Choosing a low GI breakfast cereal is not always an easy task. There are so many healthy-seeming products on the ever-growing cereal aisle but on further inspection many of these are packed with sugar. Let’s have a look at how to select some tasty low GI breakfast cereals without spending a small fortune.
Basic rules when choosing a Low GI Breakfast Cereal:
- Oats are the lowest GI grain so porridge made with whole oats is a great choice and anything with oats as the main ingredient (first on the list) is going to be a good start.
- Sugar (or honey, syrup, etc) should be absent or at least way down the list. This rules out crunchy cluster-type cereals like Granola – even if made with oats they are packed with sugar. Looking at the ‘carbohydrate of which sugars’ I would steer clear of anything over 20g per 100g.
- Whilst nuts and seeds will bring the GI of a cereal down, raisins, sultantas and especially dates will increase the sugar content and GI so don’t go too mad on these.
- Flakes generally have a relatively high GI so opt for oat-based muesli or Oatibix rather than oat flakes (e.g. optivita) and All Bran rather than Bran Flakes or Sultana Bran.
- Wholegrain and high-fibre cereals are likely to be lower in glycaemic index than the alternatives but this can’t be assumed so check out the other factors too.
Low-GI Breakfast Cereal Selection
There are three types of breakfast cereal that I always have in and (call me strange if you like) I can never just have one cereal in the bowl, I always like a mixture of two different types!
1. Oatibix – I don’t know the actual GI value but with 97% wholegrain oats and just 3.2g sugars per 100g this has to be a good choice. I am only talking about the full-sized bisks though – the Oatibix bites and flakes contain far more sugar (14-20g per 100g!), as do Kellogs Optivita and Nestle Oats and More.
2. All Bran – The GI of All Bran is just 30 and whilst it contains a moderate 17g sugar per 100g it provides a whopping 27g fibre, which helps to bring the GI down. I couldn’t eat it on it’s own though – definitely one to mix with something a little less heavy.
3. Muesli – With so many mueslis on the market choosing the right one is a bit of a minefield. I look for oats first on the list (it’s surprising how many are predominately wheat), sugars below 15g per 100g and fibre above 7g per 100g. This usually means selecting those with plenty of nuts and seeds but not too many raisins or dates. Oh, and I would never pay more than £3 per box – I can’t believe how much some of the gourmet ones cost for the tiniest of packets!
Here are a few Mueslis that meet the Low GI Breakfast Cereal criteria and are available in supermarkets:
- Pertwood Organic Farm Muesli Fruit and Seeds (Approx 2.36 for 650g). This is super tasty, wheat free and has no added sugar or salt. An excellent fibre source (12.6g/100g) and 14.2g sugar per 100g
- Dorset Cereals do a great range of different mueslis and after comparing them all I think the Simply Delicious (12g sugars, 7.4g fibre per 100g) best meets the low GI criteria. No added sugar or salt. Approx £2.62 for 850g.
- Jordans also do a good range but the Nut and Seed Muesli seems to be by far the best option from a GI point of view (12.5g sugars and 8.6g fibre per 100g). I love the big chunks of brazil nut and have to stop myself reaching in for extras! No added salt but does contain added sugar. Approx £2.49 for 675g.
Please let us know if you have found a product that you think meets the Low GI Breakfast Cereal challenge criteria. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found any supermarket-own brand candidates but rest assured I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled and will keep you updated.