Are you guilty of removing carbs from your diet in an effort to lose weight? At one point or another, whether it was Dr. Atkins, a different fad diet connoisseur, or perhaps even your mom, you were told that carbs are bad for you. Unfortunately you fell victim to believing one of the biggest lies in the nutrition community: carbs = fat. We know now that skipping out on carbohydrates doesn’t help you lose weight, and that doing so can potentially be detrimental to your health and overall well being. Therefore, I wanted to give all of you, especially my vegan friends out there a friendly reminder to eat your cereal. I’ll tell you why.
I’m not saying go to the grocery store right now and buy a box of sugar filled, processed Lucky Charms or (my all time favorite) cinnamon toast crunch. I’m saying it is important to consider incorporating healthy cereals into the diet because a lot of cereals are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals that certain diets, especially vegan diets tend to lack. Whether you’re vegan or not, a lot of us miss out on our daily dose of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. In fact, according to the US dietary guidelines, about 3/4 of the US population fails to consume an adequate amount of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats! WOW.
When you fail to consume the correct types of foods, you inevitably fail to consume the correct amounts of essential vitamins and minerals necessary for proper body function. This can consequently impair health by promoting chronic disease later on in life. Vegans also need to understand that they often lack in trace minerals, particularly iron and zinc (Click here for my post about trace minerals for more information), as well as vitamins including vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Because of this, consuming fortified cereals containing these essential micronutrients should be of interest. Don’t think you’re off the hook if you’re not vegan because we see similar deficiencies in both meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike in zinc, folate, vitamin D and many other essential vitamins and minerals.
It is difficult to notice a deficiency in various vitamins and minerals right away because we often don’t see complications or feel different until months or even years after a deficiency begins to develop. This has to do with the idea that your body is a machine, and it will stop at nothing to keep you thriving. However, this is no excuse to skip out on your daily dose of essential micronutrients because eventually, you will fall victim to various maladies.
Cereal is the perfect fix for anyone looking to boost their micronutrient levels. Various cereals are fortified with folate, iron, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Some cereals are also fortified with vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Another reason why you should incorporate cereal into your diet is because of the high fiber content. Unfortunately, along with failing to consume a sufficient amount of micronutrients, many Americans also fail to consume their daily recommended dose of fiber. By incorporating just one cup of cereal a day into the diet you can receive 25% or more of your daily dose of fiber (depending on the cereal), as well as various vitamins and minerals that your diet would otherwise lack.
Next time, before you consider skipping out on healthy cereal or granola, consider all of the benefits. It is important to ensure that the cereal you choose is made with fortified whole grains, and not enriched, bleached grains. Make sure that the sugar content of your cereal is not too high. That is, ensure that the cereal you choose contains anywhere from 0g-5g per serving. Make sure you can read all of the ingredients on the back of your cereal box. This ensures that your choice isn’t filled with unnecessary chemicals and preservatives. Above all, make sure that your cereal is fortified with the macronutrients and micronutrients that you need. For example, if your diet consists of an adequate amount of vitamin B12, but is lacking in iron, then look for a cereal containing more iron than vitamin B12. To help you make the right choice, I’ve listed a few heathy options below. Remember that these are not the only healthy cereal options out there, these just happen to be the cereals I found to be available in most grocery stores. I’ve made clear which choices contain iron and vitamin B12 for all my vegan friends out there. So there you have it everyone. Eat your grains, consume carbohydrates, and live a happy and healthy life.
Healthy Cereal Options (click links for full nutrition facts):
- Kellogs All Bran With Extra Fiber (vitamin B12, iron, also contains 0g fiber)
- General Mills Total Corn Flakes (vitamin B12, iron)
- Cheerios (vitamin B12, iron)
- Kashi (iron)
- 365 Multigrain O’s from whole foods (iron,)
- Kellogs Special K (Vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron)
- Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted whole grain cereal (iron)
- Wheat Chex (iron, vitamin B12)