Cereal is one of the most convenient meals to throw together first thing in the morning. But you really have to watch out because it can be loaded in sugar, fat, and carbs, defeating the purpose of striving to eat healthy altogether.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (we can all agree on this), but finding quick and healthy breakfast dishes is the real challenge.

Here are the top four components to look for in a healthy bowl!

1. Read Between the Lines
Don’t fall for boxes with misleading catch phrases like “low in sugar.” Just because a product is touted as having reduced sugar or fat, that doesn’t mean it’s one of the healthy cereals. Be sure to read the nutritional facts carefully.

2. Look for Whole Grains

Grains should be the first item on the ingredient list–if it isn’t, you probably don’t want it. Look for cereals with whole grains, boasting 7 grams or more of fiber (you should aim to have 25 to 30 grams a day). Here are a few to try: Nature’s Path, Kashi GoLean, Fiber One.

3. Sugar is the Enemy. Choose Low Sugar Cereals
Be careful of sugar. Look for low sugar cereals with 5 grams of sugar per serving or less. Keep in mind that cereal with dried fruit will contain natural sugar and therefore have a higher amount. Worst offenders? Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks.lump-sugar-549096_640

4. Steer Clear of Saturated Fats
Cholesterol-boosting saturated fats don’t belong in your breakfast! Keep your eyes peeled-don’t pick up any boxes with more than 2 grams of saturated fat, and you definitely don’t want anything with trans fats. According to the American Heart Association, trans fats should make up less than 1 percent of your total daily calories (that’s less than 2 grams a day).

SOURCE: Shape.com

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