What's in your cereal?

 

Look for hidden sugars

 

 

 

Did you know that some cereals that offer wholegrains, protein, vitamins and minerals can contain up to 30% sugar?

That’s almost 3 teaspoons per bowl.

Added sugars are a concentrated source of energy (or kilojoules). In foods that provide no other useful nutrients, these kilojoules can contribute to weight gain if you're not using up the energy.

The best way to avoid storing excess energy is to get active most days and choose quality sources of energy, such as wholegrain cereals with limited added sugar.

Choose wholegrain

Wholegrains

Refined Flour

100% nutrient value

Only 30% of the vitamins and minerals remaining. Less than 50% of the fibre.

Wholegrain contains all three components of the grain to deliver 100% of the grain's nutrient value. When grains are refined some components are removed, meaning up to 70% of the original vitamins and minerals and more than 50% of the fibre is lost. 3.

Refined grains and flour deliver only 30% of the vitamins and minerals and less than 50% of the fibre.

Many of us are not eating enough grains and risk missing out on the nutrients that they offer. Kids should ideally consume at least 4 serves of grain based foods each day 2.

 

How to read food labels

    

 

Although food labels can be difficult and confusing, always look at the ingredients list. The most important thing to know is that the ingredients in the product will always be listed by descending order of weight (largest to smallest).

If the wholegrain ingredient is not listed first, then the product is unlikely to be a very good source of wholegrains. Try to select grain-based foods with at least 40% wholegrain content.
Look for:

  • Whole wheat or whole (other grain)
  • Wholegrain (name)
  • Brown rice and rolled oats.

 

Make brekkie a daily habit

 

Socceroo Tim Cahill knows the importance of breakfast in providing a foundation for the day ahead. But it’s not only elite athletes who recognise the importance of a healthy start, eating a healthy breakfast is linked with improved brain function, attentivenes, social interaction, overall nutrient balance, and energy intake 1.

Weet-Bix contains 97% wholegrain, iron and B vitamins for sustained energy and vitality.

 

 

Eat for energy

 

Your diet provides the energy for your day and your physical activity, as well as important nutrients to help you thrive. Choosing healthy food means you’re getting:

  • Good carbohydrates, providing lasting energy
  • Fibre for your bowels
  • Vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.

Low GI foods provide slow release energy to keep you going for longer.

Did you know that a serve of Weet-Bix with milk is low GI? So, eating Weet-Bix  helps to sustain you through the morning.

 

Healthy brekkie tips

 

While we’d all love to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, sometimes it’s just not possible. Here are a few tips to make sure that you don’t miss out:

  • Set the table the night before with bowls and healthy wholegrain cereals. It makes it easier to get going in the morning
  • Keep a box of cereal at work
  • Store chopped-up fruit in the fridge. It’s great for adding to cereals. If you're in a rush, grab a tub of yoghurt to have with your cereal.
  • In winter, try Weet-Bix with warm milk. Just pour in the milk and place it in the microwave to warm.

 

The goodness of wheat

 

Wheat is the most widely cultivated cereal crop in the world, with Australia being the eighth largest producer and fourth largest exporter of wheat in the world.

Wheat is not only popular, it also boasts a number of key nutrition benefits:

  • Low in fat
  • Contains naturally occurring vitamins and minerals including vitamin e, iron, zinc and magnesium
  • High in potassium
  • Low in salt.

 

References

  1. NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS) 2004, http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/pubs/2006/pdf/spans report.pdf (accessed May 26, 2011).
  2. National Health and Medical Research Council. Food for Health, Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing, 2003.
  3. Wholegrains and their Health Benefits, pg 4, Sanitarium Nutrition Service.
  4. Megan Gressor for Weight Watchers, as part of the Kidspot’s Live Your Best Life initiative.