We're coming up on back-to-school time and while I don't have kids, I sense the season in every store or market I walk into. There are specials on school supplies, packaged cereals, and energy bars. While here at The Kitchn we love to tout the benefits of making your own granola and snacks, most of us have a box of granola bars or cereal for backup in the weekday hustle and bustle. So is there a way to do packaged foods smarter?
The answer is: of course! Like most things, a little awareness goes a long way. The Washington Post wrote about this very thing last week, detailing ways to ensure you're still getting a healthy breakfast even while enjoying it from a box or package.
The verdict? Writer Casey Seidenberg assures readers that eating boxed waffles, cereals and granola bars can still be a healthy option if you look to see that a number of things are present (or not present): try to avoid hydrogenated oils, look for whole-grain flours listed high up on the label, aim for less than 5 grams of sugar and more than 3 grams of fiber.
For me, in addition to the tips Seidenberg discusses, paying attention to serving size is really important. I find a lot of cereals list a serving size of 1/4 cup and I don't know about you, but I eat more than 1/4 cup of cereal at one sitting.
So reading the nutrition labels and becoming aware of what's in the box you're buying is great, but also note how big the serving size is because chances are you'll have to double (or triple) the calories, fat and other nutritional components if you're not adhering strictly to it.
Do you have a favorite healthy packaged breakfast food?
(Images: Megan Gordon)