Cereal has been a staple in my diet as long as I can remember. As a kid, manufacturers didn’t pretend that kids cereal is healthy, Sugar Smacks and Sugar Pops told you exactly what you were getting! It has become a bit trickier to find a healthy cereal now, marketing leads us to believe that even Apple Jacks is a good choice because it has whole grains. (ignoring the fact that the sugar content is 56% of the dry weight- yikes!!)
I will be using Nu Val scores as often as possible when I post recipes or food facts. What is Nu Val? Festival Foods people are very familiar with it, but here is a quick lesson for those who do not know the system.
An independent firm has scored the nutritional value of pretty much every item that is sold in the supermarket. They are ranked from 1-100, with 100 being the most nutritious. This score is listed on the shelf tag to make it easier for our shoppers to make the healthiest choices. For more info go to http://www.nuval.com/.
Back to cereal- you want to buy Raisin Bran but the score is 26, about average for the mostly unhealthy cereal category, but we could do much better. (the score is low because of high sugar and sodium). Instead, choose Special K with protein with a Nu Val score of 53, throw in some raisins- Nu Val 87 and you have a very nutritious score of 70. It tastes the same but is SO much better for you. Instead of Special K with Red Berries, which scores 24 because of the high sugar and sodium content, buy the Special K High protein and slice up some fresh strawberries (a perfect 100!). Not only have you reduced sugar, you have gained some vitamins that were lost in the dehydrating process and a Nu Val score of 77! Much better for you than the original poor score of 24 with very little effort.Don’t let the packaging fool you, read the labels or look at the Nu Val scores when choosing your cereal.
It’s all about paying attention to what your are eating and making the right choice to get the biggest nutrition bang for your buck! If you don’t have time for health now, plan to make time for illness later.