Do you want a healthier lifestyle that will lead to sustainable weight loss? Then it is important to eat right in the morning because it prepares you for healthier meals during the day. The good news is that you do not have to sacrifice your favorite food; select the appropriate ones with fewer calories. Choosing the best cereal for weight loss will kick-start your day on the right footing.
According to Nielsen, a global information and measurement company, most households in America, particularly those with children aged 6-12 years, prefer cold cereal over other options such as yogurt or eggs (5). This is because of the busy lifestyle and the fact that cereals are affordable, delicious, and easy to prepare- they can be eaten on the go with no cleanup needed. The best cereal for weight loss is one that is healthy, at the same time will make you enjoy your morning bowl as usual, and even look forward to it.
Best Cereal for Weight Loss: Starting Your Day on the Right Foot
What is the best cereal for weight loss? Do not be fooled by the attractive packaging and long list of advantages posted on cereal boxes. Every box of cereal at the grocery may claim to be healthy, so you have to be careful to actually select the one that is highly nutritious but low in calories for healthy weight loss.
Identifying the best breakfast cereal for weight loss requires an understanding of what a healthy cereal should be. Anything that claims to help you lose weight, but when closely examined the nutritional facts and ingredients on the label shows high carbohydrates, sugars, calories, and hidden processed ingredients, then it is misleading and should be avoided.
What is the Best Cereal to Eat for Rapid Weight Loss?
Unfortunately, when it comes to healthy, sustainable weight loss, there is no quick-fix. Since weight gain did not happen overnight, do not expect to lose weight quickly and maintain such weight for a long time. It is advisable to lose weight progressively, approximately 1-2 pounds in a week, by following a healthy lower-calorie diet, regularly engaging in physical activity, and making other healthy habits part of your daily routine (18).
Characteristics of Best Healthy Cereal for Weight Loss
They say never judge a book by its cover, so similarly, do not judge a cereal by its packaging. Although marshmallows and chocolate chips cereals stand out as unhealthier options, others contain added sugars, unhealthy fats, and lack healthy nutrients. These, too, are not the best cereals for weight loss.
According to expert opinion on Everydayhealth, the best breakfast bowl of cereal should contain at least 3 grams of fiber, below 10 grams of sugar, and less than 200 milligrams of salt per serving or per 100 grams (14). To further expound on the importance of understanding the content of best cereals, NHS states that cereals high in sugar, fat, or salt contain over 22.5 grams total sugar, above 17.5 grams fat, and more than 1.5 grams of salt per 100 grams (8). Those with low sugar, fat, or salt, which are recommended, contain 5 grams of total sugar or less, 3 grams of saturated fats or less, and 0.3 grams of salt or less per 100 grams.
Here is more on what to look out for when selecting the best cereal for weight loss and energy:
High in Fiber
All healthy weight loss diets advocate for foods that are rich in fiber (carbs that cannot be digested by the gut) content to make you feel full for longer (6). Foods rich in soluble fiber promote weight loss by helping keep your gut bacteria healthy and encouraging overall fat loss by minimizing your appetite (9).
It would be best if you ate about 28 grams of fiber in a day, while other sources recommend between 20 to 35 grams a day (14). Therefore, it is best to begin your day with a morning bowl that contains at least one-fourth of the recommended daily fiber intake. You can go for cereals containing about 14 grams of fiber per serving, then obtain the remaining 14 grams or more fiber from subsequent meals during the day. Note that having 5 grams per serving or more is considered high-fiber, therefore, if your gastrointestinal tract is not used to a high amount of fiber, you should not take a very high quantity of fiber at once, for example, in the morning (14). Instead, take a lesser amount to avoid feeling uncomfortable due to excess gas.
There are numerous sources of fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (17). Our focus is on 100% whole grains, which are foods with the complete seeds of a plant, i.e., containing the germ, bran, and endosperm, making them rich sources of dietary fiber (7). These include oatmeal, quinoa, popcorn, barley, millet, brown rice, and wheat. Other than fiber, the best whole-grain cereal for weight loss is rich in other nutrients such as B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (7).
High in Proteins
The best cereal for weight loss and energy is one that is high in proteins. Protein-rich foods are best for weight loss because they minimize the hunger hormone and promote several satiety hormones, resulting in a significant reduction in hunger, hence, you automatically eat fewer calories (11). Thus, a high-protein cereal will fuel your day right and help you attain your desired body goals. For example, cereals with about 16 grams of protein will boost your energy throughout the day. Remember that the more protein you have, the more calories you burn at rest; therefore, it may contribute to weight loss.
Low in Sugars
Sugar, which improves taste, is good to feed your sweet tooth but harmful to your health and weight journey. It causes weight gain because it is high in empty calories and contributes to extended elevated blood sugar, leptin resistance, and insulin resistance associated with weight gain (1). Such foods tend to be less filling and may affect appetite-controlling hormones and brain reward centers, increasing the desire for highly palatable foods and causing you to overeat.
Other than weight gain, added sugars also contribute to chronic health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes (1). Therefore, you should avoid sugary cereals even if they contain whole grains. Check the nutrition label on the packaging and identify the various terms used to describe different sugars, for example, galactose, dextrose, glucose, maltose, lactose, agave, corn syrup, brown sugar, sucrose, fructose, etc. If possible, select cereals with zero sugars, although these might be expensive.
Low in Carbohydrates and Calories
If you want to lose weight, you should reduce your carbohydrate intake to minimize your appetite, and this begins with the first meal of the day, breakfast. Therefore, your cereals should be low in carbs.
A low-calorie diet is necessary for weight loss, with many women trying to lose weight consuming about 1200 to 1400 calories daily and men taking between 1600 to 1800 daily (10). The recommended calorie intake for a healthy weight loss breakfast for women, whose daily calorie intake should be about 2000 kcal, is about 400 kcal, including drinks and accompaniments (8). On the other hand, men trying to lose weight may take between 400 to 500 kcal for breakfast and other main meals (10). Some sources recommend going for cereals with about 90 grams of calories and 1 gram of fat per serving.
No Artificial Ingredients
Artificial additives are high in fats and may result in weight gain. Best cereals for weight loss are plain, and if not, they should contain natural flavors such as cocoa, dried fruits, cinnamon, etc. Some cereals contain annatto, an organic food dye made from tropical shrubs’ outer coat of the seed. This is better than artificial colorings.
Benefits of Taking Cereals for Breakfast
Low-calorie cereals have numerous benefits other than helping you shed desired pounds by minimizing your likelihood of experiencing cravings for unhealthy, high-calorie, and high-fat foods during the day. For instance, according to the Harvard School of Public Health researchers, cereals rich in whole grains and fiber minimize the risk of diseases, reducing premature death through chronic illnesses such as cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease, and diabetes (7).
A 2014 publication in the international review journal, Advances in Nutrition, examined the health benefits of taking cereals in the morning established that cereals with a base of barley, oats, or psyllium may lower cholesterol levels (13). Also, it was found that wheat-based cereals high in fiber may help enhance bowel function.
Besides the healthy benefits, cereals are nonperishable, economical, easy to store, prepare, and transport, making them more advantageous. Note that unhealthy sugary cereals may lead to tooth decay and high blood pressure (8).
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What to Add to Cereals?
A 40-gram serving of cereal may give you about 150 kcal, therefore, adding other nutritious foods may help attain the about 400 kcal mark for breakfast, or less for weight loss as mentioned above (8). You may add other nutritious foods such as:
- Fruits – dried apricots, bananas, nuts, raspberries, strawberries, and milk to your morning cereal. These offer extra hunger-busting doses of fiber and other healthy nutrients. For instance, adding a tablespoon of raisin and some cinnamon not only adds flavor to this breakfast but may also help control blood sugar.
- Milk – Adding milk or natural plain yogurt to your cereal provides more calcium to your diet. 1% or skimmed milk, semi-skimmed milk, or low-fat yogurt are recommended. Other than cow-milk, you can take rice, soya, or oat drinks (8).
Examples of Best Cereals for Weight Loss
Scientifically the best hot cereal for weight loss is porridge, a typical breakfast cereal dish that is healthy when prepared with water, low-fat milk, or without added sugar and salt, according to UKs Heart Matters Magazine and Healthline (4) (12). Although porridge in itself is not a cereal, scientifically, a cereal is any grain used for food, meaning that it qualifies as a cereal since it is prepared from whole grains such as oats (12). One serving of porridge prepared with 40 grams of oats and semi-skimmed milk has 241 kcal, 6.2 grams fat, 2.5 grams saturates, 8.2 grams sugars, and 0.2 grams salt.
All porridge oats are whole grains containing beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that may help minimize cholesterol levels. This healthy cereal also contains phosphorus, which plays a vital role in how the body uses fats and carbohydrates, and other nutrients such as selenium, zinc, manganese, iron, B vitamins, and magnesium (12). You may add fruits such as a banana for extra sweetness.
Other examples of best cereals include:
No Added Sugar Muesli
What is the best cold cereal for weight loss? Muesli may take the day because it is taken raw, i.e., without being baked (12). This is a combination of whole grains such as rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Go for muesli without added sugar, which contains about 179 kcal, 2.9 grams fats, 0.6 grams saturates, 6.5 grams sugars, and 0.08 grams salt. Also, 1 cup (85 grams) of this combination provides about 8 grams of proteins, lots of fiber, vitamins, and minerals (12).
Shredded Whole Wheat Cereal
Taken with only low-fat milk, a morning bowl made up of shredded whole grain cereals is high in fiber and does not contain added salt or sugar (4). You can add fresh fruits to this, instead of dried or frosted ones containing added sugars. 45 grams serving shredded whole wheat cereal contain 163 kcal, 1 gram fat, 0.2 grams saturates, 0.3 grams sugars, and 0.02 grams salt.
Wheat Biscuits, Bran Flakes, and Malted Wheat Cereal
These whole-grain cereals are rich in fiber, and in place of processed sugar, you can add berries or fruits to sweeten them (4). 30 grams of whole-grain cereals contain 100 kcal, 0.7 grams fat, 0.1 grams saturates, 6.3% sugars, and 0.27 grams of salt.
Homemade granola (prepared by baking a mixture of dried fruits, rolled oats, and nuts in the oven until it becomes crispy) is also an excellent cereal because it does not contain added sugars like those in grocery stores. However, granola is high in calories; therefore, it is best eaten in moderation (12).
Knowing what to look for in your morning bowl of cereal will help you pick the right cereal with healthy ingredients to meet your weight loss and weight maintenance goals. The best cereal for weight loss is made from fiber-rich and protein-rich whole grains such as oats, barley, and millet. They also contain other healthy foodstuffs such as dried blueberries, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. However, it does not stop at that; they should be low in sugars, salt, carbohydrates, and fats, for you to lose weight. Make sure you select a brand with fewer components listed on the label and approved by the relevant food-monitoring body and government authority.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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