An Easy Breakfast Trick to Slash Calories & Boost Nutrition

Hi there, Mamas!  Breakfast is often hailed as the most important meal of the day, but how often do you feel like your breakfast either weighs you down or leaves you ravenous in just an hour or two?  Keep reading to see how this one easy tip can help you cut calories, keep you feeling fuller, and start your day with a powerful antioxidant boost!

start day right pin

What are you eating?

When it comes to breakfast, most of us are probably eating grains of some kind – cereal, pancakes, waffles, are muffins are all common breakfast grain-based products.  For the sake of argument, let’s say a typical breakfast is the classic cereal and milk.

Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not anti-grain, and I’m definitely not anti-cereal!  But, on days that I eat cereal for breakfast, I usually feel like I’m either using up all of my calories for the day (with bran cereals) or I’m hungry again in an hour or two (not good when you’re at home with a toddler who wants to eat whenever you eat – also not ideal for a job out of the house… you lose focus!).

How to fix it… and kickstart your day!

To fix your breakfast without adding unnecessary calories – but to harness the staying power of a satisfying meal – add another food group!  (See my rules for complete meals and snacks here.) My favorite (for breakfast, anyways) is fruit.  Fruit has a high fiber and water content, so it works to fix each of these problems.  Allow me to show you.

The culprit:

Filling, higher calorie bran cereal.

I love bran cereal, but it is so compacted that serving sizes tend to be pretty small and they pack a caloric (although nutritious) punch.  Let’s see what happens when we add one serving of blueberries and take away one serving of cereal:

Crack oat branI know, the “after” picture looks almost ridiculous because it looks like mostly blueberries.  Trust me, if we were to flip and out the berries in the bottom, it would look like mostly cereal.  There are 3/4 cup of each in that bowl.  You saved 35% of the calories that were in two servings of cereal, cut half the fat, and didn’t lose too much in the way of filling fiber.

The culprit:

Less fibrous cereals that leave you ravenous after only an hour or two.

There are a couple cereals that could fit here:  Most corn cereals (even if they’re whole grain corn) and refined cereals.  Refined cereals aren’t whole grain cereals, and they remove the bran (fiber) and germ (protein and healthy fats) – ya know, all of the things that make food filling.  Check out what fruit does for these types of cereals:

corn chex

By adding 1 serving of berries in lieu of a second cereal serving (try saying that five times fast), you’ve cut the calories by 25%, but the fruit added even more fiber to hold you through until lunch (or at least a late-morning snack).

*Please note that adding 1 cup of 1% milk will add an additional 100 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 0 grams fiber, and 8 grams protein to all of the cereal/berry combos shown.

The best part

The greatest part of this little trick is that you can totally customize it to fit your life!  I know that no two of us have the exact same circumstances or taste preferences (which is why I provide you with toddler-approved recipes that you can adjust to your own sweetie’s tastes – like this one, this one, or even this one).

Use berries, bananas (about half of a medium banana will put you at the 60 calorie mark), even apples (4 ounces by weight will get you there – love apple chunks in oatmeal!).

Or, if you skip the cereal, add some fruit instead of a double portion of other grains.  Save that second slice of toast for an orange or have a kiwi with your waffles.

No matter your combo, you can be sure that by adding fruit to your breakfast, you’re starting your day with a filling fiber and antioxidant punch that can’t be beat!

What’s your fave way to supercharge breakfast?

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