Cheerios have been a household staple in the United States since their introduction in 1941.
They are still some of the most popular breakfast cereals on the market and are now available worldwide.
Despite being marketed as nutritious, you might be wondering whether Cheerios are a healthy choice – and how the different strains compare.
This article examines the nutrients, flavors, and cons of Cheerios to help you determine if they are a good fit with your routine.
Cheerios are mainly made from whole grain oats.
Whole grains contain all parts of the grain, so they tend to provide more nutrients than refined grains. In addition, consuming high-fiber whole grains can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease (1).
In addition, Cheerios are low in calories and fat. They also have several essential nutrients that many people don’t get enough of, such as fiber and vitamin D (2, 3).
Notably, 1 cup (28 grams) of Cheerios provides 45% of the Daily Value (DV) of iron, which many people are deficient in. This mineral plays a vital role in transporting oxygen through your body (4, 5).
Keep in mind, however, that many of these nutrients, including iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, are added during processing and are not naturally occurring.
One cup (28 grams) of plain Cheerios without milk provides (4):
- Calories: 100
- Fat: 2 grams
- Carbohydrates: 20 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Sugar: 1 gram
- Protein: 3 grams
- Vitamin A: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin D: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 25% of the DV
- Calcium: 10% of the DV
- Iron: 45% of the DV
- Zinc: 25% of the DV
As you can see, Cheerios are very low in calories and lacking in protein and fat. For these reasons, they alone do not provide a balanced meal.
With 1 cup (244 grams) of 2% cow’s milk, you get an extra 122 calories, 8 grams of protein, and a boost in fat, calcium, and vitamin D (6).
If you choose non-dairy milk, which is usually low in protein, add a handful of pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds to your granola for a plant-based source of protein.
Adding protein to any meal or snack can help make you feel full.
After all, Cheerios are very affordable compared to many other breakfast items.
They are kid friendly
Children aged 8 months and over can safely enjoy Cheerios, but only if they are willing to eat solid foods (7).
They are good finger food for toddlers and do not pose a great risk of suffocation, as they are easily soft when wet.
Cheerios can be a great way to get more whole grains and iron into your child’s diet. Still, it’s important not to rely on them too much. You should try to use plenty of whole foods from each food group to support optimal growth and development.
Cheerios are made primarily from whole grains and contain a variety of important nutrients, including iron, fiber, and vitamin D.
Cheerios come in different flavors. In fact, there are at least 15 varieties – seasonal varieties occasionally appear.
Most are made from whole grain oats, but some varieties contain other grains, added sugars, and additional ingredients.
Some of the most popular Cheerios flavors are:
- Easy. These are the original cheerios and are the simplest option. The first ingredient is oats. They only contain 1 gram of added sugar and no additional flavoring.
- Honey nut. These are one of the best-selling varieties, sweetened with sugar and honey and a hint of almond flavor.
- Chocolate. This variety is made from corn and oats, as well as cocoa powder and sugar.
- Apple Cinnamon. Made primarily from whole grain oats and sugar, this variety also contains applesauce and cinnamon.
- Frosted. These are made from whole grain oats and corn flour and sweetened with a sugar coating with a vanilla flavor.
- Multigrain. This variety combines whole grain oats, corn, and brown rice. It’s sweetened with a little less sugar than other varieties.
- Ancient grains. This variety is sweetened with sugar and is made from whole grain oats, quinoa, and rice.
You may find that many of the flavored Cheerios varieties have added sugar. When trying to cut down on your sugar intake, it is best to limit your intake of the sugary flavors or just go for the simple option.
Cheerios come in many flavors. While most are based on whole grain oats, some contain additional ingredients like added sugar.
While cheerios are generally a nutritious choice, they are short in certain areas.
Very low in protein
Breakfast cereals are often marketed as a complete meal. However, most of them are very low in protein – and Cheerios are no exception.
Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. Including a quality source of protein in every meal is one of the best ways to ensure that you are getting your body’s daily protein needs.
The recommended protein intake is at least 0.36 grams per pound (0.8 grams per kg) of body weight. For someone who weighs 68 kg, this equates to a total of around 55 grams of protein daily (8).
A 1-cup (28 gram) serving of Cheerios with 4 ounces (120 ml) whole or low-fat cow’s milk provides only about 7 grams of protein, most of which comes from the milk.
If you plan to have Cheerios as a meal, consider pairing it with a source of protein such as eggs, Greek yogurt, or scrambled tofu eggs. You can also add a handful of nuts or a spoonful of nut butter to your bowl for protein and healthy fats.
Can package added sugar
Several types of Cheerios contain large amounts of added sugar.
For example, 1 cup (35 grams) of Honey Nut Cheerios contains 12 grams of sugar – a whopping 12 times as much sugar as the simple variety (9).
Excessive sugar consumption is linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. In addition, it can contribute to excessive caloric intake and unhealthy weight gain (10, 11).
The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sugar intake to 9 teaspoons (37.5 grams) for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women (12).
While occasional sugar consumption is unlikely to be harmful, it is a good idea to be careful how much you eat, especially if cheerios are a staple in your diet or you routinely consume more than one serving at a time.
Opting for the simple strain is the best option to keep your sugar intake low.
Cheerios are considered processed foods
Cheerios are a processed grain product, which means that the ingredients used to make Cheerios undergo significant processing to create the final product.
Although Cheerios are made with whole grain oats, which sets them apart from other grains with more refined grains like cornmeal or white rice, many varieties of Cheerios are filled with unhealthy ingredients like cane sugar, corn syrup, and preservatives (13).
In addition, because of the processing that the oats go through to make Cheerios, eating a bowl of Cheerios is not the same as enjoying a bowl of oatmeal.
A study of 30 adults found that consuming Honey Nut Cheerios resulted in a much greater blood sugar and insulin response compared to consuming equal servings of less processed grain products, including steel cut and old-fashioned oats (14).
Although honey-nut cheerios are high in added sugar and are therefore much more likely to raise blood sugar than unsweetened grains, studies have shown that processing whole grains in general significantly affects blood sugar response, with more refined products delivering higher blood sugar and insulin spikes (15, 16, 17).
While the occasional enjoyment of Cheerios won’t harm your health, it’s best to choose less processed options whenever possible, especially if you’ve regularly consumed sweetened varieties of Cheerios.
For example, instead of your morning bowl of honey and nut cheerios, try a bowl of oatmeal with berries and a dollop of natural nut butter.
Cheerios are a low protein, processed grain product and some flavors are high in sugar. You can balance your nutritional intake by adding a source of protein and moderating your consumption of the higher sugars.
Cheerios can be a healthy and nutritious part of almost any diet, but it’s important to balance your diet with other nutrients and exercise in moderation if you prefer the higher sugars.
For more protein, serve your Cheerios with high-protein or non-dairy milk, plus a scoop of nut butter or a handful of nuts. Hard-boiled eggs and omelets are also great accompaniments.
Topping your muesli with berries or sliced fruits can increase your vitamin and mineral intake, while flax flour, hemp seeds, and chia seeds can add fiber and healthy fats.
Just make sure you eat a diverse selection of whole foods throughout the day to meet all of your nutritional needs.
While Cheerios can be part of a healthy diet, you may want to combine them with a source of protein for a more balanced meal. It is best to avoid or limit your intake of high-sugar options.
Cheerios are classic breakfast cereals made from whole grain products. Not only are they low in fat and calories, but they’re affordable and packed full of essential vitamins and minerals.
Cheerios, however, are a processed food, and some flavors are loaded with sugar.
Therefore, you should minimize your intake or choose low-sugar varieties such as simple or multigrain. You can also increase the protein content with nuts or nut butters.
While these breakfast cereals can certainly be part of a healthy diet, you should also consume a variety of whole foods to meet your body’s nutritional needs.
Running 3 Miles a Day: Benefits and Starting Out
No matter where it is on your list of favorite exercises, running is a great way to get in shape and meet fitness goals.
But if you’re not a marathon runner, you’re probably looking for a distance that is achievable without missing that window of effectiveness. 3 miles a day can be considered a nice sweet spot, even for moderate runners.
Here’s a look at the potential benefits of a regular running routine and what 3 miles a day can bring you.
Even if you HATE running, you have to admit that there are some nice benefits to it.
Running is a top class cardiovascular endurance activity. It helps you maintain increased breathing and heart rate for an extended period of time. Over time, this can increase endurance, reduce fatigue, and improve heart and lung function.
Also, there is a chance that running with the Reg can extend your lifespan. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. According to a 2015 study, running for 5 to 10 minutes a day is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death. So making a habit of 3 miles a day can’t hurt if you are able to.
Cardio gets a lot of recognition, but running also offers restorative benefits. It activates a whole host of leg muscles, including your quads, hamstrings, and calves. You will also feel the burning sensation in your buttocks, back and stomach.
You should also consider adding some resistance training to your workout. Research has shown that it can help improve your running performance and reduce your risk of injury. So it should gradually get easier to do your 3 miles every day.
Strengthens the bones (maybe)
Running is a stress exercise, which means it can help bone health. According to a 2019 study, running is more effective than walking for increasing bone density in healthy adults and children. But we definitely need more research to prove this 10/10.
Basically, your 3 miles a day can put real strain on your bones to promote strength.
Running is a super effective way to burn calories. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 154-pound person burns about 295 calories if they jog at 5 mph for 30 minutes. A very general rule is that you are burning around 100 calories per mile. However, the exact amount of calories burned depends on:
All terrain containers affect the amount of calories you burn on your runs. In general, you burn more calories on harder terrain than on clean, flat surfaces due to the amount of energy you have to exert. Your joints and muscles work extra hard to keep your body upright and in balance.
The incline is also very important. According to a 2018 study, walking on an incline promotes peroneal strength, which could help with weaker ankles. You can also burn more calories while walking uphill.
Dwight Schrute says, “If you want to win, you have to fuel up like a winner.” And NGL, Dwight is right. If you stay hydrated and keep track of your diet, you can get the most out of your runs.
Before your run
Try to have a balanced meal 3 to 4 hours before your 5 mile run. The ideal meal should be high in carbohydrates, low in protein, and low in fat. By the way, the ACSM recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water with this meal. But you might want to drink more when it’s super hot outside.
Snack attack: You should have a snack about 30 minutes before your run. Just be sure to keep it small to avoid indigestion or nausea. A banana, peanut butter crackers, or half an energy bar are good choices.
During your run
Studies show that your glycogen stores can be depleted within 1 to 2 hours of running. For longer runs, you should refuel with snacks such as energy drinks, protein bars, energy gels, nuts or dried fruits.
Since your run is 3 miles long, you should have a good idea of how much fuel you are using pretty quickly. But no matter how long your run is, always stay hydrated during your workout. Dehydration is not a joke!
After your run
Post-workout diet is critical to recovery and results. A mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is best. Here are a few delicious examples:
One of the greatest advantages of running is that you don’t need fancy gear. But you still have to equip yourself.
Your ongoing shopping list should include:
Running off the beaten track should always have a way to get in touch with someone in an emergency. To be on the safe side, you should also have a portable GPS tracker and whistle with you. For more information, see our guide to trail running.
SPF PSA: Don’t forget sunscreen (even on cloudy days)!
Running 3 miles in the regatta is a great way to burn calories. It will also help you increase your strength and cardiovascular endurance. Keep in mind that it can take you some time to develop enough stamina to hit the 3 mile mark. So be patient with the process and stick with it. You can do it.
Should You Eat or Avoid Peanut Butter Before Bed?
If you’re craving a midnight snack, peanut butter is a tempting choice because of its rich taste, creamy texture, and sweet and salty taste.
Thanks to its impressive nutritional profile, some health advocates recommend eating peanut butter at night to support muscle growth, stabilize blood sugar levels, and improve the quality of sleep.
However, it is also high in calories per serving, so you might be wondering if consuming this filling food before bed leads to weight gain.
This article explains whether eating peanut butter before bed leads to weight gain.
Peanut butter is a high-calorie food that is high in heart-healthy fats. Just 2 tablespoons (32 grams) provides 204 calories and 16 grams of fat (1, 2).
Therefore, it is a great food item for a healthy balanced diet, but large amounts can increase your daily caloric intake. If you eat more calories during the day than you burn, you can gain weight in the long run (3).
Even so, weight gain depends on many factors including age, height, activity level, health status, and total caloric intake.
In fact, you can eat peanut butter as part of a diet for either weight loss or weight gain, depending on what else you eat during the day.
Peanut butter is high in heart-healthy fats and calories, which means overeating before bed can lead to weight gain.
Research into the relationship between eating late and weight gain has produced mixed results.
Weight gain possible
Some studies suggest that eating large amounts of food late at night interferes with weight loss and increases body weight. However, other factors may also play a role, including overall diet quality, how long you sleep, and other habits such as skipping breakfast (4, 5, 6).
On the flip side, some research suggests that eating at night may not directly lead to weight gain, but may be linked to eating habits and lifestyle behaviors that contribute to weight gain, including increased snacks, skipped breakfast, and decreased dietary diversity (7, 8, 9.). ).
Benefits for muscle growth and metabolism
Interestingly, several studies have found that consuming a healthy snack like peanut butter before bed can have health benefits.
According to one review, consuming a small, high-protein nighttime snack may improve overnight muscle protein synthesis, morning metabolism, and feelings of satiety in healthy men (10).
Another small study of active college-aged men found that consuming a good source of protein before bed increased their metabolism the next morning (11).
Still, specific research on peanut butter is needed.
The results on the effects of eating late at night have been mixed. While this habit may be linked to weight gain, studies also show that having a healthy snack at night can increase fullness, muscle growth, and metabolism, especially in men.
Peanut butter is a good source of many nutrients, including niacin, magnesium, heart-healthy fats, and vitamins B6 and E (1).
Its antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease (12).
It’s also high in protein, containing over 7 grams in every 2-tablespoon (32 grams) serving (1).
Increasing protein intake can reduce food cravings and regulate your appetite. In addition, adequate protein intake supports muscle growth, wound healing, and healthy growth and development (13, 14).
Peanuts are also a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can improve the quality of sleep (15, 16).
Also, your body uses tryptophan to produce compounds like serotonin and melatonin, both of which are also important in regulating sleep (17, 18).
Although there is no research on the effects of peanut butter on sleep, studies link foods rich in tryptophan with improved sleep quality (19, 20).
Therefore, eating peanut butter or other foods containing tryptophan before bed can help reduce sleep problems.
Peanut butter is very nutritious and high in protein, which reduces food cravings and promotes muscle growth. It also contains tryptophan, which can improve the quality of sleep.
The next time you crave a midnight snack, think about your health goals before reaching for that jar of peanut butter.
If you’re trying to lose weight, consider lower-calorie snacks like hummus, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, or fresh fruit instead.
However, if you’re trying to gain weight, build muscle, boost your metabolism, or improve the quality of your sleep, a snack with a spoonful of peanut butter can be a good choice as it provides essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals, and a healthy heart, fats and Tryptophan.
Dietitian shares the ‘power nutrient’ she eats to live longer—that 95% of Americans don’t get enough of
The benefits of fiber
As a nutritionist, I always tell people that fiber – the kind you get from foods rather than supplements – is an essential fuel.
Adequate fiber intake has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, certain gastrointestinal disorders, and type 2 diabetes, researchers have found.
There is also evidence that the benefits of fiber go beyond a specific disease: eating more of it can lower people’s death rate. Even the diets of residents of the Blue Zones, the places on earth where people live longest, include fiber as a basic nutrient, especially in foods like black beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
A study by the National Institutes of Health found that people who consumed more fiber, especially from grains, had a significantly lower risk of death over a nine-year period than those who consumed less fiber.
The analysis included approximately 388,000 participants who were in a larger NIH-AARP diet and health study and who were between 50 and 71 years old at the start of the study.
How Much Fiber Should You Consume?
How to Increase Your Fiber Intake
The body does not break down fiber. Instead, it passes the body undigested and helps regulate the body’s sugar consumption and helps keep hunger and blood sugar in check.
According to researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, there are two types of fiber: soluble fiber, which can help lower glucose levels, as well as lowering blood cholesterol, and insoluble fiber, which can help move through your digestive system , promotes regularity and helps prevent constipation.
While you can easily take a fiber supplement, you will end up missing out on all of the other vitamins and minerals that whole foods provide.
The best sources of fiber are whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
Here are five high fiber foods I include in my diet for healthier, longer lives – along with simple ways to enjoy them:
Fiber: 10 grams per cup, sliced
Loren Klein | Twenty20
In addition to their fiber content, avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fat, which has been linked to improving heart health.
Avocados are so versatile and their uses extend beyond simple dishes like guacamole. I usually add something to my smoothies, which creates a creamy, thick texture. Or instead of butter or mayonnaise, I smear a few slices on toasted bread.
Fiber: 8 grams per cup
Katherine | Twenty20
Raspberries also provide a handful of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also have a lower glycemic index, which means they don’t raise blood sugar levels.
A 2017 study found that consuming fresh fruit, especially raspberries, every day can lower your risk of developing diabetes by 12%.
You can have a handful as a quick snack or get creative and add some acid to your salads. And to satisfy my sweet tooth, nothing beats yogurt with raspberries and crispy oats.
Fiber: 21 grams per cup
Ilona Shorokhova | Twenty20
Lentils have an impressive amount of fiber per serving and are also an excellent source of protein (around 47 grams per cup), making them an ideal choice for filling meals.
Research suggests that consuming 150 grams of lentils daily may help improve blood lipid levels, blood pressure, and inflammation.
Lentils are delicious in a hearty soup or stew, but I think they go as well as protein in salads and tacos. If I want to reduce my meat consumption, I make lentil cakes for lunch or dinner.
Fiber: 8 grams per cup
Oats are a gluten-free whole grain that contains fiber and other important nutrients, including iron, zinc, and magnesium. They can also help you manage your blood sugar, heart health, and even weight, studies have shown.
For breakfast, oats can be used as a grain substitute in muffins and pancakes. For heartier dishes like meatballs, I like to use them as breadcrumbs.
5. Chia seeds
Fiber: 10 grams per ounce
Anna | Twenty20
Even a small amount of chia seeds has many health benefits. They’re also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improvements in brain and heart health.
These tiny seeds can be sprinkled in smoothies, oatmeal, and salads. They gel when placed in liquid so you can easily make homemade jam with the berries of your choice.
Lauren Armstrong is a nutritionist and nutrition coach. She was also a nutritionist for The Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program. Lauren received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Western Michigan University and has written for several publications, including Livestrong and HealthDay.
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