Bran is the outer layer of grains like rice, corn, wheat, or barley. It's also the part of the grain that is the most nutrient dense, and contains proteins, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Cereals made from whole wheat bran, without added sugar or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, are a good source of whole grains that are high in fiber, folic acid, B vitamins, and potassium. Because of their high fiber content, they are usually very filling.
Not so long ago, bran cereal had a reputation for tasting like cardboard and sitting heavily on the stomach. It's this reputation that has turned a number of people off, but this cereal continues to be a staple because it is high in nutritional content and low in calories.
A wider variety of bran cereal has become available in recent years, which means tastier options for those who enjoy cold cereal. Adding fresh fruit, dried fruit, or nuts can add flavor and variety, and it can be mixed with yogurt instead of milk. Of course, people can also try one of the many new flavors that seem to hit stores on a regular basis. When picking a cereal, shoppers be sure to look for the fewest ingredients, low sugar content, and high fiber content. Cereals with hydrogenated oils should generally be avoided because hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils — also known as trans fats — are considered very unhealthy.
People who have decided that bran cereal is just not for them may want to find alternative ways to eat it. They may want to use finely crushed cereal, mixed with bread crumbs or on its own, to coat fish, chicken, or cheese sticks to add fiber to breaded foods. These foods should be baked, as frying would add unwanted fat. Crushed cereal can be mixed with graham crackers in pie crusts to get a boost of fiber and nutrition. People who are watching calories or counting points, can use bran to boost the nutritional value of foods to help with appetite control.