If you like cereal for breakfast or a late night snack, you’re not alone. The most popular varieties I see on food logs are Honey Bunches of Oats, Honey Nut or regular Cheerios, Special K, Chex, Raisin Bran, etc. While these don’t have a ton of sugar it’s certainly true that they’re processed and lack protein and fiber so they break down very fast in the bloodstream as sugar/glucose. All highly processed carbohydrates do that. Luckily, when we use dairy or soy milk we add some protein to the mix, but unfortunately beverages are digested quickly too. Bottom line is that any processed cereal digests quickly and can create a rise in blood sugar and for some a dopamine-induced pleasure response. And for some this can lead to an addictive response and cravings can escalate. This can certainly make it challenging to maintain or lose weight.
There are other reasons cereal can be alluring; we usually have it around and it’s easy. The crunch of cereal before it gets soggy can also be highly rewarding as we seek to chew our way out of the day’s stress.
When confronted with your next bowl of processed flakes, here are some whole food add-ins that can bring you more satiety and nutrition. You’ll likely feel fuller longer and avoid some of the physiological responses that lead to being hungry sooner or craving more. Try swapping half your bowl with the following add-ins:
- Raw rolled oats (full of fiber and protein)
- Dried fruit
- Frozen blueberries (keeps the milk cold)
- Sliced banana
- Sliced almonds or chopped nuts (full of fiber, protein, and healthy fat)
If you’d like to start with a higher protein cereal, try any of the Kashi Go Lean varieties or Special K Protein Plus. (Kashi Go Lean also has added fiber.) I still think the whole food add-ins listed above are better choices as their nutrients take longer to digest and enter the bloodstream.
So, my advice is to experiment with ways to make your cereal less flaky. With half of your bowl as whole food add-ins, you’ve turned your average bowl into a better bowl.
Diet & Nutrition, January 2016 Events
Dried Fruit, fiber, Frozen blueberries, Nuts, protein, Raw rolled oats, Sliced almonds, Sliced banana
A lot of clients have come in lately with a bit of confusion on recommended daily protein intake. The most popular myth I hear is that we need to consume our weight (lbs.) in grams of protein. I’ve even seen this all over the internet from some health professionals. The truth is that the original calculation of weight =daily protein grams comes from an equation that measures our weight in kilograms, not pounds. Since one kilogram is roughly two pounds we need to divide our weight (lbs) in half to get our daily protein intake.Weight (lbs.) divided by 2 = grams of daily protein
So, an individual who weighs 160# needs about 80g of protein a day.
If you are obese (BMI >30) this equation is not as accurate. I would recommend you shoot for 20% of your total daily calories from protein. No need to do the calculation yourself as you can enter your intake into an app/website and you’ll be able to click on a pie chart that lists percentages of calories as protein/fat/carbohydrates.
Another important point about meeting your protein needs – our body can only absorb about 30g of protein at a time. So, if your protein needs are higher than 60g per day you need to make sure you’re getting protein at more than just two meals a day. The more you spread it out over the day the better your body can absorb it.
Example: 80g daily need: 10g breakfast; 30g lunch; 10g snack; 30g dinner
So, what are some of the benefits of meeting your daily protein needs?
- You’ll feel fuller (protein exits the stomach slowly and so prevents immediate blood sugar drops).
- Your immune system will be ready to fight (antibodies are built from protein).
- Our muscle mass can be maintained and if we’re doing strength training –they can grow (at night our body will use dietary protein to repair the muscle tears).
Below is a helpful list: what foods have protein and the amounts in grams to help you meet your needs.
Beans/Legumes – 1/2 cup cooked
|Kidney beansAdzuki beansLentilsSplit peas
||9 g8 g8 g8 g
||Black beansGarbanzo beansBlack-eyed peasEdamame (soy beans)
||7 g7 g6 g13 g
Dairy, Soy & Substitute Products
|Cottage cheese, 1cupTofu, firm, 4 ozTempeh, 3 oz
Soy burger, 1 patty, 4 oz
Yogurt, low fat, 6 oz
Soy yogurt, 6 oz
Goat milk, 8 floz
Milk, skim, 8 floz
Milk, 2 %, 8 floz
|31 g20 g16 g14 g
|Greek Style Yogurt, 6 ozCheese, 1 ozSoy cheese, 1 ozMiso paste, 2 Tbsp
Cream cheese, 1 oz
Soy milk, 8 floz
Rice milk, 8 floz
|13 g7 g6 g4 g
Grains & Grain Products – 1 cup cooked
||8 g6 g6 g6 g
||RiceBagelOatmealBread, whole wheat, 1 slice
||6 g6 g5 g3 g
Meats, Seafood, & Poultry – 3 oz (deck of cards)
|Chicken BreastTurkeyTuna, in waterClams
|26 g25 g22 g22 g
|SalmonPork chopHamFish, white
|20 g19 g18 g17 g
Nuts & Seeds – ¼ cup (handful)
|Peanuts, dry roastedPumpkin seedsSunflower seeds
||9 g9 g9 g
||AlmondsCashewsPeanut butter, 1 Tbsp
||6 g5 g4 g
If you have any questions about meeting your protein intake and/or any other nutrition-related question please email Kathryn at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation.
Diet & Nutrition, Health News
Beans/Legumes, calories, Dairy, Grains, Meat, Nuts, Poultry, protein, Seafood, Seeds, Soy, weights