Growing up, cereal was a staple in my diet. I'd have it for breakfast, snacks, and even sometimes, for dinner. But when I started eating healthier, it was one of the things I gave up because of the high sugar content. It was also one of the foods that I missed the most! Yes, I tried some healthier cereal versions-some were okay and some were just awful...but they just weren't the same as my Honeycomb or Captain Crunch!
Over the last year or so my nutrition philosophy has changed a bit-it's evolved from obsessive "clean" eating to a much more balanced approach. Now that I don't believe there are any foods I "can't" eat or that will make me fat, I've realized that I CAN eat cereal and still achieve my goals of being lean and fit.
"But wait!", you say, "Cereal is so unhealthy and so high in sugar!"
Yes, cereal is usually high in sugar, but I don't eat it every day. Most of my carb sources come from natual, unprocessed foods: oats, sprouted grain bread, potatoes, fruit and rice. Having a bowl of cereal once or twice a week is not going to make me fat and/or unhealthy!
The thing is, now I control my portion size, which is something that most people have a hard time with when it comes to cereal. I limit myself to one bowl(about a cup to one and a half cups), rather than the 2 huge bowls that I used to eat in one sitting! And I'm telling you, I thoroughly enjoy every single bite.
Of course, now I would never have just cereal alone for a meal, as I try to always have a protein source with every meal. But I have had cereal for dinner a few times in the past year, something I would have NEVER allowed myself to do a couple of years ago. No, I had to choke down the chicken and broccoli every night that I hated because "carbs at night make you fat"!
I actually believe that allowing myself to have a bowl of cereal once or twice a week helps me to stay lean. What? How is that possible? Well, letting myself have foods that I enjoy every now and then(cereal being just one example), even if they aren't the healthiest, reduces my cravings because I'm not depriving myself of a food I love. I don't walk past something in the grocery store anymore and think, 'oh I wish I could eat that!' Because now I know that I CAN have anything if I really want it.
Having cereal a couple times a week keeps me from completely falling off the wagon and/or binge eating as many restrictive eaters do after resisting certain foods for so long. Since I eat enough food from all food groups as well as plenty of healthy carbs and even sugar in moderation, there is rarely a time when I have a horrible sugar or sweet cravings. I also choose to eat my high sugar cereal post-workout, at a time when my body will put the sugar and carbs to good use. I mean, it just contributes to the gaaaains, duh!! ;)
Are there any "unhealthy" foods that you would never be able to completely give up?