Friday, December 5, 2008

In search of a good cereal

I like cereal just as much as the next person I suppose. I grew up on a steady diet of Frosted Flakes and Cap'n Crunch in the morning and as I got older grew to appreciate such cereals as Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Raisin Bran.

However, one of the things I nearly cut off entirely from my meal plan was cereal. I had several reasons why I didn't see the benefit of cereal, most of which I still hold on to.

To preface that however, I must say that breakfast is important, critical to the start of your day. If you skip breakfast, the chances of getting hungry earlier increase, which will then lead an increased possibility of making poor choices.

Still, to squelch your morning hunger and start the day off doesn't mean loading up on calories. And to me, cereal had little reward. The cereal alone was several hundred calories and with milk on top of that you are looking at a 400-calorie meal. And when my meal plan allows for 1,800 calories a day, that's quite a sizable chunk that leaves little room for error. Add to that, for instance, a 500-calorie lunch and am/pm snacks totaling another 150-200 and you don't have that much room to play with.

Anyway, I was actually eating Raisin Bran there for a while, starting off my day with 500 calories but also 14 grams of fiber. It was a payoff I was willing to take as I was around 240-250 at the time and just starting into my final descent of weight loss. But soon after my weight dipped to around 230 or so, I cut cereal out completely. I won't say it had a direct effect on my weight loss but it did allow for far more flexibility in my meals throughout the day.

Well, lately I've been wanting to get back to cereals, get back to having another option for breakfast. I eat an energy bar about five times a week for breakfast, have muffins on most Saturdays and about once a week I'll mix it up and have toast, a banana or something to the effect.

But now, I want to get back to cereal. But my problem is that I don't know where to start. Well, I didn't until now. Men's Health provided a list of good and bad grocery store items. Cereal has its own section, and I've scanned what they say are both the good and bad.

First, the bad (all serving sizes are per cup):
Post Banana Nut Crunch: 240 cal, 12 g sugar
Kellogg's Corn Pops: 120 cal, 0 g fat, 14 g sugar
Kellogg's Cracklin' Oat Bran (3/4 cup per serving): 200 cal, 7 g fat, 15 g sugar
Kellogg's Raisin Bran: 190 cal, 19 g sugar, 7 g fiber

As you can see, the Raisin Bran may indeed have been holding me back.

Now, the good:
Kashi Go Lean: 140 cal, 6 g sugar, 10 g fiber
General Mills Fiber One: 120 cal, 2 g fat, 28 g fiber
Kellogg's Special K: 110 cal, 0 g fat, 7 g protein
Spoon-Size Post Shredded Wheat: 170 cal, 1 g fat, 6 g fiber, 0 g sugar

Which one will I go for? Tough call, really. I like the fiber content of the Fiber One - that's your entire day's worth of fiber in one bowl! I think I've had Special K before and seven grams of protein ain't bad.

Whichever one I choose, I will choose one of these the next time I visit the grocery store. I'll have better options now in the morning and will be able to adjust my meal plan accordingly.

There is just one minor detail that I hope I overcome: I just hope it tastes good.

1 comment:

Lissaloo said...

My son loves Raisin Bran, I have always figured it was fairly healthy, I guess it's not as good as I thought. The mini wheats is a favorite too :) My Kiddos eat cereal probably 4 times a week, & while I don't buy the sugary kinds or let them put sugar on, it is hard to be sure that I am making the best choice in the ones I buy, so this is a big help to me. Thanks for the info LB :)