Yes, absolutely you can include cold or hot cereal as part of your healthy diet. There are literally hundreds to choose from when you go to the store - some of them are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and whole grains while others are full of sugar. The trick is to find a healthy one that tastes good and not like cardboard.
In order to make a healthy choice it is important to read the label because not all cereals are created equal!
- Check the serving size: Some cereals range from 1/2 cup to 1 cup for a single serving. This way you can accurately account for the amount of calories.
- Measure it out: Use a measuring cup to accurately measure out the amount of cereal you are pouring - this way you know exactly how much calories, carbs, and fiber you are consuming.
- Use a smaller bowl: Fool the eyes to think you are getting a bigger portion than you are.
- Fiber: Look for cereals that are high in fiber. 5 or more grams of fiber is a good target to look for when looking for a cereal. Higher fiber cereals will keep you satisfied longer.
- Read the ingredients: Any cereal with sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, or dextrose as one of the first couple of ingredients should be avoided. Any ingredient that you don't recognize that ends is "ose" is a sugar. Avoid cereals that have the words "frosted" or "sugar" in their name.
- Whole Grains: Choose a cereal that is made with whole grains and has it as its first listed ingredient on the nutritional facts panel.
- Carbohydrates: If you are on Controlled Carbohydrate Meal Plan - find a cereal that fit into your plan.
- Instant Oatmeal has had most, if not all,of the fiber and cholesterol-reducing properties from it during the milling and "processing". Look for quick cook and steel cut varieties. These varieties do take longer to cook than the instant but they are healthier than the instant packets. You can make a large batch - keep it refrigerated - and microwave portions each morning to save time. Read the labels as some of the flavored oatmeals are full of sugar.