We all know the old saying, "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper", so surely eating a bowl of breakfast cereal first thing in the morning is sensible, healthy eating?
Having breakfast is the best way to start your day — your body hasn't had any food for several hours and so having something for breakfast gives the energy we need to kick off our day, and most cereals contain some essential vitamins and minerals.
There is also some evidence to suggest that adults and children who eat breakfast regularly are less likely to be overweight than those who don't.
Cereals can be high in fibre, low in fat, sugar and salt as well as being fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals. But there is a huge range and you need to use the label and a bit of common sense to choose wisely. Even the sweetest cereals can contain less than 200 Calories and less than 3g fat per bowl including semi-skimmed milk.
The good news is that nearly all breakfast cereals are really clearly labelled so it makes the choosing easier
Try to go for one that contains whole grains and is lower in salt and sugar and if you choose a no added sugar one — don't add sugar at the table! But it is all about balance — so a bowl of Choco Snaps every now and then won't hurt!
Serve your cereal with a Low fat milk (semi-skimmed, 1% Fat or skimmed milk) — try Soya for an extra nutrient boost or try low-fat yogurt.
Adding Fresh, frozen, tinned or dried fruit all count towards your five daily portions of fruit and veg. Add chunks of apple, berries, or dried fruit to your cereal.
Have Fruit juice alongside — this will count as one of your fruit and veg portions, as long as it's 100% juice. A glass (150ml) of fruit juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day.
Porridge oats contain lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Make your porridge with low fat milk, or water. Add fruit for sweetness and flavour — such as a few dried apricots or a sliced banana or some berries.
Don't forget to watch your portion size — The recommended portion sizes on the label are based on what we should be having (approx. 30g for flakes and 50g for a Muesli) But if you use a big bowl it is easy to have much more and get more calories, salt and sugar than you think. If you weigh out the right amount and then find a container (like a yogurt pot) that measures the same volume you can then keep it in the cereal box for next time — fill the rest of the bowl with fruit!