What Should You Pour on Your Cereal?
Starting out with a healthy cereal is one way to start your day off right, but what you add to it is just as important. Some people swear by skim, while others reach for 2% or whole. Soy milk, almond milk, and rice milk are also becoming more common.
Regular old cow’s milk is available in four levels of fat: whole, 2%, 1% and skim. Each cup (8 oz) provides 8 grams of protein and 30% of your daily calcium needs. It’s also fortified with vitamin D. For children under 2, whole milk is best, but after the age of 2, dietitians recommend low-fat and non-fat milk.
Soy milk has been around for ages, but what’s on the shelves today is a far cry from the chalky stuff you might remember from back in the day. While you definitely wouldn’t mistake it for cow’s milk, today’s varieties go down just as smoothly and pack in much of the same nutrition that. With 7 grams of protein per cup, plus added calcium, vitamin D, and B-vitamins, it’s a great option for vegetarians as well as those with lactose intolerance or milk allergies.
Almond milk has a mild, slightly sweet taste that’s become popular among people who can’t or prefer not to drink cow’s and soy milk. It tends to be lower in calories than cow’s milk and soy milk, but it often contains very little protein. It may be best to pair it with a high-fiber or high-protein cereal.
Rice milk is another easy-to-live-with alternative. It’s a lot thinner than soy milk and has a taste similar to that of almond milk. Just make sure that whatever you’re adding to your cereal is fortified with the calcium and vitamin D you need. It also tends to be low in protein, so consider using it with other filling items.
Yogurt can also be delicious with cereal. One cup of plain non-fat yogurt usually provides about 100-120 calories, 10-13 grams protein, and upwards of 30 percent of your daily calcium needs. It’s also a great source of vitamin D.
A balanced breakfast should include elements of several different food groups. A mix of complex carbohydrates (wheat wheat breads and cereals, for example) and protein (in eggs, meat, or dairy) provides slow-burning energy to power you through the morning. Whole grain cereal with milk or yogurt is a great combo to jump-start your day. Add some fruit for fiber and vitamin C and a sprinkle of nuts if you want to add some healthy fats and you’re good to go!