Ask the Dietitian: How Do I Include Cereal as Part of a Filling Meal?
I love breakfast cereal and have since I was a child. But it never fills me. Do you have suggestions on how to include cereal as part of a meal without feeling hungry shortly after? —Emily
Thanks for this great question, Emily. As a fellow cereal lover, I recognize the feeling. Cereal is crunchy, refreshing, and satisfying! But despite feeling full soon after eating, that’s often short-lived. Within an hour, hunger is bound to strike. Before I share ways to avoid that post-cereal sugar crash, let’s uncover why it happens.
Most breakfast cereals are rich in carbohydrates, whether they’re wheat-, oat-, rice-, or corn-based. Carbohydrate-rich foods can be incredibly supportive for dancers because they offer the body a reliable source of energy. But unless your cereal is also rich in fiber, that energy may not last long. Including cereal as part of a balanced meal helps increase its staying power (a food’s ability to leave you feeling satisfied for longer). Here are a few suggestions to promote the staying power of your next bowl:
- Add protein: Protein is a macronutrient that helps to keep you feeling full for longer. Enjoying your cereal as a topping for yogurt or cottage cheese, simply enjoying it with milk, or eating it alongside another protein-rich food, like eggs, can help.
- Include fats: Like protein, foods rich in fat take a bit of time to digest, so you’re left satisfied for longer. Top your cereal with a handful of chopped nuts, like almonds or walnuts, or a handful of seeds, like hemp or chia.
- Boost the fiber: Choosing a cereal made with whole grains will help, but that still might not keep you full through an entire ballet class. Consider an additional sprinkle of ground flax, wheat bran, or oat bran for an extra boost of fiber.
- Add fruit: Whether frozen or fresh, fruits like berries, bananas, or peaches can increase the overall volume of your meal.
Remember, everyone’s hunger and satiety levels are different, so listen to your body and adjust ingredients to suit your individual preferences. The next time you get ready to enjoy a bowl of cereal, consider its staying power and try these suggestions to help you stay feeling full, satisfied, and energized for dance.
Have a question? Send it to registered dietitian nutritionist Rachel Fine at [email protected]. She’ll be answering questions on Pointe+ each month. Ask the Dietitian responses are for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.