Be aware of the breakfast cereal in your bowl

Breakfast cereal (from a box) is the one food I have become suspicious of as a dietitian.

Breakfast cereal (from a box) is the one food I have become suspicious of as a dietitian. I always thought it was the perfect breakfast food — it is fast, easy, relatively inexpensive, and can offer many important nutrients. However, it has been my observation that if you give a bowl of boxed cereal to anyone with insulin-dependent diabetes, you can almost guarantee a high blood sugar soon after. In fact, it is a routine recommendation for women with gestational diabetes to forgo breakfast cereals altogether. So what does this mean? It means that breakfast cereals are generally very processed and therefore have a high glycemic index. They are often low in fibre and fat, and therefore there is no “brake system” in how fast the sugar can get into your bloodstream.  There are also some human tendencies that may contribute:Your bowl is too big: Depending on the box of cereal you choose, a serving size is about three-quarters to one-and-a-quarter cups. I measured my bowls at home, and they can comfortably hold three cups of cereal.Your bowl is bottomless: Does this scenario sound familiar? You pour out a serving of cereal, add the milk, and eat. However,  when you get to the bottom of the bowl, there is still milk left so you add a little more cereal. But you add too much, so you need to pour in a little more milk. It’s a vicious cycle. Just drink or dump the milk and get on with your day.You load up on dried fruit: Raisins, cranberries, and other dried fruits do offer fibre, but are very concentrated sources of sugar and calories. A quarter cup of raisins has about 130 calories and 30 grams of sugar. A better choice is fresh fruit, which along with fibre contains a lot of water, filling your belly and adding less sugar and calories. You’re still eating kids cereal: Lucky Charms, Cocoa Pebbles, Apple Jacks should not be eaten routinely by you or your children. If you really want to eat them, try to “dilute” them with a healthier cereal. For example, have a bowl of plain Cheerios and sprinkle a few Honey Nut Cheerios on top.Breakfast cereals are not necessarily a bad choice, but try to choose cereals that are higher in fibre (i.e. more than three grams per serving) and lower in sugar (less than seven grams per serving). Like anything else, be mindful of your portions and think before going back for seconds,- Serena Caner is a registered dietitican who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

Salmon Arm Observer

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