Vitality

On a Diet? Cereal Doesn't Have to Be Taboo

Cereals have become breakfast -- and sometimes dinner -- favorites for the obvious reasons: Ease of prep and consumption.  Pour it in a bowl, followed by the milk or nondairy alternative, and tada, your meal is served.  The problem, however, is that many of these are loaded with sugar, making them more deserving to be in the candy or bakery aisle than in the cereal aisle.  And that's not helpful if you are following certain diets.

That does not mean that you should ditch cereals altogether. In fact, the right ones can be nutritious enough to be a good meal. Nutritious cereals are good sources of protein, fiber and some vitamins and minerals (especially among fortified ones) that will help boost your required daily intake.

 The following healthy options were shared by Men's Health:

Alpen No Added Sugar Muesli 

A muesli is a Swiss-style cereal that contains oats, dried fruit and nuts. This muesli from Alpen, in particular, contains no added sugar, allowing the nutrients present to shine. For more protein, you can even add this to a bowl of Greek yogurt. 

Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins 

These crunchy and not-too-sweet whole-grain oat and corn pillows from Barbara's all have a delicious peanut butter taste. And by peanut butter, the manufacturer meant organic peanut butter. For a more nutritious meal, you can top your bowl with chopped nuts or seeds and a handful of berries. 

OH-mazing Original Recipe Granola 

This flavorful granola's ingredients list is all organic: rolled oats, butter, organic cane sugar, organic pumpkin seeds, organic agave sugar, organic flaxseeds, vanilla and cinnamon. 

Kashi Go Lean Cinnamon Crisp Cereal 

Ample amounts of warming cinnamon give flavor to these crunchy flakes from Kashi, which are made of fiber-rich whole grains and protein-loaded soy. 

Kind Dark Chocolate Whole Grain Clusters 

These dark-chocolate-flavored, protein-fortified whole grain chunks will make people think that you are eating desserts first thing in the morning. These have enough protein to keep your appetite in check. Furthermore, research has shown that eating buckwheat, millet and other cereal grains that you will find in each bag keeps your waistline in line.

Love Grown Power O's 

These crunchy O's are made not of grains, but by a trio of legumes: navy beans, lentils and chickpeas, all of which are nutritional heavyweights. The original flavor in particular contains no sugar and does not turn soggy when swimming in milk. 

These cereals are also good as protein bar alternatives as part of your post-workout ritual. Researchers at the University of Texas found that a carb- and protein-rich bowl of cereal and low-fat milk can kick-start post-training muscle recovery. 

Seven Sunday's Banana Berry Chia Grain-Free Muesli

This paleo-friendly, added-sugar-free muesli is loaded with nutritional superstars including almonds, dried cherries and sunflower and  chia seeds. One study found that consuming more protein from nutrient-dense nuts and seeds slashes heart disease risk by up to 40 percent. It can be soaked in almond or cashew milk for a quick morning meal.

Kashi Organic Autumn Wheat 

This cereal is made using only three organic ingredients: shredded wheat, 7 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber.

Thrive Market Organic Coconut Flakes

These flakes are made with coconut meat, which is high in fiber (5 grams per serving) and good fats. You can try them with chopped bananas and mangoes on top.

Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal 

Food for Life offers pretty good crunchy cereals. Its almond-flavored version is high both in protein (8 grams per serving) and fiber (6 grams per serving).

Cereal Cereal high in whole grains and fiber can lower your risk for premature death. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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