Cereal is one of those staple foods in the Western diet that is so iconic, it’s a big part of what many people are used to eating on a regular basis. But as you know, cereal has the potential to be basically dessert.
However, it is absolutely possible to continue eating cereal without feeling guilty about it. In fact, often cereal has the potential to provide nutrients you otherwise wouldn’t be getting. Many cereals these days have added vitamins and minerals for just that reason. Fiber has been a popular addition in many cereals for years now. An lately, even protein has joined the cereal bandwagon.
I have a few simple rules when it comes to enjoying cereal in a healthy way. First off, choose a cereal that isn’t loaded with sugar. Take a look at the nutrition label. Compare the brands you like, and choose one with fewer grams of sugar.
Second, choose a cereal which is designated as either a protein or fiber cereal. This way you are focusing not only on avoiding too much bad (sugar), but you’re also adding something good (protein or fiber).
Third, choose a lower calorie beverage to enjoy your cereal with. This is especially true if you are looking to lose body fat. The calories you drink in full fat milk will be a waste. If you have weight to lose, consider using a very low calorie milk alternative, such as almond milk (as little as 30 calories per cup) or soy milk (although men should avoid it due to elevated estrogen levels found in soy products). If you’re not interested in that weird stuff and just want to go for tried and true regular old milk, opt for the skim/0% variety.
Finally, watch your portion size. I find a great way to do this is to have my cereal in a large glass as opposed to a bowl. Bowls tend to be designed for dinner portions, and that is not equivalent to the portion size described on the nutritional information panel on the side of the cereal box. Making your cereal in a glass helps to maintain the portion size identified on the box, keeping you informed as to your actual calorie/sugar/protein intake.