8 New Healthy Cereals, Rated By Nutritionists
Vanilla & Himalayan Pink Salt Keto Granola, £7.50 | Keto Hana
Made with just nuts, seeds, natural flavouring like vanilla extract and either coconut oil or butter, these clean, low-carb and high-fat granolas get the nutritionists’ vote. “There is very little processing here, which is ideal,” says Sarah. “The ingredients are either left raw or gently baked, so the nutritional value isn’t interfered with. The cereals are also free from preservatives, which can be disruptive to the gut microbiome.” However, if you are on a low-fat diet, Clarissa says this granola is best avoided. “There’s 16g of fat per 30g bowl, which is a small portion. Consider using it as a sprinkle on yoghurt rather than eating a whole bowl if you’re watching your fat intake.”
Protein Cereal Cinnamon, £5.50 (was £6.50) | Surreal
Surreal’s high-protein versions are a good alternative to other traditional wheat-based hoops. “Traditional cereals are typically low in protein and high in refined carbs, so by making the swap, you’ll be setting your blood sugar up for the day,” says nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr. “The protein here comes from soya and pea protein – good-quality sources – and natural sweeteners such as stevia and erythritol are nutritionally sound, too.” Surreal’s cereals also contain inulin, which is naturally sweet and is a good source of fibre for your gut. “Just keep an eye on portion size,” says Clarissa. “Sugar alcohols such as erythritol can cause bloating and gas for those with IBS.” Sarah Henderson, nutritional therapist, also points out that the frosted version contains sucralose. “Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that’s best avoided,” she adds.
High Protein Cereal Vanilla 250g, £7 | Eleat
Ideal for those looking for a nutritionally balanced start to the day, each bowl of Eleat contains 12.5g of protein, 10.5g of fibre and just 1g of sugar. All four flavours are free from gluten and suitable for vegans, too. “Eleat offers a complete source of protein,” adds Sarah. “It uses a unique blend of plant protein from soy and sunflower and contains all nine essential amino acids that can’t be made by the body. The cereal is sweetened with stevia, a natural sweetener, and contains rosemary extract, which is an antioxidant and keeps the product fresher for longer. However, steer clear of the strawberry flavour – it contains maltodextrin, which can spike blood sugar and offers no nutritional value.”
Plant Powered Choc Protein Cereal, £15 For 2 Packs | Misfits
“With a decent amount of protein per serving – around 15g – this could be a good way to start the day,” Clarissa continues. “And despite the sweet-sounding flavours, like cookies and cream, it’s very low in sugar, with less than 2g per 100g. This combination is ideal for first thing in the morning – it’ll balance your blood sugar and keep you full. However, the sugar has been replaced with sucralose, a controversial sweetener. Sucralose isn’t good for the gut – it can negatively impact the microbiome and in some people, can cause diarrhoea. It also contains tapioca starch, which has very little nutritional value.”
Chocolate Granola Breakfast, £4.99 | Raw Gorilla
Unrefined and unprocessed, Raw Gorilla’s cereals and granolas get both nutritionists’ seal of approval. “This brand has some impressive credentials,” says Sarah. “Firstly, the ingredients are 100% organic. The products have also been optimised by adding superfoods like lucuma, maca and raw cacao, and activated buckwheat seeds, which are high in protein and fibre, are used as the base. Plus, all the nuts and seeds in the products are soaked, which activates them for optimal nutrition and absorption.” Each bowl is rich in fibre, healthy fats and complex carbs, but doesn’t contain as much protein as other brands, adds Clarissa. “It’s on the lower side of protein at around 6g per bowl, but this is still a good amount to keep you full.”
Happy Gut Granola, £3.99 | Spoon
Spoon is ideal for those on a gluten-free diet and anyone looking to improve their gut health. “The Happy Gut granola is a great upgrade from a traditional breakfast cereal,” Clarissa tells us. “It’s made with 11 different grains, such as linseeds and amaranth, as well as nuts, seeds and fruit and a science-backed probiotic, and contains nearly 7g of fibre per portion. The granolas are also made with maple honey, which is lower in FODMAPs than honey – a good option for those with IBS. The low-sugar cereals are also great as they contain zero sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners.”
Cherry Bakewell Granola, £5.99 | Cheeky Nibble
“This brand will appeal to those who are vegan, gluten-free and nut-free, as well as those who are eco conscious – the packaging is 100% compostable,” continues Clarissa. “When scored, less than 5ppm of gluten was present in samples, making it safe for those with both a gluten intolerance and coeliac disease.” The flavours are inspired by nostalgic British desserts – think Victoria sponge, banoffee pie and cherry Bakewell – which also means they are high in sugar, Clarissa adds. “Up to a quarter of some of the flavours are pure sugar, which means it should be eaten in moderation. To keep blood sugar stable, also try serving it with a generous portion of yoghurt for protein and healthy fat, and you can even stir protein powder into the yoghurt.”
Super Hoops Cinnamon, £18.99 For 4 Packs | Brave
Rich in quality protein and made without grain or sugar, this crunchy cereal provides a balanced start to the day. “With 12g of protein, 5g of fibre and 14g of carbs per serving, this cereal won’t spike blood sugar and will keep you fuller for longer,” says Clarissa. “The protein here comes from pea protein and chickpea flour, plus it has a blend of fibre added in with pea and chicory, which will support gut health and bowel function. I also like the fact it uses spices like cinnamon for natural sweetness.” Both flavours – cinnamon and vanilla – are also made with cassava root, a vegetable that’s rich in vitamin C and several B vitamins, helping with energy and immunity.
Here, the experts share their tips for choosing a nutritionally balanced cereal…
Find A Balanced Blend
“Traditional breakfast cereals tend to be loaded with sugar and are low in both fibre and protein, a combination that will send you on a blood sugar rollercoaster. Instead, look for a cereal that is high in protein, low in sugar and rich in fibre – these are the three macronutrients to be looking for. Bonus points if you can find a cereal that contains lots of nuts and seeds, which add additional protein and fats to create a more balanced meal.” – Clarissa
Steer Clear Of Sweeteners
“An overwhelming number of food products that claim to be healthy are made with artificial sweeteners – this means brands can make claims about a cereal being low-sugar whilst still tasting sweet. However, regular consumption of artificial sweeteners has been linked to changes in the gut microbiome and they are something I advise my clients to actively avoid. At the same time, look out for real sugar on an ingredients label, which can be disguised as cane juice, dextrose, isoglucose, jaggery, maltose and barley malt.” – Clarissa
Watch Out For Wheat
“Cereals like Weetabix and All Bran are wheat-based, which may seem like a healthy option, but wheat can irritate the gut and cause bloating. These big-brand cereals also all contain sugar. At the same time, wheat bran contains phytic acid (a natural substance found in wheat), which can prevent the absorption of certain nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. If you enjoy these cereals, enjoy them sparingly and in small amounts.” – Kate Delmar-Morgan, nutritional therapist at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition
Choose Granola Wisely
“Granola is a tricky one as it pretty much always contains added sugar and oil, whether it’s marketed as healthy or not. Commercial granolas often use high amounts of sugar or syrup as well as refined oils, which can cause an imbalance of healthy omega-3 fats within the body. Always choose a granola that includes nuts and seeds and the least amount of added sugar possible.” – Kate
Don’t Fear Carbs
“A cereal that’s lower in carbs will keep blood sugar balanced, but carbs aren’t to be feared, especially if you are very active, pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are choosing a cereal that’s higher in carbs, just be sure to pair it with a source of protein and healthy fats – like full-fat Greek yoghurt, linseeds, chia seeds or a couple of tablespoons of protein powder.” – Sarah
For more information or to book an appointment with one of the experts, visit ClarissaLenherr.com, ION.ac.uk & SarahHendersonNutrition.com.
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