Cereal is a no-brainer breakfast item and if you’re a young bachelor sometimes a lunch, dinner, and any other time of the day meal. The complete history of cereal’s rise to popularity in the American diet is a long one that can’t be completely covered in this blog alone. In short, American’s needed dietary changes that fit in accordance to their evolving lifestyles as the country transitioned from an agricultural economy to an industrial one. Doctors and health gurus promoted their versions of cereals with outrageous health claims and cereal’s popularity took off. It’s simple preparation makes it easy to understand part of why it’s still so popular. It’s hard to screw up serving something into a bowl and then pouring milk or do you pour your milk first and then the cereal?!
My inspiration for this blog is from one of my clients who’s a professional boxer. He’s a young kid who loves cereals particularly the sugary kid’s ones. He wanted to have some healthier options to better fuel himself but wasn’t enthusiastic about trying the plain looking high fiber cereals available at grocery stores. Likewise this blog hits home for me because although I don’t mind the taste of some of the “adult” cereals, they can become monotonous and it’s difficult to find quick food alternatives as convenient as cereal.
As such this convenience lends itself to being a staple way of getting calories and nutrients in the diet for many people. The problem is many “healthy” adult cereals can have the same taste qualities of the cardboard box it’s stored in and the kid’s cereals can be sugar bombs. I provided my client with some cereal alternatives, that end up having a higher nutritional value than the healthy “adult cereals” while being just as easy to prepare.
Muesli – Museli is a dry cereal made from toasted oats, nuts, fruit, and wheat flakes. It is also a potent source of fiber, carbohydrates, antioxidants, healthy fats, and protein. It’s long been a preferred breakfast fuel source for athletes in Europe. There’s no preparation with this either, you just open up the package, pour, and go.
Amaranth – Amaranth is a good source of calcium, iron, potassium and has more protein than the often promoted super food quinoa. Amaranth has a light fluffy texture to it resembling a porridge and it can be eaten warm or cold. Throw in cinnamon and blueberries for a fast, easy, and flavorful breakfast. If you want to heat it you can also cook it in the microwave for a minute or boil on a stovetop for about 2 minutes and the seeds will soak up the milk and swell up.
Overnight Oats – Oatmeal is a good source of phosphorous, vitamin b1, biotin, and magnesium. Overnight oats give you the health benefit of oatmeal with the cool factor of cereal because they’re made to be eaten cold and on-the go. Leave oats in a bowl of a liquid of your choice (milk, almond milk, even yogurt) with some fruit or nuts added and place it in your refrigerator overnight so that the oats can soak up all the flavor.
Cream Of Wheat – Made from cooked wheat grains that form a creamy porridge. It’s a quick meal that can be made in minute microwaving it or boiling it on the stove. You can add your own fruit for a more vibrant taste or there are flavored packages available that are still often much lower in calorie/sugar content than any grocery store cereal. Cream of Wheat also provides a good source of calcium, iron, and b-vitamins.