Bad Meal of the Day - Breakfast Cereal

May 15, 2008 · 21 comments

I don’t usually eat cereal for breakfast but the last couple of days were exceptions. I needed something fast, and having a bowl of cereal with skim milk sounded like it would hit the spot. How bad can a bowl of cereal be?

How about 640 calories.

How’s that, you ask? Well, first you start with Golden Grahams at 120 calories per 3/4 cup serving. Then you multiply that by 4 because instead of going with the paltry serving size you fill up a large bowl (which you later measure to be 3 cups). Then add 2 cups of skim milk at 80 calories each and there is your 640 calories.

Now that’s not a terrible meal, and actually it wasn’t really the worst of the day (Burger Emporium for dinner was), but it was interesting to me because until I actually measured it out I really didn’t know that I was , when I did eat cereal, habitually eating FOUR SERVINGS.

Portion sizes can be a real killer.

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MizFit May 16, 2008 at 4:17 am


cereal is my downfall on every single level.

even the “ick this is for health but Ill eat it” ones like fiber one (LOVE!) I hath no control when I eat and even after measuring our a serving end up with the boxinhand.


I pass and do oatmeal.


No More Fat Dad May 16, 2008 at 10:26 am

Too funny, I just broke down and had cereal twice in the last week after avoiding it for the past 5 months.

I used to have cereal every morning, I even have a special cereal bowl that is huge (so I could eat more at one sitting!).

I don’t like the sugary cereals, with the exception of Golden Grahms and PB Captain Crunch. Rice Crispies, Rice Chex, Cheerios and Frosted Shredded Mini-Wheats are my choice.

Like you, I finally gave in to cereal this last week because of convenience. I realize it’s basically empty calories, but I did add some strawberries or bananas to the bowl, that helps right???

Steve v4.6 May 16, 2008 at 11:54 am

I used to love cereal, and not just for breakfast. I kept a dry bowl full of Cracklin’ Oat Bran on my desk just for snacking. I swear I went through a box a week that way. Calorie-wise it was a nightmare but I was as regular as the trains in Belgium.

Nadine May 16, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Before I got back on WW, my cereal would be two 2 cup bowls. Usually the milk from the first was left over, and sometimes I’d add more. I knew it was “bad” but I ignored it.

Israel May 17, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Just tagged ya over at FMU!

mrs darling May 17, 2008 at 10:53 pm

This is exactly why I no longer eat cereal! But oh, how I miss it!

justoofat May 18, 2008 at 8:14 am

I’ve started eating cereal out of a cup instead of a bowl. I don’t eat cereal all that much anymore, but that way, when I do, I can be assured that I am not eating more than one serving. That said, a “cup” of cereal usually isn’t that satisfying — especially when you consider the nearly 200 calories that it takes out of your day, so these days I hardly ever reach for the cereal box.

I like your idea of logging poor choices instead of good ones, John. That way the bad ones can’t hide in a day’s worth of healthy living. On the other hand, don’t forget about all the good choices you make too! After all, each one is a victory.


goodbyetoallfat May 18, 2008 at 9:57 am

I’ve often wondered about the often quoted statistic that people who don’t have breakfast weigh more, and those who don’t eat more later in the day. I have always, always had breakfast … and I now weigh 320 lbs (hence have JUST started a diet and JUST started a brand new weight loss / life change blog!).

I think the scientists got it wrong somewhere !!! Cereal only works as a “diet” option if served in really small bowls.

Weight Ladder May 19, 2008 at 3:48 pm

You have been tagged to produce your very own 6 word memoir…

fatbastard May 21, 2008 at 5:38 pm

Yes, I was kinda shocked when I found that a box of cereal has about 19 servings (and it would typically be about four for me before I started paying attention). But cereal is only one of the serving size bad guys. We’ve been trained to eat far more than the standard serving size.

Grains and pastas are the most frequent offenders. Check out what a regular serving of spaghetti looks like (I tended to eat about four). Meats are another culprit. I used to look at the microwave boxes of SmartOnes and wonder how that could be considered a meal. But if you look at it it is one portion of each item.

Congratulations on reaching a level of awareness! You’ll become a smarter eater for it.

MamaBearJune May 21, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Get smaller bowls and healthier cereal! Kashi Go Lean is pretty good and has higher protein than most of those others. I like the cooked Kashi cereals, too. Some of the new Kashi granola cereals are yummy, too. Mountain Medley and Cocoa Beach are my favorite two flavors. But you definitely need to use a small bowl. I think they are filling.

And the “people who eat breakfast weigh less” statistics don’t give you complete freedom to eat anything you want for breakfast. If you have a Denny’s Grand Slam B’fast every day, I guarantee you aren’t going to lose weight! ;-)

John May 22, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Did you ever see my post on a super healthy way to start your day? It involves mixing two healthy cereals and some chocolate. Interested yet? I thought so.

Also, I just posted a review of the Wii Fit.

Cynthia May 22, 2008 at 9:19 pm

I don’t eat cereal often… but I do keep a box of Kashi GoLean in the pantry in case I need a quick meal. I find a cup serving is fine… but I also add some whey or whey/casein protein powder to my milk. When you get that extra protein, that helps fill you. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of flax meal as well.

Mostly though, I eat 5-6 egg whites and one Omega-3 egg as an omelet with veggie filling for breakfast. It’s big, and the veggies fill you and I have some reduced fat cheese as well and a piece of fruit. All for less than 400 calories.

Dawn May 23, 2008 at 2:05 pm

This makes me even happier to hate cereal, blech. But seriously, portion sizes can be the real killer and I think you’ve proved it again - switch all of your dishes to small and don’t look back!

IAAdmin May 24, 2008 at 10:07 am

When I eat cereal, which isn’t too often, I like it dry as a snack. But, in regards to portion size, I serve it up in a one cup like measuring cup, limiting myself to one.

It works for me……………………..:)

John Kaiser May 27, 2008 at 8:43 am

“I like it [cereal] dry as a snack”

I’ve almost never eaten breakfast cereal with milk. My dad on the other hand eats his breakfast cereal mixed with orange juice.

Clinton Walker III May 27, 2008 at 11:31 am

Acutally the cereal is the not the big problem. You just need to control the portion size. Also you still need to make sure you take in enough calories to raise your metabolism. Balance your food intake throughout the day. If you have a bad lunch make sure dinner is something baked or broiled to make up for it. You can make mistakes as long as the overall day is not bad.

Manuela May 30, 2008 at 11:26 am

I love cereal and have participated in the special K challenge by replacing lunch with a bowl of cereal - it worked and I still do this when I need to lose a few pounds.

Metroknow - June 4, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Hi John - I wrote a story about this a couple of months ago that you might find interesting. I actually came up with 830 calories by making my meal mirror the picture of a “balanced breakfast” that was on the cover of most of the cereal boxes I remember growing up. Not to mention, most folks think that Cheerios are better than Trix…not actually true in the calorie department. They are nearly identical.

Here’s the link:

jerry June 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Hey that’s exactly why i left cereals long back for all the reasons cited above and I switched to other healthy things and instead of milk I have purple as a drink, It’s awesome, tastes good, can mix it with smoothies and cocktails and make a host of other things with it and guess what it has the strongest antioxidant punch ever with 7 fruit juices in it! wow! I have that at breakfast to make it a bearable since I also used to hate it at one point of time but with purple it makes every meal delicious. Hey people thought something to make breakfast bearable so shared this with you, you can find more information on Please try it adn let me know if you liked it or not and yes you can get it at GNC and drug stores, just in case.

organic noni juice June 17, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Yeah, I love cereal also and I am very aware of the caloric intake from a bowl of cereal with whole milk. I like to eat it as a snack, and my reasoning is that a bowl of Kashi is better than a bowl of Haagen Daz, right? Oh well, what are you gonna do? Thanks for the post, it was quite entertaining!

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