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  • Christine Millar

5 Tips for Choosing a Healthy Breakfast

Toasted vs Untoasted? Bircher? Gluten Free? Grain Free? "No added sugar", yet loaded with fruit and honey? How do you make a good choice when faced with all these variations? These 5 tips can help you make healthier choices for your first meal of the day "breakfast" and how to spot the hidden health traps.

1 – Check the Panel

When choosing a breakfast blend always check the nutrition information panel (NIP) and don't be swayed by the front of pack claims alone – despite its healthy image, the ingredients in a muesli or granola can be sugary and kilojoule-dense. The serving size in the nutritional panel should be noted. Is this likely to be the amount you consume? Often to get better numbers on the nutritional panel manufacturer use a small serving size. Something to think about when looking at the sugar per serve.

2 - Don't be fooled by marketing

The problem with marketing claims is that they don't tell the whole story – products claiming "no added sugar" can still be high in sugar and on the flip side, products that are low-fat or contain more than average fibre may not proclaim it. In New Zealand and Australia The Health Star Rating is a good way to compare the nutritional value between various cereal, mueslis and granolas.

3 - Fabulous Fibre

Adults should be eating about 30g of fibre a day, and a high-fibre breakfast cereal such as muesli will often help make up that 30g.

Tips for choosing higher fibre:

  • Foods that contain at least 4g or 7g of dietary fibre are defined as good sources of fibre, so check the NIP.

  • Check the pack, don't rely solely on claims like "good source of fibre" or "high in fibre".

All Something to Crow About Breakfast mueslis are a good source of fibre.

4 – Check the Sugar

While providing many valuable nutrients, dried fruit is also a concentrated form of sugar, so muesli can be full of sugar without it being listed as an ingredient. For example, a muesli might have a "no added sugar" claim, but still contain 25% sugar thanks to its dried fruit content. Or it might genuinely claim "no added refined sugar" but contain dried fruit and honey which is sugar, just in another form.

Tips for choosing lower sugar:

  • Check the ingredients list for added sweetners. It can be disguised as honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, golden syrup or glucose, for example.

  • Watch out for dried fruit in the top three ingredients. Look at the nutrition panel to see the sugar per serve. Remember that 1 teaspoon equals 4 grams.

Something to Crow About use a minimal amount of natural sweeteners in their food. These include either honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar to enhance flavour.

5 - Go Nuts

Look for nutritionally dense breakfast blends that have a high ratio of nuts and seeds. Many packs actually state the total percentage of nuts and seeds included. Nuts and seeds are a source of plant based protein and provide a variety of essential vitamins and minerals to you diet.

Something to Crow About Mueslis average 50% + nuts and seeds, in fact a couple of our flavours have 80%+ nuts and seeds. Learn More>

Image courtesy of Nadia Eaves