Is a cup of raisin bran type cereal with 51 grams of carbohydrate and 20 grams of sugar per serving too many carbohydrates for breakfast?
Cereal is a good, quick option in the morning. However, navigating the cereal aisle and picking out the healthiest choices can be tricky – there are so many brands to choose from!
Whether or not this cereal has too many carbohydrates for you will depend on your individualized meal plan. Do you usually only have 30 grams of carbohydrate at breakfast? If so, you may want to look into other options, or allow yourself half of a serving instead of the whole cup. If you aim for 45-60 grams of carbohydrate in the morning, you can probably make this choice work for you.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you are going to add milk. Some nutrition labels on cereal include a column with the nutrition facts for one serving of cereal and half a cup of skim milk.
You are also probably wondering if a cereal with 20 grams of sugar per serving is okay to have. Avoid choosing cereals with sugar or high fructose corn syrup listed as one of the first few ingredients. In the case of raisin bran-type cereals, it is likely that a lot of the sugar listed on the label is coming from the natural sugars in the raisins. Unless the cereal you buy has fruit in it, (which will add natural sugars) look for those that are lower in sugar – around 6 grams or less per serving.
Here are a few tips to help you make the better choices:
- The best cereals will be made mostly with whole grains. Check to see if a whole grain, like whole wheat flour or whole oats, is listed as the first ingredient on the nutrition label.
- Check the nutrition label for the amount of fiber. Look for whole grain or bran cereals that have 3 or more grams of fiber per serving. If you can find a cereal with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving, that is considered an excellent source of fiber and is probably a good choice!
- The best cereals are a good source of whole grains and fiber, while also being low in added sugars.
- Even if you buy a healthier cereal, it is still important to watch portion size and consider carbohydrates you are eating. All cereals (and milk) contain carbohydrates and will raise blood glucose.
- Opt to use skim, ½ %, 1% milk in your cereal. Unflavored regular soy milk or light soy milk are also good choices.
- Become familiar with what a serving size of cereal looks like in your bowls at home. Research has shown that the bigger the bowl or plate we have, the more we will serve ourselves. You don’t have to measure every day, but it may be a good idea to check yourself and re-measure once in a while.
You can also check out an additional list of breakfast ideas here on diabetes.org.
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