the breakfast cereal mistakes derailing your weight loss efforts

If weight loss is your goal and you feel like you’re doing ~everything~ right but not seeing results, dietitian Melissa Meier shares the most common brekkie no no’s that you may be getting wrong. 

Contrary to popular opinion, breakfast cereal can be a super healthy way to start the day. Of course, there are plenty of options on the market that don’t quite hit the mark in terms of nutrition, but by the same token, there are many that get my tick of approval. Your cereal of choice can have a major impact on your weight loss effort – so if you’re a cereal kinda gal, listen up for five common breakkie bowl mistakes, and what to do instead.

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1. You’re eating the wrong type of breakfast cereal…

Some breakfast cereals are made with wholegrains, contain next to no added sugar and are super high in fibre, while others are made with highly refined carbs, tonnes of added sugar and not much else – and I’m sure you know which end of the spectrum I’d encourage you to choose from. The former is packed with top-quality nutrients and low-GI carbs to keep you feeling full and satisfied, while the latter is far less nutrient-dense and will send your blood sugars on a rollercoaster ride, meaning you’ll be after more food in no time.

2. You’re eating too much breakfast cereal…

Portion size is key when it comes to weight loss. Even if you’re eating healthy foods, it’s possible to eat too much, so it’ll pay to re-calibrate your portion size every now and then. In case you’re not aware, the recommended serving size on the packet isn’t regulated, so pay no notice to it. Instead, stick to one and a third cups of flaky breakfast cereal or half a cup of muesli – that’s equivalent to two healthy serves of grains.

3. Your go-to cereal is low in fibre…

I’m sure you know that fibre is essential for keeping you regular, but it does so much more than that. One of my favourite perks of fibre is that it is super satisfying – so when you’re trying to lose weight, it can really come in handy. You’re looking for at least five grams of fibre in your brekkie bowl, which is easy to achieve when you start with a base of wholegrains (and much harder when you’re working with refined ones).

4. Your brekkie meal is out of balance…

All this talk of breakfast cereal might have you thinking it’s a complete meal on its own, but it most certainly is not. Cereals are rich in carbohydrates, so they need to be paired with protein and fruit or veg for a well-rounded meal. Of course, the natural accompaniment to cereal is milk or yoghurt, and that’s a really good thing because dairy foods are packed with protein. Then simply add some fresh fruit for a hint of natural sweetness and hunger-busting fibre and voila – your balanced brekkie is served.

5. You’re adding too many extras…

I know breakfast cereal can be a little boring, which explains delicious additions like honey, dried fruit and peanut butter. If you’re on the weight loss bandwagon, however, I’d encourage you to minimise these extras – or steer clear altogether. They can add a stack of unnecessary kilojoules, which obviously isn’t ideal when you’re trying to shed kilos.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.

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