Meghan Tiernan (MS, RD, LDN) is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle. She strives to help others learn the most nutritious way to eat, in order to achieve good health. Meghan enjoys cooking and running and believes that with just some basic knowledge, you can gain the confidence in yourself to know that you can eat well.

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Dietitian Consult

by Meghan Tiernan, MS, RD, LDN

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I have mixed emotions when it comes to cereal. While it's a quick and easy breakfast solution, I have several issues with this meal-in-a-box.

First, a lot of cereals pack a pretty heavy caloric punch with at least 200 calories per serving and are high in sugar. Second, you don't get much for a serving. Most bowls can hold much more than a single serving of cereal. If you are someone who fills your bowl with these yummy grains, you could be consuming 2-4 servings and increasing the calories significantly. Finally, I don't find cereal to be filling for a prolonged period of time, leaving you hungry long before it's lunch time.

On the other hand, it is a very convenient breakfast option, and when chosen and consumed smartly, it can be a good source of fiber and whole grain.

Here are a few tips for keeping cereal as part of your weight loss diet.

1. Limit a serving of any cereal to 1 cup. I strongly recommend using a measuring cup. It's very easy to overestimate what a cup of cereal actually looks like.

2. Use a smaller bowl to trick your mind into thinking you're consuming more than you are.

3. Choose cereals with 150 calories or less per serving. This will weed out a lot of high calorie and high sugar cereals out there.

4. Use skim milk or a low calorie, dairy free option such as light soy milk or unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and keep milk to a half cup serving.

5. Try to choose cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving

6. Include protein. This will help you stay fuller longer. Some examples include egg whites or egg substitute, 1 tbsp nuts or peanut butter, 1 slice low fat cheese.

Here's a list of some of my favorite low calorie cereal options (note, not all of these contain at least 3 grams of fiber, but they are low in calories):

Cheerios (plain or any other flavor)
Chex Cereal (any flavor)
Special K Cereals (any flavor)
Trader Joe's High Fiber Fruit and Nut Multi-grain Medley
Puffed wheat cereal
Original Fiber One Cereal
Fiber One 80 Calorie Honey Squares

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