How to Make Your Own Healthy Cereal
Research shows that breakfast eaters are leaner than those who skip their morning meal, but be selective: not all breakfast options are healthy. Take cereals, for example. Cereals are often loaded with artificial sweeteners (the 10 worst cereals all contain more than 40% sugar!) and lack the vitamins and minerals your body needs. But cereal can also be a fast and easy way to fuel up for the day. So take your cereal into your own hands. Use this DIY guide to create healthy cereal without filling up on sugar.
Step 1: Build a fiber base.
Start off your cereal with a great source of fiber like granola. Store-bought granola can be high in fat and calories, so mix your own organic, low-fat, or gluten-free granola at MixMyGranola.com. Don't like granola? Use a few scoops of FiberOne (14 g of fiber per serving). High-fiber foods can help reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes by regulating blood pressure, insulin levels, and weight gain. Eating fiber-rich foods also aids in digestion and the absorption of nutrients, and helps you feel fuller longer after a meal (which can curb overeating and weight gain).
Step 2: Add a natural sweetener.
Fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, bananas, or grapes offer natural sweetness to your cereal. They also contain antioxidants, which are believed to help fight off cancer and other diseases. These natural sweeteners will boost the taste of your breakfast bowl while allowing you to sidestep added sugars.
Step 3: Include a healthy fat.
For some added crunch and healthy fat, mix in slivered almonds. Research has shown that eating a couple handfuls of almonds a day can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 10 percent. This is likely due to the healthy fat, specifically monounsaturated fat, which helps control blood sugar levels.
Step 4: Stir in a protein source.
A balanced breakfast should include a blend of carbs, protein, and healthy fat. Grind fresh flax seeds in a coffee grinder and stir one tablespoon into your cereal. You won't even realize it's there. In addition to being a great protein source, flax is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, and fiber, which has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease.
Step 5: Top it off with milk.
Use low-fat milk for a powerful punch of calcium, which is great for your bones. If you don't drink cow's milk, you can use non-dairy beverages like almond, coconut, rice, or soy milk, which tend to be lower in calories. And remember, opt for a small-to-medium-sized serving bowl. Cornell researchers discovered that smaller bowls help you consume fewer calories.