Grabbing a bowl of cereal is so easy, so quick, and so satisfying. But it can also be so easy to gain weight if you're eating your bowl all wrong. Whether you enjoy your cereal in the morning or for a fast dinner — which by the way, is perfectly acceptable (been there, done that) — you'll definitely want to follow these tips to ensure that bowl doesn't make you look like you swallowed one.
- Be careful with portions: You pour yourself a bowl of cereal and by the end, you have a bunch of milk left, so you add more cereal. You start munching and realise your dry cereal needs more milk, so you add a little more. Then you're left with too much milk and instead of drinking the last sips, you pour in some more cereal and — well, you get the point. Your bowl needs a bottom! Pour your bowl of cereal, pour in the milk, and be done. Put the cereal in the cupboard and the milk in the fridge to avoid the temptation of the bottomless bowl. Always check the serving size: cereal is tricky because when you see the calorie amount listed, it may not seem like much. But take note of the serving size because cereals vary. Granola is usually one-quarter cup while Go Lean Crunch is one cup. Avoid eye-balling the amount and just randomly filling your enormous bowl. Get out your measuring cups, and use them every time you eat cereal to keep your portion in check.
- Be mindful of healthy toppings: Nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, flaxseed, chia seeds, shredded coconut — these are all healthy ingredients that can increase the fibre and protein in your bowl, but they also add calories. Do a little math in your head to ensure your bowl stays between 300 and 400 calories. For some reference, check out the calories in fresh fruit, the calories in dried fruit, and the calories in nuts.
- Choose the right milk: What you pour on your cereal affects the calorie amount as well. Instead of 150-calorie whole milk, go for 90-calorie skim — it still offers the same amount of calcium and protein as its full-fat counterpart. Or you can choose a dairy-free milk alternative. Unsweetened soy milk contains 80 calories and offers almost as much protein as skim milk, but with less sugar. Or if you're really watching your calories, go for 30-calorie unsweetened almond milk; it may not offer as much protein as skim or soy, but it offers 45 percent of your daily calcium.
- Stay away from sugary cereals: A low-sugar breakfast cereal packed with fibre and protein is the way to go — sorry, Sugar Puffs may be magically delicious, but they're magically high in sugar, too. Be a label reader and compare nutrition labels as well as ingredient lists. Whole grains such as oats and whole-wheat fibre get a thumbs up, which means you should avoid enriched flours. And sugar should not be one of the first couple ingredients. Some good choices are these cereals that are high in fibre and protein.