How to Eat a Bowl of Cereal

I love eating a bowl of cereal with milk as a meal or snack, but I swear no matter how big I make my serving, I find myself hungry just a few hours later.

I love eating a bowl of cereal with milk as a meal or snack, but I swear no matter how big I make my serving, I find myself hungry just a few hours later.

I know cereal is a healthy option for breakfast or as an afternoon snack as long as it’s made with whole grains and low in sugar, so I’ve found a number of ways to make my usually wimpy bowl more satisfying. I hope these tips help you, too!

Add fruit
An easy and nutritious way to make your bowl of cereal more satisfying is by adding fiber-rich fruit, which fills you up without adding a lot of calories. My favorites are sliced banana, fresh berries, and chopped apple. Been there, done that with those fruits? Try canned pineapple, fresh figs, sliced peaches, or chunks of mango in your bowl of cereal.

Get nutty
Another simple way to add some substance to your bowl of cereal is by tossing in some whole or chopped nuts. The protein and healthy fats have staying power that will keep you satisfied long after breakfast. For a fun cereal addition, try adding a handful of trail mix. The nuts, dried fruit, and seeds will keep your taste buds guessing while helping to fill you up at the same time!

Upgrade your milk
If you typically use non-fat milk or almond milk in your cereal bowl, you are missing out on some satisfying protein and fat. A serving of soymilk has 6g of protein and 4g of fat (0.5g saturated fat) and 2% cow’s milk has 8g of protein and 5g of fat (3g saturated fat). Both of these options will add some serious satiety to your bowl!

Look for high fiber
Fiber fills you up, so be sure to look for a cereal with at least 6g of fiber per serving, such as Post Shredded Wheat or Kashi Go Lean Crunch. A fiber-rich cereal with soy milk, sliced banana, and a small handful of almonds is sure to keep you satisfied for hours!

Read Tina’s daily food and fitness blog, Carrots ‘N’ Cake.

How to Eat a Bowl of Cereal

How to Eat a Bowl of Cereal

You walk in the door at 9 PM after a god-awful day at work, starving and exhausted. Cooking dinner is out of the question. So should you order takeout—or just have a bowl of cereal?

Sure, a greasy container of moo shu pork would taste great. But you’ll probably feel a hell of a lot better after eating the cereal. Because despite what you might think, it’s actually pretty easy to turn the stuff into a respectable meal that will fill you up and actually deliver some nutrition. Here’s how.

1. First, pick a clean cereal.
If it’s gonna be the base of your meal, it better not be junk. So before you start filling up your bowl, make sure your cereal is pretty clean. Obviously, that means no artificial colors or preservatives—or weird ingredients like high fructose corn syrup or soy protein isolate. As for the nutritional stats? A serving should have 200 calories or less and at least 5 g of fiber, says Keri Gans, a registered dietician and author of The Small Change Diet. And keep it below 10 g of sugar per serving. (Try one of these 10 low-sugar cereal options.)

2. Pay attention to the serving size.
It’s insanely easy to pour yourself two or three times as much cereal as the serving size calls for, especially if you’re using a big bowl. But if literally measuring out your cereal feels too diet-y, at least try to eyeball a reasonable portion. A 1-cup serving is about two handfuls.

3. Add a solid source of protein.
This is the stuff that’ll keep you from raiding the fridge again in 2 hours. If you’re using dairy milk, great—pouring a cup over your cereal will give you 8 g of protein. But if you’re using a nondairy milk, like almond or coconut, you’ll need to get your protein from somewhere else. Try adding a generous spoonful of nut butter, a few tablespoons of chopped nuts or seeds, or even a scoop of protein powder. Or just skip the milk altogether and use plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese instead. Both pack more than 20 g of protein per cup.

4. Toss in plenty of fresh fruit.
How ’bout some kale with your Kashi? Um, no thanks. We’re all about finding surprising ways to get more vegetables, but the cereal bowl is where we draw the line. Still, that’s not an excuse to leave your meal entirely devoid of fresh produce. Top your cereal with at least one serving of fruit—or more, if you’re really hungry, since it’s almost impossible to get too much. Think fresh or frozen and thawed berries, chopped banana or pineapple, grated apple, or sliced grapes. (Here are good frozen options.)

5. Resist the urge to add extra sugar.
You’re hopefully getting a decent amount of sweetness from all that fruit, which means you shouldn’t need to sprinkle on any table sugar or add any honey. If you still want more sweetness, add a tablespoon or two of dried fruit—like raisins, dried cherries, or chopped dates—so you’re at least getting some extra fiber. Or just use a little bit of stevia. But remember, this is dinner—not dessert.

How to Eat a Bowl of Cereal

Photo Credit: Lexi Cotcamp, Small Kitchen College

Well-known food writer Erma Bombeck once said, “Like religion, politics and family planning, cereal is not a topic to be brought up in public. It’s too controversial.” How right she is!

Everyone seems to have his or her own cereal preferences for what makes the perfect bowl. I have always eaten my cereal dry (gasp, I know). I’m not lactose-intolerant, but no matter what brand I choose from the shelf, I prefer to eat my cereal sans milk. This habit has made for many awkward mornings waking up at sleepovers and explaining to my friends and their parents that I wouldn’t be needing any milk to go along with my breakfast.

But I am not the only one with different, albeit strange, cereal-eating habits. I know many people who eat all the flakes of their cereal first and save the dried fruits, crunchy clusters or sugary marshmallows for last. I even have a friend who only eats her cereal warm, as in she heats her bowl in the microwave before taking a spoonful. And since being at college affords many of us the luxury of a wide selection of cereals, we now get to enjoy the breakfast offerings our mothers refused to buy when we were younger.

Regardless of whether you eat your cereal dry, flake first or heated up, there are countless other ways to enjoy the breakfast staple beyond the morning hours. With the many varieties of cereal available, here are five creative, and delicious, ways to enjoy cereal outside the breakfast bowl.

**5 Best Ways to Enjoy Cereal, Without Milk**

1. Granola. When your bunches of oats are running low, cereal flakes can be a crunchy alternative for a unique, homemade granola. Combine your favorite brand with mixed dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips and/or anything else you can imagine for a fun, exclusively-yours snack. Instead of granola bars, you can also try making cereal bars for those on-the-go days when you don’t have time to sit down with a bowl and spoon.

2. Sweet Bites. Crispy rice cereal tends to get used more in recipes that include marshmallows than anything else. While there is nothing wrong with a sweet rice crispy treat, there is more to the cereal than this stick-to-your-fingers snack. Rice cereal provides a crispy texture to these nutella truffles, and they can also add texture to chocolate bark when added onto the still warm, melted chocolate.

3. Dessert Crusts. Cereal is a versatile ingredient, and it is a great swap when preparing dessert crusts. For example, if you are making a chocolate mousse pie, consider using your favorite chocolate-flavored cereal in the crust. Use vanilla flakes for a banana cream pie crust or graham-cracker cereal for a s’mores pie. You can also go the healthy route by substituting high fiber cereal in the dessert base.

4. Breading. While cereal may seem to be reserved for only sweet items, it can easily be incorporated to create savory meals. Next time you have a recipe for a breaded item, try using cereal in place of the breadcrumbs or panko. Create a unique twist on traditional chicken fingers by coating them in crushed Cap’n Crunch, or consider corn flakes as a swap for cornmeal. Anything “crispy” in the title can be made with your favorite cereal, but err on the side of caution when selecting which ones to use; those high in sugar will caramelize quickly when met with heat.

5. Binders and Toppings. In addition to breadings, cereals work well as binders. Whether in meatballs, burgers or croquettes, cereals, such as corn flake crumbs or bran, work well as binding agents to help keep items’ shape when cooked. When not in a bind, give a casserole or gratin an updated spin with a sprinkle of crushed cereal for a crispy, crunchy topping.

Bethany Imondi, a junior studying Government and English at Georgetown University, gets frustrated every time she manages only five servings from a box of cereal that promises 12. Read more.

When you think breakfast, you might think cereal. It’s easy to prepare, it’s just as easy to eat in a rush and it comes in enough varieties toВ keep you intrigued — with sweetened flakes and clusters for a lifetime. But is cereal really the best breakfast option?

“It definitely depends on the type of cereal [you] eat,” nutritionist Jennifer Gibson, head of health coaching at Vida, said in an interview. “If you go for a good, healthy cereal, something that has a lot of whole grains and is low in sugar, as it goes through the body it definitely takes a little bit longer to digest because of all the extra fiber in the system. If it has a little bit of protein, those carbohydrates are released a little more slowly into the blood, so it gives you a more steady stream of energy.”В

For healthier options, Gibson recommended a bowl of Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats (unfrosted) or Kashi Go Lean, as well as hot cereals like steel-cut oats, millet, amaranth and buckwheat groats. Bonus: You get to say “groats” when someone asks you what you ate for breakfast. (Push the limit even further and go for zoats.)

So what about when you can’t resist the colorful, sugary stuff?В

“If it’s a cereal that is more full of refined carbohydrates and has a big sugar punch, then you’ll see that energy spike right away,” Gibson said. “You’ll get a surge of energy [about 20 minutes after eating your cereal], but then you’ll have a really pretty severe crash in your blood sugar a couple hours after you eat that cereal.”В

Think of it this way: If you’re scarfing down a sugary bowl of cereal at 7 a.m. before your commute, and you spend an hour commuting, by the time you’ve arrived at work or school, your blood sugar is about to crash. This will cause you to feel not only hungry but sluggish, unfocused and perhaps even craving more sugar.В

Beware of low-calorie processed cereals, which are certainly not as nutritious as their small calorie-count implies. “Some of those more processed cereals, they don’t have a ton of calories. The only calories that they do have are really from those refined carbohydrates and sugar,” Gibson said. “Most people are, you know, say they eat a bowl of Froot Loops in the morning — they’re starving within two hours.”

While the process of digesting cereal is similar for kids and adults, Gibson noted it’s even more challenging for kids, who have faster metabolisms and can get hungry after eating processed cereals even faster than their parents.В

To resist the crash just two hours after breakfast, choose a cereal with about 6 grams of fiber per serving, and less than 5 or 6 grams of sugar, preferably with whole grains or protein, according to Gibson. “A super-simple ingredient list is always a bonus,” she said.

If you’re tempted to buy a quick breakfast off the shelf, you might try something like Kix, which contain less than 2 grams of sugar per every 3/4 cup.В Cheerios are another good option, as well as hot cereals like oatmeal (the unsweetened kind!), which can be topped with fruits and nuts.

When you’re eating cereal, even in a hurry, Gibson recommended pairing it with some protein on the side, like a hard-boiled egg or a handful of nuts.В

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

How to Eat a Bowl of CerealMany people enjoy a snack before bed, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, many people advise not to eat anything after seven p.m.

According to many nutritionists and medical professionals, leaving the stomach empty of food means that your body can concentrate on doing necessary maintenance and repairs, instead of digesting a meal.

But the truth is, for many of us, having an empty stomach while we sleep, is, well, uncomfortable. It just feels a little more restful to have something in there when we’re sleeping.

So if you’re going to eat a bedtime snack, is there one food that’s better than another?

You certainly don’t want to chow down on some greasy food or snacks that are high in fat. Fat is complex to digest and the effort your body takes to perform this task could keep you semi-awake, instead of sleeping deeply. The same could be said of proteins. Some proteins are easier to digest than others, of course. Red meat before bed wouldn’t be wise, but a little milk in a bowl of cereal should be fine.

Which brings us to a question that many people ask: Is eating cereal before bed a healthy choice? The answer to that is “yes,” with a few caveats.

First of all, be wise in your choice of cereal. Many commercial brands are loaded with refined sugar, tons of honey or high fructose corn syrup. Concentrated sugars—especially those highly refined—are going to cause your blood sugar to go rapidly up and then rapidly down. Such abrupt changes will not set the stage well for a restful night of sleep.

If you think eating cereal before bed is a perfect snack, then you’ll want to avoid highly sweetened cereals and ideally opt for those that are unsweetened. You can always add a teaspoon of honey yourself so that you have control over how much sugar you’re getting with your bowl of cereal.

Next, if you’re going to be eating cereal before bed, you want to make sure that your cereal is made from whole grains. It doesn’t really matter what the whole grains are—wheat, kamut, quinoa, buckwheat, oat—just as long as you avoid refined grains and processed flours.

Whole grains are high in fiber which has the opposite effect of refined flour. Whole grain fiber will steady your blood sugar levels, slowing down the absorption of sugars so that your body can keep up with processing them.

Another consideration before eating cereal before bed is the amount that you eat. Resist the temptation to have a big bowl of cereal. Instead, keep portions small. You want your stomach to have a little food in it, but not be struggling to digest a whole mountain of cereal. A half a bowl of cereal before bed should leave you feeling comfortably “full” but still allow you to fall into a deep sleep.

And finally, there’s the matter of what to have with your cereal, when you’re eating cereal before bed. Milk could be a good choice, even though it’s a protein, because milk contains tryptophan. Tryptophan will help to give you that “sleepy” feeling, making it easier for you to drift off to sleep as soon as you lie down. For those who have trouble digesting dairy, obviously you’ll want to stay away from milk. Try some rice milk, almond milk or soy milk instead. Again—keep the portions small.

Eating cereal before bed can be a perfect snack to help you feel full before you sleep, without overeating. Would you start eating cereal before bed?

Love eating cereal for breakfast? Whether you’re into Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes, the best cereal to eat on myWW is the one you enjoy the most. And you can easily dig in to any box without going over your SmartPoints Budget.

Before you fill your bowl, keep in mind that overpouring can affect how many SmartPoints you end up eating. Depending on whether your dish is deep, shallow, large, or small, filling it up to the brim can serve up way more than one portion. That’s why it’s important to measure your cereal before digging in—at least until you’re used to how a particular option looks in your specific bowl. (Pro tip: Start by scooping from the box with a measuring cup rather than pouring away.)

Here’s a quick guide to the number of SmartPoints per 1-cup serving of cereals found on most shelves:

How Many SmartPoints Are in Breakfast Cereal?

Per 1-cup serving

5 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)

4 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)

4 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)

Kashi GoLean Original, $5.49 for 21 oz

4 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)

4 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)

Cheerios, $3.99 for 12 oz on

3 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)

4 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)

3 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)

Kix, $3.99 for 12 oz on

3 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)

3 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)

Don’t forget the milk!

Unless you eat your cereal dry, the milk you splash in your bowl contributes SmartPoints, too. Here’s how the options stack up per cup:

  • Unsweetened almond milk: 1 SmartPoints value (Green, Blue, Purple)
  • Fat-free milk: 3 SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple)
  • 1% milk: 4 SmartPoints values (Green, Blue, Purple)
  • 2% milk: 5 SmartPoints values (Green, Blue, Purple)
  • Whole cow’s milk: 7 SmartPoints values (Green, Blue, Purple)

DIY Breakfast Bowl Alternatives

Real talk: One measured bowl of cereal with milk can make a real dent in your Budget. If you’d rather save your SmartPoints for fancier morning meal, try a homemade alternative. The recipes below aren’t much harder to assemble than box-to-bowl cereal—promise!

How to Eat a Bowl of CerealCereal dieting is a simple and effective strategy to lose weights. With this diet plan, you can lose eight pounds in one week. If you enjoy eating your cereal in the evening time too, you will block carbs calories and melt fat while you sleep.

The good news is that you can lose a jeans size in just 4 weeks. You can lose even more that a jeans size a month; with a hearty cereal at breakfast, a healthy lunch and a healthy dinner.

The Benefits of Cereal Diet

Most of the cereals are an excellent source of antioxidants. These are interfering with carbs digestion. The best choice seams to be corn cereal with dried fruits, fiber may enhance calories boosting.

With a bowl of cereal moderation can be keep under control, compare with chips for example. Cereals are also a comfort food being rich in fiber you are going to feel satisfied.
A recent study shows that, persons who get a dose of carbs before bedtime lose 35% more weights than someone who opt for protein instead.

Eating cereal with milk, (preferable 2%) brings calcium and nutrients to your body that increases your levels of fat burning.

If you are going to eat whole grain cereals, at least once a day will reduce your risk of developing heart disease by 20%.

Cereal eaters are more protect against diabetes.

Whole grain cereal breakfast is linked to a better concentration and memory too.

The Way Cereal Diet is Working

You can eat one bowl (200- calories) cereal with ½ cup of fat free or 2% milk, for your breakfast. The best option might be raisin brain or kasha.

Your lunch and dinner will include 350- 450 calories, and you can eat lean protein with one or two servings of fruits and vegetables.

For bedtime, you can savour 150- 200 calories of a bowl with ½-cup milk.

Drink water as much as you want

NOTE: Before you start this diet plan, check with your doctor.

One-Day Menu


You will eat 1 bowl of cereal (200 calories) and ½ cup of fat free or 2% milk.


You can opt for any of these:

a) 3 oz lean meat with one-cup steam vegetable

b) 3 oz tuna with seven whole grain crackers, ½-cup fruits

c) 3 oz grill chicken breast with green salad, a small piece fruit

How to Eat a Bowl of CerealDinner:

Choose one daily:

a) 3 oz lean meat with one-cup steam vegetable

b) 4 oz salmon grill with ½-cup brown steam rice, ½-cup fruits

Bedtime snack:

A daily one-bowl cereal (200 calories) and ½-cup milk fat free or 2%.

When it comes to quick and easy breakfast, it doesn’t get much easier than a bowl of cereal with milk. It’s convenient and requires no cooking. The only downside? It’s not always the most filling option, which means your stomach starts growling partway through your morning — kind of a pain if you’ve got a lot to do and want to avoid hangry outbursts. Sure, you could have a second bowl, but why not make it easier to get more bang for your nutritional buck with the first one?

As a dietitian and health coach, I help my clients streamline their healthy morning routine without skimping on nutrition or taste. Starting your day with a solid breakfast helps set you up for a productive, powerful day. These simple hacks will upgrade your a.m. bowl of cereal and actually keep you going until lunch.

Go with whole grain

Scope out the label to make sure that a whole grain is the first ingredient. A few good examples are oats, whole wheat, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, and amaranth. For a similar calorie content to refined grains, you’ll get more nutrients like B-vitamins and iron along with filling fiber. Yes, many refined cereals are fortified with those missing nutrients, but think about it this way: Those grains had to be refined to take all that stuff out, and then it was added back in a separate process. So much work! Why not just eat stuff that’s naturally nutritious from the get-go without all that processing?

Filll up with fiber

Starting with a whole grain cereal is a good first step for making sure your meal is high in filling fiber. So why is fiber so important? Fiber slows digestion by taking up space in the GI tract. Soluble fiber makes a gel-like substance as it combines with water in the intestines, and insoluble fiber moves through the GI system, promoting regular digestion.

Aim for a cereal with at least four grams of fiber per serving. Aside from keeping you satisfied, it also helps you meet that recommended daily goal of 25-35 grams. Just keep in mind that when it comes to a refined cereal with fiber added to it, the label may boast a lot of grams, but what you’re often getting is dressed-up junk food. To increase fiber naturally, top your cereal with a tablespoon or two of nuts or add a high-fiber fruit like blueberries (four grams per cup) or half a cup of chopped apple (two grams) .

Prioritize protein

Protein promotes satiety by helping slow digestion to buffer the breakdown of the carbs in your cereal — key to enjoying slow-burning energy that lasts all morning. Cow’s milk provides about eight grams of protein per cup. In case you were wondering, skim, low-fat, and whole milk all have the same amount of protein.

For those avoiding dairy, soy milk and pea protein milk also provide about eight grams per cup. Just keep in mind that many other non-dairy milks like almond and coconut have very little protein. It’s totally okay to use them — you just want to make sure you’re getting some protein into your bowl another way. For example, you could add a few tablespoons of nuts or seeds, or whisk some protein powder into the milk before adding your cereal.

Some cereals on the market have added protein, but check the label — soy protein isolate is a commonly used source, but it’s a processed form of soy best kept on the “in moderation” list.

Don’t fear fat

Because it helps slow digestion, incorporating some fat into your breakfast can boost staying power. Another reason to include fat in your morning meal is that it helps enhance the absorption of certain fat-soluble nutrients in your food like Vitamins A and D.

Just note that a little goes a long way, as fat is calories-dense at nine calories per gram. Using a milk or yogurt that contains fat is one option. You can also top your bowl with nuts, seeds, or coconut flakes, or drizzle a little nut or seed butter on top as well. Again, just keep portions in mind, and take into consideration what else you’re having in your meal. If you’re having whole milk and there are almonds in your cereal, you may not need to add anything else.

Get cultured

Another cereal solution I often recommend is swapping out the milk in your bowl for yogurt or kefir. You’ll get at least 12 grams of protein per cup, and even more if you use Greek or Icelandic yogurt, both of which are strained. Cultured cottage cheese is another good option. Aside from boosting staying power thanks to the protein, beneficial probiotic bacteria found in fermented dairy products may help support regular digestion and overall wellness. When our digestive system is good working order, it can help us feel more in touch with feelings of hunger and fullness.

Go slow with sugar

Not like this is breaking news or anything, but sugar is not your friend when it comes to getting the most mileage from your breakfast. Aside from adding empty calories, it messes with blood glucose control, especially when it’s eaten without a lot of fat, protein, or fiber to buffer the breakdown of those simple carbs.

Ever wonder why you feel like a hangry beast an hour after eating, like, a donut or toaster pastry? Similar thing. This sets you up for an irritable mood and a feeling of not being able to stay full—not conducive to happy fun times or productivity. The insulin spike we get from taking in a big hit of sugar and the energy crash that follows can wreak havoc on our hunger hormones and makes it hard to regulate appetite throughout the day.

Look for cereals with less than five grams sugar per serving, which is equivalent to just over a teaspoon. Also, check the labels of non-dairy milks to make sure they’re not sweetened, as that’s a sneaky place sugar may find its way into the diet.

Smart fruit choices

Just a quick note on fruit: A little is a great way to add fiber as well as key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your day. Too much of a good thing, however, is totally possible. Fruit is nutritious, but added too much can cause you to go overboard on carbs, since fruit contains fructose. Fruit can also be calorie-dense. If you know you’re someone who likes to see a lot of food in the bowl, go for a high-fiber, lower-calorie fruit like berries rather than a banana. One cup of berries and half of a large banana, for example, will give you a similar number of calories (about 75) but you’ll get loads more of filling fiber in the berries (anywhere from four to eight grams, depending on the type) than with that banana half (about one gram).

Play tricks on your eyes

Using a smaller bowl is probably my number-one tip to help you feel more satisfied from a mental standpoint because a smaller amount of food looks like more than it would in a larger bowl. Research has shown that visual cues like bowl size and even color can impact how satisfied we feel. For example, this study showed that people served themselves less when there was less of a contrast between the color of the food at the plate! I also recommend using actual bowls and silverware whenever possible if you’re eating at work. Sure, you might be eating the exact same meal out of a to-go container, but the experience is totally different. When you consider that breakfast is your first meal of the day, it can really set the tone for what’s ahead, so an extra few seconds can give you a boost that lasts all day!

How to Eat a Bowl of Cereal

The day’s starting line

No matter what type of diabetes you have, keeping your blood glucose levels within a healthy range is crucial. And starting the day with a healthy breakfast is one step you can take to achieve that.

Breakfast should be a balanced meal with adequate protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. It should also be low in added sugar and high in fiber and nutrients.

If you have diabetes, you may already be familiar with the glycemic index (GI). The GI is a way to measure how quickly foods with carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels.

Carbohydrates give you the energy you need to start your day. But digesting carbohydrates too quickly can cause your blood sugar levels to spike.

Foods with a low GI are easier on your body than those with a high GI. They are digested more slowly and minimize spikes after meals. This is something to keep in mind when choosing breakfast cereals.

It is important to know what things affect the GI. Processing, cooking methods, and the type of grain can all impact how quickly the food is digested. Cereals that are more processed tend to have a higher GI even if they have fiber added to them.

Mixing foods can also affect the GI. Having protein and health fats with your cereal can help prevent spikes in blood sugar.

A healthy breakfast that’s easy to prepare can be as simple as a bowl of cereal, provided you choose wisely.

The grocery store cereal aisle is stacked high with cereals that satisfy your sweet tooth but sabotage your glucose levels. Many of the most popular cereals have refined grains and sugars at the top of the ingredient lists. Those cereals have few nutrients and lots of empty calories. They can also cause a spike in your blood glucose levels.

That’s why it’s important to read labels carefully. Look for cereals that list a whole grain as the first ingredient. Refined grains are stripped of bran and germ during processing, which makes them less healthy.

Whole grains include the entire grain kernel, which is a source of healthy fiber. Fiber is an important element of your diet. It helps control your blood sugar levels and lowers your risk of heart disease. Whole grains also contain lots of vitamins and minerals.

Typically you can find the following whole grains in breakfast cereals:

  • oatmeal
  • whole wheat flour
  • wheat bran
  • whole cornmeal
  • barley
  • brown rice
  • wild rice
  • buckwheat

According to the American Diabetes Association, rolled oatmeal, steel-cut oatmeal, and oat bran are all low GI foods, with a GI value of 55 or less. Quick oats have a medium GI, with a value of 56-69. Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, and instant oatmeal are considered high GI foods, with a value of 70 or more.

Instead of using instant hot cereal packets, consider making a batch of whole or steel-cut oats for the week and keeping it in the refrigerator. Heat up a portion for a few minutes in the microwave each morning and you’ll have a healthy cereal that will be more slowly digested.

Keep an eye out for hidden ingredients. According to the American Diabetes Association, you should choose cereals that contain at least 3 grams of fiber and less than 6 grams of sugar per serving.

The trouble is that sugar has a lot of aliases and may show up on ingredient lists multiple times. Remember, too, that ingredients are listed in descending order of how much the food contains. If there are three types of sugar listed in the top few ingredients, it would not be the best choice.

The Harvard School of Public Health provides this list of sweeteners that may appear on food labels:

  • agave nectar
  • brown sugar
  • cane crystals
  • cane sugar
  • corn sweetener
  • corn syrup
  • crystalline fructose
  • dextrose
  • evaporated cane juice
  • fructose
  • fruit juice concentrates
  • glucose
  • honey
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • invert sugar
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose
  • syrup

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the sodium level in your cereal, too. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

Once you’ve chosen a whole grain cereal, you can add nuts as a source of protein. They will also provide extra texture and taste.

Adding protein can help you manage your blood sugar at breakfast and may also help you manage your levels after lunch. You can also eat unsweetened Greek yogurt, eggs, or other foods that contain healthy protein to round out your breakfast.

Unsalted nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, and pecans, can add crunch to your cereal. They contain heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. But they’re also fairly high in calories, so eat them in moderation.

Depending on your meal plan, adding fruit to your cereal can add sweetness. Just remember to account for this in your carb count if you count carbs, or to manage the portion. Whole fruits are a great addition to a meal, and those with more skin, such as berries, will add even more fiber to your meal.

Consider adding half a cup of milk or dairy substitute to your bowl of cereal if it fits into your meal plan. Keep in mind that milk contains some natural sugars. Skim milk, 1 percent, or 2 percent milk can take the place of whole milk if you want to consume fewer calories and less saturated fat.

You can also use soy milk or almond milk if you have a lactose intolerance or don’t like dairy milk. Unsweetened soy milk is similar to cow’s milk in carbohydrate content. Unsweetened almond milk contains fewer carbohydrates and calories than dairy or soy milk.

Tony Naylor , | Updated: April 19, 2013 16:48 IST

How to Eat a Bowl of Cereal

There are certain rules about eating breakfast cereal: a small bowl, not after 10am, sugar on after the milk and never eat Shredded Wheat. How do you eat yours?

This month on How to Eat – the blog trying to establish a code of good gastronomic conduct for the nation’s favourite dishes – we turn our spoon to breakfast cereal. Will the debate turn sour? I should coco, pops.

Hours of consumption

Before 10am or after 9.30pm (if you get peckish watching Newsnight). Like regularly finding yourself in the pub on weekday afternoons, eating breakfast cereal in the middle of the day is a sign that you are letting things slide. It is the behaviour you might expect of a student. Or a freelance journalist.

Top five classic cereals

Cornflakes; Weetabix; porridge (made with a mix of milk and water and served plain – a little sugar is enough of a sweetener, and personally I’ve never got cold fruit with hot oats); bran flakes; your own muesli.

The latter is a hassle, but, then, you could spend a lifetime searching for the commercial brand that contains the correct ratio of fruit, nuts, oats etc and which excludes traumatic items such as freeze-dried raspberries (too much of a face-screwingly tart sensory onslaught in the morning) and (gip!) dried apricots.

Cereals that aren’t worth the washing up

Shredded Wheat. It’s good for your heart? I find that ironic, as eating it makes me wish for an early death: it’s like trying to wolf down a welcome mat.

“Malted wheats”. Forget the Higgs-Boson, scientists should be trying to crack a far greater mystery. Namely, what is the optimum amount of milk for a serving of Shreddies? Too little and it’s like chewing bark. Too much and you have a bowl of papier mache mulch. Surely crisp crunch working down to a silky, milk-sodden sub-stratum is the correct textural progression in a bowl of cereal? Not such trudging drudgery.

Sugar Puffs. Disgusting. Like pouring milk over a bowl of toffee popcorn.

Cereals that no-one over the age of seven should eat

There are certain rules about eating breakfast cereal: a small bowl, not after 10am, sugar on after the milk and never eat Shredded Wheat. How do you eat yours?

Anything that turns the milk chocolatey; Froot Loops / Cheerios (which look too much like some sort of dog treat); Golden Nuggets; Weetabix choc chip mini; Honey Nut Loops; Rice Krispies (it seems a good idea, a snap, crackle and pop portal back to your childhood, but, in retrospect, they don’t actually taste of anything, do they? It is a harsh lesson, but you can’t go back); Curiously Cinnamon, if only for its imperative slogan “Crave Those Crazy Squares”. Weetos v Alien Invaders chocolate toffee flavour. No, I am not making this up.


As adults, surely we can immediately dismiss all modern, sugar-loaded cereals of the frosted, honey-coated, chocolate ‘n’ caramel-laced varieties? This is not dessert. Who wants such unnaturally sweet flavours at breakfast? Plus, have you seen how much sugar those cereals contain? Kellogg’s cornflakes run to 8g per 100g, Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cornflakes 35g.

The NHS considers over 15g total sugars in every 100g to be a high level. Manufacturers take (what, for a growing lad, constitutes a laughably small) 30g of cereal and 125ml of semi-skimmed milk to be a “typical” serving. On that basis, a small bowl of Crunchy Nut would account for 17g, or just under one-fifth (18.8%) of a woman’s daily recommended sugar intake.

If you are eating a more sensible cereal, and sprinkling (unrefined, Fairtrade) sugar on top, two things are key. Moderation: cereal is not simply a delivery vehicle for sugar. Distribution: that sugar must only be applied after the milk, so that it clings to the wet top layer to form a surface crust. There are people who like the sugar to collect at the bottom of the bowl, where they scoop it up with the last spoonful of milk. Those people are weirdos. One distinct advantage of Weetabix is that, by laboriously crushing them into milk, you can create a flat layer (there should be no more than a millimetre of surface milk; if necessary drain any excess), across which you can then evenly distribute your sugar. If you are serious about sugar distribution, it is the only way to go.

Although, do you even need sugar? Nowadays, I top my bran flakes with some sort of more interesting nuts and fruit-type muesli-effort. I started out on Co-Op’s own brands – the, presumably freeze-dried, fruit has a nice, almost crystallised texture – but have progressed (and can there be a clearer sign of my descent into middle-class degeneracy?) to Dorset Cereals, specifically their berries and cherries. I justify it to myself on the basis that, using a couple of tablespoons a day, it’s a reasonable expense. But, you’re right, come the revolution I should be first up against the wall.

It is probably a habit I should wean myself off, anyway. I thought I was being healthy, but it turns out that even wholegrain bran flakes are surprisingly sugary (around 16g per 100g). They might be the tastiest of the processed breakfast flakes, but with a top layer of muesli that is a shedload of sugar.

Like your football team or bank, the milk you drink is determined in childhood. After which, it is impossible to change. Decades of semi-skimmed, mean that, to me, full fat – much less Jersey gold – now tastes like double cream. Although, it remains infinitely superior to skimmed milk, which, in taste, texture and colour, is like something you would empty out of a mop bucket.

On milk’s radical outer fringes there are products which, I am sure we can agree, are inappropriate (raw milk is too full-on, a waste here) or so sub-standard (UHT – why would you do that to yourself?), that they have no place in your breakfast bowl. Some of that bacteria that Cravendale remove with their ceramic filters must be good stuff, because it definitely tastes subtly different; cleaner, less characterful. If this is all you can pick up at the 24-hour garage in an emergency, I urge you: have toast.

Oh, and if you are making me cereal using full-fat or gold, please shake the bottle. There is almost nothing more stomach-churning than being handed a bowl of cereal that is crowned with clots of cream. It is like someone has hoicked the contents of their sinuses over your breakfast.


Tea, rust-coloured, unfussy tannin-packed tea-tea. None of that Earl Grey / Rooibos nonsense. Or coffee. Black coffee, its bitterness offset by the sweet milk in your bowl. Fruit juice is fine as a starter, but, boy, a mouthful of cornflakes and a swig of Tropicana jars with a mighty clang.

“Jesus! I don’t need the Guardian to tell me what bowl to use for cereal,” you cry. But are you sure? An acquaintance used to eat cereal from – get this – a large, shallow soup bowl. It was less breakfast, more a seafaring expedition. Cereal should never be served in anything with an extensive lip. Can’t hold it in the palm of your hand? It ain’t a cereal bowl.

R.D.s weigh in on this vilified food.

How to Eat a Bowl of Cereal

How to Eat a Bowl of Cereal

While it’s obvious that a bowl of Lucky Charms isn’t the most nutritious way to start your day, there’s something super-comforting about eating a bowl of cereal. But there’s no escaping the fact that nutritionists tend to seriously frown on the crunchy stuff.

“Even healthy cereal is still a processed food,” says Keri Glassman, R.D. “I’m not saying there isn’t a place for that in your diet. But the best foods are the ones that are natural.”

Hmph. But here’s why cereal tends to get a terrible rep: A lot of cereals are low-fiber, low-protein, high in sugar, and calorie dense, says Alexandra Caspero, R.D., author of the vegetarian blog Delish Knowledge.

But if you can’t imagine life without your daily bowl, there’s hope, says Karen Ansel, R.D. “There are good and bad choices. If you do your research up front, you can find great picks.”

So what should you look for? Here’s what nutritionists say you should scan for in the cereal aisle:

  • Low sugar. Truth: “It’s really hard to find a great-tasting cereal that has no sugar, so you want to look for as little sugar as possible,” says Ansel. Caspero and Ansel agree that anything more than eight to 10 grams per serving is too much.
  • High fiber. Aim for at least five grams of fiber per serving—or roughly 20 percent of what you should be eating in a day.
  • Whole grains. Flours must say “whole”—like “whole wheat,” or “whole oat” (if it just says “wheat,” it’s refined), Ansel says. For grains, look for quinoa, sorghum, brown rice, amaranth, and millet; avoid those with corn or plain “rice.”
  • Serving size: Some cereals pack 200 calories per quarter-cup serving (sans milk!), making it easy to wind up with an 800-calorie breakfast, says Ansel. Ideally, you should look for an option that allows you to eat three-quarters of a cup for no more than 250 calories max.

RELATED: This Is How to Actually Choose Bread That’s Healthy, According to Nutritionists

7 Better-for-You Options

Here are a few brands that got the green light from our nutritionists:

  • Kashi GoLean Clusters in Vanilla Pepita. This cereal has nine grams of protein—that’s more than you’ll get from the milk you put in it—plus six grams fiber, and 230 calories in a cup. “And it tastes like popcorn,” says Ansel.
  • Puffins. “Puffins is the choice I recommend for the mom buying for her whole family,” says Caspero. They’re slightly more sweetened, at five to six grams of sugar per three-quarter cup serving, but they also have five grams of fiber and just 110 calories.