I received some great cereals to trial from Attune Foods from fellow Boston foodie blogger/RD Janel Funk (from Eat Well with Janel) who is their Nutrition Ambassador. Attune produces a line of whole grain and organic cereals, including gluten-free varieties. I was most interested in two brands that have superstar nutrition profiles with really short, natural ingredients lists: Uncle Sam Original, which contains whole wheat kernels, whole flaxseeds, salt and barley malt...and Erewhon Raisin Bran, which contains organic wheat kernels, organic raisins, sea salt and barley malt. Both cereals have less than 200 calories per cup with 6-7 grams protein and 6-10 grams fiber. The raisin bran has 8 grams sugar and 115 mg sodium per serving (compare that with 18 grams sugar and 250 mg sodium in 1 cup of Kellogg's Raisin Bran). Uncle Sam has less than 1 gram sugar and 135 mg sodium. Of course the most important factor is taste, and truly honestly I LOVED these cereals. You'd think a whole grain low-sugar, lower-sodium cereal would mean "bleh!" but the hearty crispy/crunchy texture of the wheat kernals totally satisfied...really!
What I love about food products like these is that they allow you to add flavor as needed but you start with a healthful base. If you want more sweetness, you can add extra fresh or dried fruit, a drizzle of honey, or vanilla soy or almond milk. So many cereals are loaded with salt and sugar that people who have strict medical conditions have to avoid them completely. As a clinical dietitian, I would recommend these to people on sodium restrictions or who need to eat diets lower in refined carbohydrates and higher in whole grains. The only downside is that these varieties are a bit tricky to find. I saw Uncle Sam's at Trader Joe's and the Erewhon Raisin Bran at Whole Foods but not more traditional supermarkets; you can also purchase them from Attune's online store or Amazon.com.
ALSO, a quick note about an upcoming evening nutrition workshop taking place at Healthy Habits Kitchen on Thursday Sept 13 entitled "Raising a Healthy Eater" hosted by two local registered dietitians from Honest Mom Nutrition. The $25 fee includes dinner and a $10 credit towards any HHK meals purchased. You will learn how to choose foods for a balanced diet for all ages and how to create a healthy family food culture. You’ll leave with several handouts and tips to start making changes right away! Registration is required.