A bowl of cereal makes the perfect breakfast. It's fast, easy, and inexpensive, and the right bowl of cereal is a good source of fiber, calcium, and protein. But if you make the wrong choices, your cereal may actually be contributing to weight gain. Avoid these mistakes when it comes to your morning bowl of cereal.
- Your bowl is too big: Depending on the box of cereal you choose, a serving size is about three-quarters to one-and-a-quarter cups. If you use the biggest bowl you have and just mindlessly pour, you could be devouring over 400 calories instead of the usual 120 to 200 and this is just the cereal alone!
- You're a little nuts: Sliced almonds, pecans, and walnuts offer healthy fats and protein, but they're also pretty high in calories. Two tablespoons of walnuts is almost 100, so be mindful about how nutty you get.
- You're using a bottomless bowl: You measure out a serving of cereal, pour in the milk, and spoon away. But when you get to the bottom of the bowl, you have so much milk left, you have to add a little more cereal. But you add too much, so you need to pour in a little more milk. It's a vicious cycle. Just drink the last of the milk and call it a day.
- You load up on dried fruit to up the fiber: Raisins, dates, banana chips, and dried cherries do offer a little bit of fiber, but because they contain hardly any water, dried fruits are super calorie dense. A quarter cup of dried cranberries is over 100 calories. You're better off using fresh fruit since it's lower in calories and higher in fiber, and the high water content will fill your belly up, so you actually end up eating less.
- You're in love with low-fat milk: The more fat in your milk, the more calories. One cup of whole milk contains 150 calories, and two percent has 130. If you go for nonfat skim milk, it's only 90 calories. It may not seem like a big difference, but over time, those calories really add up.
- You're still into kids cereal: Lucky Charms, Cocoa Pebbles, Apple Jacks, Froot Loops ‹ they might be sweet and tasty, but they contain tons of sugar and hardly any nutrition. That means you'll polish off your bowl and an hour later, hunger will have you reaching for more food, which will end up packing on the pounds. Choose healthy cereals like these that are high in both fiber and protein to keep you feeling satisfied for hours.