie. And kids love them. Walking down the cereal aisle can be nearly as exciting as walking down the confectionary aisle. And there lies the problem: Most breakfast cereals are highly processed and low in fibre, and contain too much sugar and sodium. So I’ve check out every breakfast cereal in the aisle to save you some time, and found 15 that get the Nutrition Coach stamp of approval.
The selection criteria
My top picks need to contain:
- Mostly whole grains
- Less than 10% sugar
- More than 7g dietary fibre
- A good fibre to sugar ratio for health and sustained energy – for example, Uncle Tobys Vitabrits have 31.5 times more fibre than sugar, whereas Carman’s Original Fruit Free Muesli has 1.1 times more fibre than sugar.
- Less than 400mg sodium per 100g
Healthy brands of cereal
|Brand||Product||Energy (kj/100g)||Sugar (g/100g)||Dietary Fibre (g/100g)||Fibre:sugar ratio (the higher the better)||Sodium (mg/100g)||Comment|
|Uncle Tobys||Shredded Wheat||1520||0.7||12.2||17.4||21|
|Food for Health||Simply Fibre Muesli||1690||1.8||18.5||10.3||14|
|Sunsol||10+ Natural Muesli||1790||2||11.9||6||21||A good mix of grains, seeds and nuts|
|Freedom Foods||Barley+ Porridge Traditional||1490||3.4||19.4||5.7||7||High in beta-glucans|
|Sanitarium||Weet-Bix Kids||1480||2.9||11||3.8||45||Added B vitamins, calcium and iron|
|Woolworths Essentials||Processed Bran Sticks||1340||9.7||33.9||3.5||290||Cheap (under $2 for 500g)|
|Sanitarium||Weet-Bix||1490||3.3||11||3.3||270||Added B vitamins and iron|
5 Grains & Hazelnut
|1560||4||10.6||2.7||10||Added B vitamins and iron and inulin|
|Jordans||Low Sugar Granola Almond & Hazelnut||1880||2.9||7.9||2.7||10||Contains oats, barley and prebiotic chicory root fibre|
|Food for Health||Fruit Free Clusters Chia and Cinnamon||1750||6.9||9.6||1.4||32||Gluten free, fructose free|
|Be Natural||Whole Grain Mini Bites Original||1470||8.7||11.9||1.4||5||Gluten free, fructose free|
|Kellogg’s||Five Wholegrain Muesli||1590||9.1||10.8||1.2||5|
Kellogg’s Guardian, Kellogg’s All-Bran Wheat Flakes, Woolworths High Fibre Bran and Uncle Toby’s BranPlus didn’t meet the selection criteria because they contain more than 10% sugar, but they are still good choices due to their high fibre content. Look out for products with more fibre than sugar for sustained energy, better gut health and easier weight management.
Tips for kids
- Pull two or three healthy choices off the shelf and let your child decide which one you should buy. This gives them choice within your boundaries
- Top with fruit instead of honey
- For kids who won’t eat meat, try a cereal that is fortified with iron and top with a fruit high in vitamin C like strawberries to help absorb the iron.