Myth 13: Cereal is a Good Choice for a Meal or Snack
There are many misconceptions about proper nutrition and exercise. Nutritionists from the Pediatric Fitness Clinic explore different myths and misconceptions, the truth behind them, and offer suggestions for what you can do instead.
Myth: Cereal is a good choice for a meal or snack.
Truth: There are many healthful cereal choices. However, some cereals have a lot of sugar and refined grains, so you want to be sure you choose one that is a good source of fiber.
Cereal is not a standalone food, but is a healthy part of a meal or snack. Build the meal or snack around cereal by adding a source of protein (egg, yogurt, string cheese) or healthy fat (nuts, seeds).
There are many healthful cereal choices. However, many have a lot of sugar and refined grains. The best cereals are made from a whole grain (100 percent whole wheat, oats, brown rice) and include bran for extra fiber.
Try This Instead
As a general rule, if the cereal turns your milk a different color, it is not a good choice. Try to choose cereals with at least three grams of dietary fiber and less than 8 grams of sugar.
- Parents are the nutrition gatekeepers. Try to only keep healthful cereals in the home.
- Encourage your kids to go shopping with you and teach them why some foods are healthier than others. It may be a little more time-consuming, but it's one way they can start to take an active role in their eating habits.
- Model healthy eating by portioning out an appropriate serving of cereal and putting the box away after serving.