Consumer Reports: Picking a healthy breakfast cereal

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Cereal, that old, familiar breakfast staple gets a bad rap. (WLS)

Cereal, that old, familiar breakfast staple gets a bad rap; as a poor choice for being too low in protein, too high in sugars and too processed to be healthful. Although that's true of many breakfast cereals, Consumer Reports says plenty are nutritious and they have some tips on how to pick a good one.

Breakfast, in a bowl. It's a quick, convenient way to get many essential nutrients all at once.

"It's best if you can hit four main things. A protein, a complex carbohydrate, a dairy and a fruit. And the nice thing about cereal is, it's a quick and easy way to get all those things if you throw in a sliced banana or something like that," said Catherine Roberts of Consumer Reports.

The health and nutrition team at Consumer Reports, says choosing the right cereal is key.

Start, with a whole grain. 100% whole grain is best -- but at the very least, find one with a whole grain as the first ingredient.

"Whole grains have been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. And another benefit is that they're going to fill you up, so you're not going to get that mid-morning hunger attack," said Maxine Siegel of Consumer Reports.

Next, suss out the sugars. If you really want a sweetened cereal, choose one with no more than eight grams of sugar per serving.

You also need to pay attention to protein. It may help keep blood sugar steady and helps with weight control.

"Cereal usually has a few grams of protein, but if you add cow's milk or yogurt, you're going to get a decent amount of protein," Siegel said.

Finally, watch your portions. People often pour more than they realize. So grab your favorite bowl and measure out a serving so you recognize what a proper portion really is.

A few good picks? Post Shredded Wheat, Alpen Muesli No Sugar Added and, if you want something a little sweeter, Cheerios Multi-Grain. All three performed well for taste and nutrition, in a recent Consumer Reports Analysis.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumerreports.org

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