At Better Fitness Daily, we are walking down the aisles of our virtual grocery store, today we’ll consider the foods on the Bread and Cereal Aisle
Bread & Cereal Aisles
Bread, cereals and other grain products can often be the most confusing to buy, and healthy sounding phrases on their packages (Health Nut, 12-Grain, and more) don’t make it any easier. For the best bet, ignore the claims on the front of the box and go straight to the nutrition label.
- Whole wheat bread. To make sure you’re buying whole grain bread (which is superior in nutrition and arguably, flavor) make sure “whole” is the first word on the ingredient list. The same goes for buns, bagels, English muffins, pitas, and other bread products.
- Sprouted grain bread (Ezekial is a common brand) is usually sold in the freezer case or natural foods section. It’s made entirely of sprouted whole grains, which are more easily digestible for some people. This bread also boasts protein (and all essential amino acids) and fiber.
- Whole grain pasta. Choose whole wheat pasta and couscous, or even brown rice pasta for variety.
- Brown rice is a healthy addition to many meals. For quicker cooking, you can soak it on the counter for a few hours before boiling it, or buy pre-cooked brown rice in the freezer section that you can reheat in the microwave in minutes!
- Healthy cereals are those made with whole grains and without added sugar. Top choices:
- For a fiber-rich, healthy breakfast cereal enjoy whole grain cereals like oatmeal, Cheerios, Wheaties, shredded wheat, raisin bran or Kashi.
- Add sweetness with fresh, frozen, or fruit canned in its own juice. Give sliced bananas, canned peaches, frozen blueberries, or fresh strawberries a try.
- Top it all off with some low-fat milk or soymilk.
- If you, your spouse, or children are screaming for the sweeter stuff, first try to go half-and-half. For example, half chocolate puffs mixed with half Cheerios. The amount of sugar and flavorings is more than ample to sweeten the contents in the entire bowl. Trust me on this one—it works. My 9- and 14-year-old have no complaints with this morning ritual!
Ignore those catchy claims on the front of the box. Go straight to the nutrition facts label. Here’s what to look for:
- Remember the “Rule of Fives”: Choose cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving, and less than 5 grams of sugar.
- Look for each serving to contain at least 3 grams of protein.
- Read the ingredients list. The top ingredients should be “whole wheat”, or “wheat bran”—not just “wheat”. These whole grains are naturally low in fat, and high in fiber.
- Avoid cereals that list hydrogenated oils, artificial dyes or colors, and chemical preservatives as ingredients—these have no place in a healthy diet!
Oatmeal is a hearty breakfast staple that cooks in minutes. Buy instant or quick oats to save time. When cooking it on the stovetop, add a handful of frozen blueberries for a scrumptious breakfast truly fit for champions.
What to Avoid in the Bread & Cereal Aisles:
- Snack cakes, doughnuts, muffins, Danishes and other pastries don’t make healthy breakfast choices.
- Sugary cereals, especially those marketed to kids
- Limit “wheat flour” products. Don’t let words like “wheat flour” or “wheat bread” fool you. Unless the ingredients list “whole wheat” as #1, these products are just posing as healthy.
- Limit white flour products. Refined grains (white bread, rice and cereals) are missing the most nutritious parts of the grain.
My advice is to take it step by step, purpose to learn and make better decisions each time you shop.
Eat Smart, Train Hard, Live Boldly
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