16 Mar 2018

Is breakfast cereal making me fat? 5 best options to start your day right.

For a long time now we’ve known a good breakfast is important in a balanced diet. But with so many options, how do you sort out the good from the bad? Read on to answer: “is breakfast cereal making me fat?” plus 5 best options to start your day right!

Is breakfast cereal making me fat? 

Not necessarily, but if you are thinking of quitting sugar then you’ll need to understand what is in your breakfast cereal. There are several on the market, including many well known that contain a fair amount of added sugar. So, how do you know which cereal contains sugar and how much? Take the time to read the nutrition label (click here for my article on how to read them). The higher up the word sugar is on the ingredient list, than the greater the added sugar content.

Having said that, not all sugar is bad. For instance, cereal containing fruit will have naturally occurring sugar known as fructose. Fructose has copped a bad rap because of the over consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in some food and drinks. However, when consumed from fruit as recommended, fructose is perfectly ok. For most heathy individuals and even those with diabetes, fruit can be consumed as part of a balanced diet. [1]  

Be mindful too of sulphites listed in the ingredients, which can be used as a preservative of fruit. For some people, it can be an allergen. They may also appear as number such as “220” and “223” so be cautious. (Click here to see which numbers represent sulphites)

Still unsure? An option I like is some rolled oats with some fresh fruits such as berries. Add a splash of milk (dairy or plant – see below) for a low-GI meal giving sustained energy throughout the morning. Not everything is about breakfast cereal though and there are many other ways to feel satisfied in the morning.

Cow-spiracy theories.

Unless you have chosen not to consume animal products for ethical reasons, Australian guidelines recommend that you include dairy in your diet. With people living longer and longer, our body needs calcium to keep bone calcium deposits strong! Calcium also maintains heart and nerve function.

Including a low-fat dairy option in the morning such as yogurt or milk is simple and quick. Dairy contains several nutrients including B group vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus and calcium. Dairy also contains protein which helps to keep you feeling full so you are less likely to crave snacks. You will want a low-fat option as diary can be high in saturated fats.

Yes, some people experience a lactose intolerance which can be uncomfortable at best. One reason can be because of the lack of an enzyme to break down the lactose in milk.  To address this problem, the industry has created lactose-free versions of many products which cost little more than regular varieties. You will find these at your local supermarket. Just look for the words “lactose-free” on the front of the package.

For our vegan friends, you may need to consider other sources of calcium. Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and bok choy; Nuts such as almonds and brazil nuts; and certain types of tofu will help you meet your quota. In addition to this, your vitamin B12 may need supplementation. An accredited dietician will be able to advise you further. [2] 

Spread ‘em.

A tasty nut butter or Vegemite on wholesome bread is another great start to the day. Start with some high-fibre, low-GI bread, preferably with whole grains. Then, pick your spread of choice. Nut butters are not only tasty but offer a variety of nutrients and healthy fats. Again, there are many options that don’t need to have any added salt or sugar. Vegemite (or other similar spreads) contain B group vitamins which are important for everyday health.

Modern millennial? Breakfast Cereal heart-breaker?

Well, don’t let the nay-sayers keep you from your smashed avo. Instead of making it about the brunch date, let’s focus on just why it is so good for you. Avocado contains an array of vitamins including C, E, B5, B6 and folic acid. Folic acid, aka folate, protects your heart, your DNA, and if you are considering pregnancy, adequate folate is important to protect your unborn baby. Add some tomatoes for anti-inflammatory properties, and a couple of poached eggs for protein and you are set.

Save money by making it at home and you can indulge more often. Who cares what it looks like, it all comes out the same way. But just to prove it happened, why not post it on Instagram anyway?

Not hungry in the morning?

If you struggle with appetite in the morning there is an option for you. An array of smoothie recipes exists these days, and with blender-to-container models available easily, little planning is required. There are other options on the market too including liquid breakfasts (you know the ones), but again it’s important to be mindful of the ingredients.

Wherever possible it is always best to have a fresh smoothie with ingredients you have thrown in yourself. If you like a sweeter taste, then try coconut water instead of milk or ice. Coconut water can aid in digestion and help you feel less bloated.

Now that you have some different option to mix up your breakfast routine, there is no reason to be skipping this important meal. And yes, there is always someone ready to offer their opinion however the fact is the consensus among experts is that a healthy breakfast is an important start to your day!


While breakfast cereal is just one option for breakfast, Australian guidelines recommend eating a balanced diet of all 5 food groups. For more information or to find an accredited dietician in your area follow the links below. 

[1] https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/myths-facts (Information on diabetes management)

[2]  https://daa.asn.au/find-an-apd/ (Find an accredited dietician in your area. Australia only)




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