Ask Dani – Did I Make The Right Choice?

Dear Dani,

I was in the cereal aisle of the supermarket the other night trying to decide between two cereals. One had 100 calories per serving, but no fiber, and the other had 140 calories with 5g of fiber. I ended up choosing the one with the fiber, figuring that the fiber makes it better, but now I’m not sure if I made the right choice. Can you help me out?

Thanks, Munching Michelle

Dear Munching Michelle,

You definitely made the right choice by going with the fiber filled cereal. Just because something is lower in calories doesn’t mean it’s a better choice, because they can be empty calories and your body doesn’t use them as efficiently as nutrient dense calories. Fiber creates more bulk in your food which will help you feel fuller longer and ultimately help you eat less, plus it’s great for your digestion and colon. But, just because something has fiber in it doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want. There are a lot of products on the market now that tout added fiber, but that doesn’t give you leeway to eat 5 fiber filled cookies. Plus, the added fiber that they put in yogurts or even cottage cheese isn’t necessarily the same kind of fiber that is naturally found in grains and produce (but, that’s a whole other conversation…). If you’re looking to lose weight you still need to take in fewer calories than you burn. So, you did a great job at choosing the fiber cereal, but always pay attention to the ingredients and serving sizes to make sure that you’re actually making the best choice. It sounds clich

3 Breakfast Fixes

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but calories can add up quickly when eating boxed cereals or sugary breakfast bars, so here are a 3 tips to keep the calories working for you and not sticking to your hips:

1. Choose cooked whole grains, like oatmeal, bulgur, and quinoa, over dry boxed cereals – You’ll feel fuller longer in liquid-packed cooked cereals than you will with boxed cereals. Think about when you pour yourself a box of cereal, doesn’t it seem like there’s never enough in the bowl. And it seems to disappear in only a week! You’ll be eating way fewer calories with the cooked cereals, but you’ll feel more satisfied, because the liquid adds bulk. Don’t have time to cook in the morning? That’s ok, you can make a large pot of it on Sunday and then scoop out a portion each morning and reheat it while you’re getting dressed. You can also play around with it and have a different flavor every morning by adding fresh or frozen fruits, cinnamon, and Splenda.

2. Can’t give up boxed cereals so easily? – Then make sure that they are made from whole grains, don’t have any added sugars, and have at least 5 or so fiber grams per serving. Speaking of servings, pay attention to the serving sizes on the nutrition label, because I’ve seen cereals that are 250 calories per 3/4 cups of cereal, and that’s without the milk yet! Think you’ll be satisfied with that bowl? Probably not. The fewer the ingredients, the better. Some good brands to try are Kashi, Arrowhead Mills, and Natures Path.

3. Are you a toast kind of girl? – Use whole grain bread and instead of butter use fat-free cream cheese or non-fat greek yogurt. Swap the jelly or jam with fresh berries and save on added sugars and calories!