I often hear clients complain that they love the way they feel following the 40-30-30 Formula diet, but they miss eating an occasional bowl of breakfast cereal. The good news is, you don’t have to give up cereal if you simply learn how to make it part of a balanced meal.
Cereal is primarily a high-glycemic carbohydrate food. When you eat a bowl of cereal with added quality protein and a little healthy fat, you can lower the high glycemic response of the cereal, slowing its conversion into glucose, thereby helping to maintain normal blood sugar and insulin levels. Begin by choosing a low sugar cereal. I like to avoid wheat-based cereals and prefer to go the gluten-free route with rice, corn or oats. Next, decide if you want to add the protein and fat to the cereal or have it on the side. You can easily add organic, low fat milk mixed with a scoop of plain or flavored protein powder and add a few nuts. Or, you can have cereal with low fat milk and add the low- fat protein on the side such as lean Canadian bacon, sliced deli meats, eggs, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt.
Another simple tip to slow the digestion of a high- glycemic carbohydrate food like cereal is to eat several bites of the protein and fat first, before you begin eating the cereal. Protein and fat help slow the digestion of a meal so that it enters the bloodstream in a more controlled manner keeping control of blood sugar levels. Just remember that when carbohydrates, protein and fat are eaten close to the 40-30-30 ratio in a meal, digestion and absorption of the carbohydrate is slowed to help maintain steady blood sugar. Protein in a meal stimulates the release of the hormone glucagon, which regulates your body’s ability to burn stored body fat for energy.
When you add milk, protein powder and nuts to a bowl of cereal in a balanced 40-30-30 ratio and eat it all together, you can create the similar macronutrient ratio that is found in the Balance Bar®. So enjoy an occasional bowl of cereal and remember to always keep it balanced.
Below are several gluten-free cereal breakfast plans for you and your family to enjoy. The sample meals each contain about 300 calories, with approximately 32 grams of carbohydrate, 23 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat. You can find hundreds of personalized meal plans in our book, The Formula, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.
3/4 cup cooked old fashioned oatmeal
2/3 cup 2% low fat cottage cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon whipped butter
3 teaspoons low fat milk
1 tablespoon chopped nuts
Directions: Blend cottage cheese into hot oatmeal and top with brown sugar, butter, milk and nuts. If you prefer not to mix cottage cheese in the oatmeal, have it on the side.
3/4 cup corn cereal
1/2 cup 2% low fat milk
15 grams of protein powder
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon raw nuts
Directions: Mix protein powder and milk until blended. Pour over corn cereal and top with fresh blueberries and nuts.
1 cup rice cereal
1/2 cup 2% low fat milk
2 large whole eggs
Directions: Combine cereal and milk. Serve cooked eggs on the side.
Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar® spokesperson and national best-selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.