Not all grains and cereals are created equally, at least not in the aisles of the market. There’s a tendency to think it’s vegetarian, it grows in the ground, it’s healthy, but there is a wide range available and some are better for you than others.
For starters, whole grain varieties are healthier. I prefer whole wheat, multi grain, and oat bran, but you may prefer rye, oat, millet, or cracked wheat, so experiment. We all have different tastes. For pasta I go with whole wheat, but had to try several varieties until I found one I love. For bread, English muffins, etc. the same rules apply, except skip “wheat bread” and go with “whole wheat bread.” Wheat bread has a mixture of whole and white wheat flour. I also look at the label of breads and like 2+ grams of fiber in each slice. Reduced calorie wheat bread is good if you are trying to lose weight. The one we buy is only 35 calories a slice and everyone loves it, including the kids.
Look at cereal labels very closely. Some contain added sugar, sometimes a lot. I prefer to sweeten afterwards if at all, with fruit or with a little brown sugar, but 6 or 7 grams of sugar per serving is not bad. Some cereals actually have most of their calories coming from sugar! If the kids or anyone else insist on these, “cut” them with something healthier.
I buy dry cereal for the kids, but prefer hot cereal for myself. We usually mix the dry cereal with lowfat or skim milk.Also check the fiber content, fat content, and serving size of cereals. I prefer 2+ grams of fiber per serving just as with breads. Fat content should be low in most cereals with one big exception, granola and others than add seeds, nuts, oils, or coconut to the mix. If fat content is high eat these sparingly. What is the serving size? Some cereals are so dense, again granola comes to mind, that serving sizes may be minuscule. If you eat a serving that is three to four times the size of a normal serving, that will have three to four times the calories! For a lumberjack that may be great, but for most of us we don’t need or want those extra calories.