Are whole grain, low sugar cold cereals considered healthy? What should I keep in mind when choosing a cold cereal?
It depends on who you ask! If you ask the corporate manufacturers of processed sugary cold cereals, they’ll tell you they’re great. As a matter of fact, massive new advertising campaigns are underway, directed towards children. If you ask one of the doctors advocating higher protein and low-carb diets, they’ll say avoid them. Personally, I avoid corporate advertising and diet fads!
My Joy of Weight Loss Food Plan is designed to enable people to eat absolutely anything in moderation with God’s help and in consultation with a really good doctor. Since you wrote and asked me, I’ll tell you what I eat. I prefer real, whole, fresh foods when possible. I go for quality, not quantity. Cereal, if it’s whole grain, fresh, and without added sugar is excellent. It gives me a good start to the day.
I occasionally have cold cereal for breakfast, once or twice a week. I choose whole grains, and no/low sugar (preferably no added sugar at all). I like to have a serving of whole grain granola with nuts and raisins, and some kind of whole grain "square" or "flake" cereal. Odd, perhaps, but shapes and flavor are very important to me. I also put a half a serving of non-fat milk over it.
As for your question, "Is it healthy?," I am of the opinion, backed up by hundreds of specialists who developed the USDA Food Pyramid that whole grain cereals with little or no sugar are healthy, when counted within an overall food plan. That means you should have the right number of carbohydrate servings (preferably whole grain and no/low sugar) per day. Choose little or no processing; buy from a health food store, whole, or natural foods store. If you like cold cereal, have it! Just don’t have too much. Besides, "real" cereal tastes better.
If you cannot get fresh, whole cereal, then a boxed cereal could be fine, too, just carefully read the ingredients – and go for the ones that use whole grains and little or no added sugar. There are a few that I love (but cannot mention the names here!) but I don’t have them on a daily basis, just occasionally.