Should You Try “Nature’s Cereal”? What This Dietitian Thinks of the TikTok Trend
This TikTok recipe is the newest food trend to hit the internet, but is "nature's cereal" really healthy?
People can thank TikTok for so many trends this year, like the viral feta cheese pasta recipe. Even if you don’t have an account, you might have also heard about another popular recipe taking over the social media app—”nature’s cereal.”
No, I’m not talking about the brand Nature’s Path Cereal. I’m talking about a recipe originally posted by @natures food and its quick rise to fame with fans like Lizzo.
Here’s what you need to know about nature’s cereal, what I think about the trend, and whether or not it’s a healthy option.
What is nature’s cereal?
The original cereal consists of pomegranate seeds, blackberries, and blueberries in a bowl of coconut water. However, we have Lizzo to thank for the addition of strawberries and ice cubes.
There are even more new variations since the original post. While some people add mint or a squeeze of lime to the mix, other variations include swapping the coconut water for oat milk, pineapple juice, orange juice, or even coconut milk. Whatever variation you chose, “nature’s cereal” cuts out the grains and cow’s milk you find in regular cereal and replaces it with a variety of fresh fruit and fruit juice or plant-based milk.
Nature’s cereal nutrition facts
The exact nutrition facts vary depending on the version of the recipe you plan to make and the brand of coconut water you buy. The original version, consisting of blueberries, blackberries, pomegranate seeds, and coconut water, has about 150 calories, 7.5 grams of fibre, 36 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein, 1g of fat, and 21 grams of sugar, per serving.
But to understand the real benefits of this nature’s cereal, you have to look beyond the macronutrient profile. A bowl of the original recipe is full of fibre, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds—thanks to the fruit. It’s also incredibly hydrating because of the coconut water. While fibre and antioxidants are great any time of day, the coconut water makes this mixture of foods especially appealing first thing in the morning. Staying well-hydrated can help reduce fatigue and lessen your need for coffee.
Nature’s cereal health benefits
Let’s break down the ingredients a bit more:
Berries are the primary source of fibre in this mixture. Fibre helps fill you up and keep your bowels regular—but the benefits don’t end there. Although your body doesn’t digest dietary fibre, it acts as a food for your gut bacteria. When your gut bacteria break down fibre, they produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). According to the journal Nutrients, SCFAs can impact appetite, insulin sensitivity, weight loss, and immune system function. According to research in the American Journal of Physiology and the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology, add up these benefits and it can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.
In addition to fibre, berries such as blueberries and blackberries contain anthocyanin compounds. Anthocyanins are a major antioxidant and are also thought to play a role in cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention. In both cases, this is a result of antioxidants “attacking” inflammatory compounds within the body. As antioxidant-rich foods, these berries may also be protective against diabetes, promote GI health, and may even help slow aging, according to research in Food Reviews International.
The pomegranate seeds are a nice crunchy textural touch, but they also pack some health benefits. Similar to berries, they promote antioxidant activity in the body. They also promote prebiotic and antimicrobial activity. These compounds help enhance the production of those SCFAs we mentioned, and promote the balance of gut bacteria, according to a review in the journal Foods.
Finally, coconut water is a good source of electrolytes and minerals that help regulate the amount of water within our cells, making it an excellent option for hydrating. Coconut water may also have antioxidant properties, per the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, further supporting the cereal’s potential for helping reduce cancer and cardiovascular disease risk.
Is nature’s cereal a full meal?
While nature’s cereal offers a lot of benefits, calling it a meal or using the word “cereal” to describe it sends a confusing message. This low-calorie mixture is high in fibre, but it’s missing fat and protein. So, although it’s a fun way to increase fruit intake, the reality is it isn’t sufficient to replace a meal. This mixture isn’t really a replacement for healthy cereal or a full breakfast, but it will work nicely as a snack or alongside a more traditional meal.
(Related: 5 Benefits of Eating Oatmeal for Breakfast)
Should you try nature’s cereal?
Overall, the recipe seems like a fun new way to add some fruit into your diet. Pair it with a protein-rich breakfast or snack, and call it a day. Be mindful of the sugar content in a single bowl, and be sure to choose coconut water without added sugars. Also, remember this snack isn’t a replacement for your bowl of regular cereal.