Canyon Ranch Blog

Healthy Cereal Choices to Start Your Day

If you begin your day with a bowl of healthy cereal, your diet is likely off to a good start. People who regularly eat cereal tend to consume more calcium and fiber and have an overall healthier diet than those who don’t; they also have a lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Of course, there’s a wide range of cereals on the market. While many are health heroes, others contain as much sugar as you’d find in a donut. Read on as we reveal the pros and cons of the five major types of cereals you’ll find at your supermarket:

Wheat
Pro: People who consume the most whole wheat have less inflammation, and eating whole wheat can decrease the risk of conditions like gall stones, constipation, diverticulitis and gas. Wheat cereals are generally high in fiber, as long as they’re not made with refined (white) wheat.

Con: Wheat cereals can still be loaded with sugar. They also contain gluten, which means you should avoid them if you have celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten.

Bottom Line: Look for cereals with six or fewer grams of sugar per serving and “whole wheat,” “whole grain wheat,” “100% wheat” or “wheat bran” at the top of the ingredients list (packaging claims can be deceiving, so look closely).

Corn
Pro: Many corn-based cereals are gluten-free, making them a smart choice for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Note, though, that some include gluten-containing ingredients, or are not made in a dedicated gluten-free facility.

Con: They’re relatively low in fiber, and can be heavily sweetened.

Bottom Line: Opt for low-sugar corn-based cereals such as flakes or puffs. Try mixing them with a high-fiber cereal to up your bowl’s ability to keep you feeling satisfied long past breakfast. Corn is usually genetically modified, but if you’re concerned about this, you can now find organic, whole-grain corn flakes from crops that haven’t been altered.

Rice
Pro: Rice-based cereals can be a good choice for people with a high level of food sensitivity (including celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or a wheat allergy), as rice is considered to be a hypoallergenic food. Shop carefully if you have such a concern, however, as other allergenic ingredients may be used in a rice-based cereal.

Con: If made from white rice (as many rice-based cereals are), they are low in fiber. Additionally, there are concerns about arsenic contamination in rice.

Bottom Line: Choose low-sugar rice-based cereals that are made from brown rice—they’re higher in fiber and B vitamins. Limit your intake to one to three servings of rice a week.

Oat
Pro: Eating oats daily can improve heart health, thanks to the cholesterol-lowering fiber beta-glucan. People who eat at least 3 grams of this fiber from oat-based foods every day can expect to lower their total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by up to 10 percent, according to a recent review of studies.

Con: Some oat-based cereals are packed with ingredients that diminish the whole-grain health benefits. Granola, for example, tends to be loaded with oil and sweeteners like sugar and maple syrup.

Bottom Line: Stick with low or no-sugar oat-based options: Muesli, Os and oatmeal are all good choices.

Alternative Whole Grains
Pro: Whole grains help with weight management, keep your gastrointestinal system on track and lower the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Less familiar options are becoming more popular in breakfast cereals: Millet, for example, is particularly high in antioxidants, and quinoa delivers all of the essential amino acids our bodies can’t make on their own.

Con: Cereals made from these grains can be harder to find and pricier than more conventional choices.

Bottom Line: If they’re available to you, give them a try—you may just find a new grain you like and add variety and nutrients to your diet in the process. Some stores carry them in plastic bags rather than boxes, which can be more economical. You can also reheat the whole grain left over from dinner last night and add fresh fruit, cinnamon and nuts to make it a complete breakfast.
More: Quick and Easy Breakfast on the Run

Favorite Winter Foods
Our top winter produce picks and Canyon Ranch recipes to inspire you
Read More
8 Ways to Reach Your Healthy Weight and Stay There
Find out if you’re doing all that you can to achieve your goals
Read More
5 Herbs and Spices for Natural Detoxification
Consider using these herbs, known for their detoxifying properties
Read More
A Guy’s Guide to Healthy Eating Through the Years
Your nutrition plan needs some adjustment as you age. Here’s what to focus on
Read More
3 Things to Know About Supplementation
It’s buyer beware when it comes to bottled nutrients. Here’s how to choose wisely
Read More
Foods You Don’t Have to be Afraid Of
How to enjoy meat, dairy, gluten and more while keeping your health in mind
Read More
There’s Gluten in That?!
Beware—gluten can lurk in places that might not be on your radar
Read More
Eating Healthy When You’re Stressed
When tension runs high, the “how” of your diet is just as important as the “what”
Read More
Canyon Ranch Recipes – Satisfying, Nourishing Cuisine
Each creation is designed to help you live well and delight in the joy of eating
Read More
Book Online or Contact Us
Book Now Contact Us

Questions & Reservations

Tucson, Arizona +1 800 742 9000
Lenox, Massachusetts +1 800 742 9000
Kaplankaya, Turkey
SpaClub®, Las Vegas +1 877 220 2688
Groups: +1 877 862 0583
SpaClub®, At Sea Queen Mary 2: +1 866 860 4662
Oceania Cruises: +1 877 329 1924
Regency Seven Seas: +1 877 329 1924
Celebrity Cruises: +1 844 860 4662