Breakfast Cereals - Ingredients, Types and Nutrition
Breakfast cereals, muesli, cereal flakes or cornflakes – consumers use very different terms when talking about cereals. The diversity in the name itself reflects the diversity of the products. The general term cereals, or breakfast cereals, is understood to mean the entirety of cereals, cornflakes and other crispy cereal products. Its name derives from the Roman goddess of agriculture Ceres. The word “cereals” means grains or products of cereals.
Cereals are popular in many parts of the world for breakfast and snacks. The origin of this breakfast goes back over 100 years. At the end of the 19th century, cereal-based foods were introduced. Around 1900, the American physician John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will Keith Kellogg made the first wheat flakes – and later corn – to offer the guests of their sanatorium a vegetarian, low-fat breakfast. The recipe was simple: cooked wheat was rolled out and the resulting flakes dried. At the same time, the Swiss physician Maximillian Oskar Bircher-Benner developed the Bircher muesli, named after him, from oatmeal, apples, nuts, lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk.
The variations in cereals are very diverse. Some mueslis, for example, bear the essential ingredient in the name, such as fruits, nuts or chocolate, while the crunchy muesli is named after the consistency resulting from the manufacturing process.
Classic Muesli (fruit, nut, chocolate muesli)
Cereal flakes form the basis for classic mueslis. For this, the grain is steamed and rolled into flakes. The kernigen large leaf flakes in the muesli arise when rolling out the whole grains, the small-leaved delicate flakes are obtained when the grains are cut before rolling into small pieces – in the so-called grits.
For cereals, the manufacturers use tender and robust flakes of oats, wheat, barley, rye, as well as millet or spelled. In addition, cereals contain dried fruits, such as berries or apples, oilseeds such as nuts or flaxseed, or puffed or roasted cereals, as well as chocolate and yoghurt chips.
For fruit muesli, the focus is on dried fruit, z. Berries, apples or exotic fruits. Hazelnuts or walnuts, almonds or cashews and other nuts are used in nut muesli.
Crunchy cereals are made from cereal flakes, often from oat or wheat flakes. The flakes are mixed with other ingredients and baked afterwards. In this way, the characteristic taste and the crispy consistency that gives this muesli its name. The crispy pieces have a different size depending on the manufacturer or type of cereal. Crispy cereals are often refined with nuts, fruits or chocolate.
Flakes and other crunchy cereal products
The crispy cereal products differ in their tastes and shapes as well as in their used cereals, manufacturing processes and ingredients. For example, there are products made from corn, oats and wheat, but also rice, millet or spelled. During processing, the grain is rolled, roasted, baked, puffed, extruded or shredded. For example, nuts, dried fruits, honey and chocolate are used as ingredients.
The most famous and oldest cereals are corn flakes made from corn. Today, other cereals, such as wheat or rice, are processed into flakes in addition to corn.
Flakes can be produced in two ways: in the conventional process, the grains are roughly crushed. The result is the so-called grits, which are cooked with malt, sugar and salt and then rolled into small flakes and roasted. Flakes can also be made by extrusion. In this process, a cereal dough is cooked which is forced under pressure through an extruder (“extruded cereals”).
Flakes, rings and pillows in different shapes and flavors are called extruded cereals.
In the production by extrusion, coarse cereal flour (semolina) is boiled with water. Under pressure, the resulting dough is pressed through a compacting screw – the extruder Matrices allow the dough pieces to be shaped differently. Upon exiting the extruder, the water evaporates, the product solidifies and is finally roasted. Depending on the variety, these cereals are still coated with ingredients such as cocoa, sugar, honey or nuts. Some products also contain cream fillings in certain flavors. The ingredients give the products flavor, texture and appearance that the consumer expects.
Small puffed crunchy balls are created when whole cereal grains are exposed to hot steam and high pressure. By sudden drop in pressure, the water contained in the grains evaporates and the starch transforms. The grain puffs up. These products can also be coated with other ingredients, such as sugar or cocoa.
Shredded Grains of cereal or a cereal flour dough are shaped into strips and folded over each other in several layers. The resulting “pillows” are then cut and baked.
Ingredients in Cereals
Carbohydrates and Sugar
Cereals provide the body with carbohydrates, fiber and micronutrients, such as vitamin B1 and folic acid and iron and magnesium. Carbohydrates are the most important sources of energy for humans. In order to enable a high performance and concentration ability, especially at breakfast, the first meal of the day, the carbohydrate stores in the body have to be replenished. Breakfast cereals are particularly suitable because of their main ingredient cereals and their high carbohydrate content.
The carbohydrates are divided into three different groups:
- Glucose (glucose) and fructose (fructose) are among the so-called simple sugars. They share the sweet taste. Simple sugars enter the blood stream immediately and are therefore available very quickly in the body.
- Sucrose (table sugar), maltose (malt sugar) or lactose (milk sugar) are – also sweet-tasting – multiple sugars. They are composed of two or more simple sugars. For example, table sugar consists of fructose and glucose. Multiple sugar can be absorbed by the body quickly be broken down into their building blocks and thus reach relatively quickly into the blood and to the brain and muscles.
- Starch, pectin and cellulose are examples of multiple sugars. Due to the longer and branched chains of sugar building blocks in the body, they are broken down more slowly into their individual building blocks. As a result, the blood sugar level rises relatively slowly and continuously, the energy supply is of longer duration. Multiple sugars also differ from single and multiple sugars in that they do not taste sweet.
In the various cereal varieties, the sugar contents are very different due to the diverse ingredients. For more detailed information on this topic please click here.
Whole grains and fiber
The variety in the cereal products is large and in the wide range of cereals there are products with different proportions of whole grains and varying amounts of fiber. Consumers who value whole-grain products will find a wide range of cereal varieties that meet this requirement.
Whole grain content is between 50 and 70 percent for many cereal products, and above that for some products. Many cereal products therefore provide a good wholemeal base in a balanced diet. The average fiber content in the entire cereal range is between 3 and 10 percent. Some product variants have a fiber content of up to 27 percent.
“Whole grain” means that all components of the cereal grain have been processed: the endosperm inside the grain, the surrounding layers and the seedling. Especially seedling and surface layers contain valuable fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. For whole-grain cereals or cereals with a high content of whole-grain cereals, the proportion of fiber is correspondingly higher.
The exact fiber content of the consumer can be found on the nutritional table on the packaging, it is usually given both per 100 grams and per consumption portion. In addition, in the list of ingredients to find out whether a product contains whole grain cereals, usually also the appropriate amount is specified. The consumer can thus decide which cereals best meet his needs.
Vitamins and Minerals
Some cereals, such as oats, have high levels of essential B vitamins. Numerous breakfast cereals are also available with other essential vitamins and minerals, eg. Iron, enriched, which can help consumers. The enrichment of breakfast cereals is based on nutritional science recommendations that breakfast should cover 20 to 25 percent of daily nutritional needs.
Depending on your lifestyle and diet, it may be advisable and convenient for certain groups of consumers to consume fortified cereal products. Enriched and non-enriched products exist on the market. Thus, the consumer benefits from the variety, from which he can select the most suitable product for them.
Breakfast cereals with increased milk intake are a good way to provide adequate calcium intake in children and adults.
Cereals consist of more than 50 percent cereals. The natural fat content of cereals is relatively low, so breakfast cereals also have low fat content. In addition, the fatty substances are natural unsaturated fatty acids, which are important for the cell structure in the body and the blood lipid levels and cholesterol levels favorably influence. Many cereal products contain, in addition to the grain ingredients with a higher fat content, such as. As nuts, oilseeds or chocolate. The production process of baking, such as crispy mueslis, leads to a higher fat content.
The contribution of a portion of cereals to milk at this benchmark is between 3 and 13 percent. The comparison with other breakfast variants shows that a portion of cereals tends to have a lower fat content:
A serving of crunchy muesli (45 grams) with low-fat milk (125 ml) – one of the higher fat cereal products – contains 9.3 grams less fat than half a white flour bun with butter and jam (12 grams fat) or a slice of whole wheat bread with butter and meat sausage (21 grams of fat).
The difference in cornflakes or fruit cereals is clearer: a portion of cornflakes (30 grams) with low-fat milk contains 2.3 grams of fat, a portion of fruit muesli (45 grams) with low-fat milk 5 grams of fat.
If you want to pay special attention to the fat content of your morning cereal portion, you can further reduce the fat intake by using fat-reduced milk (1.5%) or reduced-fat yoghurt instead of whole milk products (with 3.5% fat).
Cereals have a rather low salt content. All cereal products remain in salinity below 1 gram per 100 grams of product.
A high density of nutrients but not calories
Breakfast cereals are nutrient-dense foods, but they have a low calorific value, ie low-calorie content. They thus make a significant contribution to the daily intake of vital nutrients.
On average, a cereal portion with milk contains between 170 and 260 kilocalories. Thus, the cereal portion contributes to less than 15 percent of the recommended daily calorie intake of 2000 kcal*. Given that breakfast is an important daily meal and should provide around 20 to 25 percent of the energy and nutrients, the proportion of cereals – averaging less than 15 percent of the energy reference – is within a nutritionally acceptable range. As with nutrients, calorific value varies depending on the product type and ingredients.
*The value based on the average needs of an adult woman, variations due to age, weight and physical activity are not taken into account.
Why is it necessary to include cereals in our breakfast?
If you consume grains in a balanced way, you will see a huge improvement in your health.
- Cereals are rich in vitamins and minerals, both for adults and children.
- Cereals bring us energy, so they are perfect for starting the day.
- They are part of a balanced and healthy diet. Properly consumed, they allow us to regulate our weight.
- They are rich in carbohydrates and proteins .
- They are rich in fiber, and are therefore ideal for avoiding constipation.
- Cereals allow us to balance the level of sugar in the blood.
- They take care of our intestinal health and treat our digestive and stomach problems.
- Avoid cereals that contain dyes. They are attractive for children but are not recommended.
- Avoid anything that is rich in sugar.
Many are accompanied by dehydrated fruit, chocolate or even dried fruit. If you want to lose weight, you know that these cereals are not the most recommended. “Muesli” cereals, for example, usually have a fairly high calorie intake, so it is best to eat them with balance.
- Chocolate or honey cereals usually contain too much sugar.
The best cereals for your breakfast
When you get up in the morning, your body needs nutrients and energy to cope with the day ahead, as you spent between 6 and 8 without eating.
What are the best cereals to include in our breakfast?
1. The Complete Rye
Rye is one of the best grains we can eat.
We recommend for example a good slice of rye bread spread with jam with plum, orange or blueberry (always without sugar). Combined with a natural juice or an infusion, it makes a breakfast as nutritious as satiating.
Rye provides us with a type of dietary fiber with very few calories and a lot more fiber than whole wheat.
It is rich in vitamin A and folic acid.
Rye is ideal for purifying our blood and reducing bad cholesterol.
Buckwheat is rich in linoleic acid (omega-3), minerals such as iron or copper, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and folic acid.
This cereal is best known for its high magnesium content, which is essential for the correct assimilation of calcium.
Buckwheat is also a liver protector, which helps the liver synthesize vitamins.
This cereal activates our metabolism to burn fat, eliminate toxins and regulate the level of glucose in the blood.
Buckwheat helps us reduce bad cholesterol.
This cereal is present in many types of breads. You can find it in natural stores and cook it in the same way as oats.
This super food can not be missed in our diet, because it is very recommended for breakfast, accompanied for example by pieces of apple, strawberries or grapes.
Oats are rich in vitamins and amino acids to take care of our liver and heart.
It is very rich in fiber, which promotes intestinal transit and avoid constipation.
The oatmeal is suitable for diabetics.
It has a high protein index, perfect for regenerating our tissues.
Oats are rich in iodine, which allows us to take care of our thyroid.
Remember that oats are great for fighting bad cholesterol.
You can prepare your taste buds with the delicious taste of barley with fruits , you will love!
Barley is one of the best cereals to completely reduce bad cholesterol. You will have to consume it throughout a month and always at breakfast.
The healthiest barley is whole or pearled barley. You’ll find it easily in stores and it’s as healthy and tasty.