You've decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle and reduce your sugar intake because it just isn't good for you. While that's great news, the sad truth is that sugar is in practically everything we eat. What’s more, breakfast cereals are possibly one of the worst offenders.
The American Heart Association advises that men have no more than 36 grams (9 teaspoons) of added sugar per day, while women should not exceed 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day. A study on 20 popular cereal brands found that the average sugar content was around 19.8 grams (five teaspoons) per serving. That means if you have more than a one-cup serving of cereal for breakfast, you'll have consumed just about all the sugar you should have in an entire day!
But the solution to going sugar free isn't to skip breakfast. After all, breakfast helps kick-start your metabolism for the day, gives you energy, and can even help with weight loss.
Sugar-Free Cereal Options
The problem with most commercially made cereals is that they're often hidden with added sugar. While their first ingredient may be corn or even a very healthy-sounding type of whole grain cereal, it tends to be closely followed by sugar, sometimes in more than one form or name. Take Kellogg's Honey Nut Frosted Flakes, for instance. You'll find sugar, honey, and molasses in its ingredients list.
Avoiding added sugar in packaged cereal can be tricky. Why? Because it can be difficult to determine how much of the total sugar content comes from added sugar and how much is naturally occurring.
The best way to make sure you're actually eating a healthy, sugar-free cereal is to make it yourself — which is precisely what we did at The Cereal School. And we're here to share three ways that you can make old-school cereal the new way too.
Image: Power Hungry
We're asking you to rethink oatmeal — either rolled oats or steel-cut oats, depending on how they're processed — from how you knew it as a child. The oatmeal from your childhood probably came in the form of porridge, served as a hot cereal on a cold winter's morning.
Granted, that's still a healthy cereal option. It’s also delicious when topped with nuts and fresh fruit, or even better if you use whole grain oats instead of quick oats for added fiber. But an oatmeal breakfast can also come in the form of a convenient breakfast bar or cold cereal.
Image: Sugar Free Londoner
Even if you’re not a pro in the kitchen, it’s easy to make granola the old-fashioned way: Mix in some oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and bake. And when you want to shake things up a bit, try using ground flaxseeds or buckwheat groats instead of oats.
Flaxseeds are arguably one of the original superfoods. They contain healthy fats, antioxidants, fiber, and protein. They’re also thought to lower cholesterol and improve heart health and blood sugar levels.
Buckwheat (which is more like a seed such as quinoa rather than a grain) is a great gluten-free source of magnesium, manganese, and phytonutrients. With 1.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams, buckwheat groats can help support a healthy digestive system among many other health benefits.
Serve your new-school granola with warm milk or unsweetened Greek yogurt in the morning, and you'll be ready to face the day.
The Cereal School
With absolutely zero grams of sugar (that's zip, zilch, nada), every bag of The Cereal School breakfast cereal is a guilt-free and gluten-free serve of crunchy happiness. What’s more, it’s made from all-natural non-GMO ingredients, contains no artificial colors or sweeteners, and is loaded with a massive 16 grams of healthy protein, which is an essential nutrient that can lower your risk of many diseases.
To start your mornings right, you can't get any better than a sugar-free cereal that's as sweet as the cereal you loved as a kid but without all the bad-for-you ingredients.
Sugar-Free Breakfast Recipes
Cereals aren't the only way to enjoy a sugar-free breakfast. For those days when you're just feeling like whole grains, you can also rethink other sugar-free and low-carb breakfast ideas. Here are three popular healthy breakfast recipes.
1. Sugar-Free Zucchini Muffins
You read it right. You can have muffins for breakfast. They may look like little bundles of cakey goodness, but that doesn’t mean they have to be laden with sugar. With the right ingredients, muffins make for a healthy and convenient on-the-go breakfast when you're in a hurry.
This sugar-free muffin recipe is loaded with zucchini for extra fiber, but you'll hardly realize you're having vegetables for breakfast. (How's that for a healthy breakfast trifecta? Sugar-free, veggie-filled, and listening to your mom by not skipping breakfast!) You can also make gluten-free and low-carb variations.
Like almost any other type of muffins, these fluffy treats are best eaten straight out of the oven. That said, they’re still scrumptious the next day. Try baking these on a Sunday afternoon and parse them out for a quick breakfast option during the week.
2. Mango Coconut Chia Pudding
Image: The Healthy Maven
Since we’re calling this a pudding recipe, we know it looks and sounds like dessert, but trust us, it’s not just a sweet finish to your meal. (Although we won't blame you if you want to have some after dinner too). Chia seeds pack a remarkable amount of nutrients and give you plenty of energy to last the day — exactly what breakfast should do.
Vegan, gluten-free, and with no sugar added, this recipe requires some pre-planning, but we assure you that the results will be worth it. It only takes two minutes to mix all three ingredients together, but you'll need to refrigerate it for at least six hours to give the chia seeds a chance to absorb the liquid so that it resembles a pudding.
Chia seeds are packed full of healthy fats, fiber, and protein, which will keep you feeling full longer. Pop the mixture in the fridge before you go to bed for the night, and enjoy it the next morning. Every single mouthful will remind you of a tropical vacation by the beach. (You could stick a cocktail umbrella in it for good measure. We won't judge.)
3. Keto Avocado Smoothie With Coconut Milk, Ginger, and Turmeric
Image: Low Carb Maven
Yes, you can drink your breakfast — and we don't mean coffee! Perfect for breakfast on the run (to work, not from the law), this smoothie recipe is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds thanks to the ginger and turmeric. And just when you think it can't get any better, it's also paleo and dairy-free.
The avocado gives this smoothie a thick, creamy consistency, while also providing plenty of healthy fats. If you're not a big fan of coconut milk, you can just use unsweetened almond milk instead.
Rethink Sugar-Free Breakfast
When you want to take a break from the same old routine, there’s no reason that sugar-free breakfast can’t be exciting. There are plenty of bright and fun ways to enjoy breakfast — all it takes is a little bit of creative thinking outside the (cereal) box.
Whether your first meal of the day comes in the form of grain-free granolas, smoothies, or sugar-free cereals, it all comes down to the ingredients. What may sound like a dessert or sweet treat can in fact be a healthy, sugar-free breakfast option that’s good for you. (Hello, Cereal School!) For even more breakfast inspo, don’t miss the ultimate guide to breakfast so you always make the most of your morning.