Cereal + Dairy = Powerful Nutrient Combination

Today is National Cereal Day which is celebrated annually on March 7th. I LOVE this classic breakfast food and have had intense cravings for cereal all throughout my current pregnancy, so I found it only fitting to write about this topic.

It is also fitting that National Cereal Day falls within National School Breakfast Week. This is a week long celebration is meant to not only recognize the healthy and delicious breakfast available to students at schools who participate in the National School Breakfast Program but to also encourage more students to eat breakfast at school. Breakfast breaks the overnight fast and provides the energy we need to jump start each day. Additionally, studies show that students who eat breakfast have better attendance in school, improved test scores and are less likely to be overweight.

With the vast variety of cereal on the shelf, venturing down the cereal aisle at the grocery store can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to choosing a healthy option for ourselves and our family. Taste is certainly a factor to consider, but since cereal is typically eaten for breakfast, we want it to provide our bodies with energy and key nutrients we need to start each day. Choose whole grain cereals with 5g or more of fiber per serving. Fiber will keep you fuller throughout the morning hours. Also choose cereals with limited amounts of added sugar. You can always use fresh or dried fruit to sweeten cereal. And of course, we cannot forget the health benefits of dairy! Whether it’s milk poured over cold cereal, oatmeal made with milk, or yogurt paired with granola, you create a powerful nutrient combination of fiber, protein, calcium, and Vitamin D when dairy and cereal are combined. Remember, just 1 cup of milk poured over cereal provides 8 grams of filling, muscle-building protein to keep you satisfied until the lunch hour. That’s more protein than 1 egg!

Bored of your usual milk and cereal option? Check out some of these delicious, healthy cereal recipes to jump start your day and keep you energized through the morning hours.

Southeast Dairy Association - Stephanie YowStephanie H. Yow, MS, RD, CSP, LD