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Features

Healthy Cereal Craze

Marilynne Cheng

Words by Liana Giangiulio

The struggle to find healthy, affordable cereals is real. Traditional sugary choices—Cap’n Crunch, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs—are among the cheapest variety. Because of their high content in sugar, their nutritional values are rather closest to a dessert and far from being a substantial breakfast. However, while most people would prefer to add that extra health kick in the mornings, no one wants to break the bank or sacrifice flavor to do so. It is true—most healthy cereals are more expensive than the usual Fruit Loops. However, I am here to prove otherwise. There are some cheaper options that are equally delicious and will keep your pockets happy.

Kashi cereals are among the best for both taste and budget. Of course, be wary of where you purchase these. There is a huge difference in price between a City Convenience and a Star Market. Currently, I am enjoying Kashi’s Organic Blueberry Clusters, with four grams of sugar with each cup versus leading brands veering towards eleven grams per cup. It is equally as sweet without tasting fake, thanks to the dried blueberries! These blueberries, combined with its natural whole oats, should satisfy your morning cravings perfectly. The prices range mostly from $4.50-$6.00 per Kashi box. Yes, Kashi is more expensive than regular, sugary brands, but its value comes from providing a healthier bang for your buck. Relatively, Kashi is already at the middle-range price of cereals in the market, compared to a $9 Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal made with whole grain and sprouted wheat. There is also a plethora of Kashi varieties to choose from, and I encourage you to try them all. My personal favorite is the Organic Island Vanilla made with real vanilla bean that you can see in the bowl.

 Photo: kashi.com

Photo: kashi.com

During my hunt for healthy cereals, I have also discovered the importance of reading nutrition labels. The advertisements on the front cover are more deceiving than they may seem. For Kashi, there is a “Go Lean” line that is supposed to be healthier. Ironically, though, the “Island Vanilla” and “Blueberry Cluster” flavor, which are not part of the “Go Lean” line, are healthier options than the cereals in the “Go Lean” line. This goes also for other brands of cereals that consumers may initially think are healthy. For instance, Kellogg’s “Low Fat Granola with Raisins” flavor may have great fiber and protein content, but the sugar is actually 30% of its calories. Similarly, Raisin Bran is also a chock full of sugar with eighteen grams in a serving. One definite red light that should arise is when the words “low fat” are written across the packaging of the cereal box. More often than not, companies trim down the fat in products but add more sugar to compensate for the flavor. So, while you’re not getting the fat, you’re getting twice the sugar. Labels are key. If something looks healthy enough, take the time to read the label if you feel comfortable with its price. The ideal sugar content should be around five grams or less per serving, while protein and fiber content should be above that.

 Photo: kashi.com

Photo: kashi.com

While Kashi is one brand that provides a relatively better balance between flavor, health, and price, there are other brands out there that do the same. It is all about discovering what works for you and taking the time to make comparisons and discovering what you like. Incorporating healthier cereals into your morning routine will not only leave you feeling energized throughout the day, but your body will also thank you!