Let Them Eat Cereal

I have a confession to make: I love breakfast cereal. It doesn’t matter what kind, I’ll eat them all. There’s something about that combination of cool, creamy milk and crispy yet slightly soggy cereal pieces that just makes  my day. I can eat cereal at any time of day. I find it particularly comforting for dinner or as a bedtime snack.

Unfortunately, breakfast cereal doesn’t like me.  If you’re diabetic, or just familiar with the glycemic index, you probably know where I’m coming from. The cereal tastes great until about 2 hours later when it’s pressing on my stomach walls  like a lead balloon, causing a nasty headache, a cottony coating on my tongue, and that hung-over high blood sugar feeling. Yuck.

I had sworn off the stuff for years after one final nasty experience in college. I over bolused for a giant bowl of late-morning cereal in the cafeteria, which resulted in a low about an hour later and then a nasty high that lasted most of the afternoon.  That was the last straw. I avoided the cereal aisle at the store, and stopped buying milk.

But a couple of years ago, my resolve weakened and I risked the cereal aisle again. I spent nearly an hour there reading labels, looking for a high-fiber, low sugar cereal. I settled on frosted shredded wheat. And through trial and error, I discovered a neat little secret: cereal works if I don’t add the milk. So I began a new love-affair with cereal — with dry cereal.

But this small step back towards my weakness proved fatal. Soon I was craving cereal with milk again. I tried it a couple of times, and even after carefully measuring both cereal and milk, I still faced the nasty post-cereal high. Certainly there was a better way. I explored the dairy section, looking for a low-carb milk or a milk substitute. Unfortunately, all of the lactose-free milks still had high carb counts. Then I stumbled upon the “alternative” milks in the health food section. Rice milk was out, because the carb count was still high, but soy milk (unsweetened,  of course,) might work.

I tried it. It was disgusting. And it didn’t agree with my stomach. I had just about given up my search when I noticed a new variety of “milk” in the health food section: Almond milk.

The clouds parted and the sun shone on that little box of magic. Just two grams of carb, 3 grams of fat, and 40 calories per every 8 ounce serving. And while it doesn’t taste exactly like milk, it’s pretty darn good, especially with a nutty cereal like Grape Nuts or, my favorite guilty pleasure, Cranberry Almond Crunch. I find that I need to add a little extra artificial sweetener to compensate for the lack of lactose, but my craving is satisfied and, as long as I choose a fiber-rich cereal, I can avoid the nasty post-cereal high.

As an added bonus, it’s packaged in these giant juice-box-like containers that are shelf stable for months. I keep one in the pantry and one in the refrigerator, so I’m ready whenever the cereal craving hits!

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3 Comments on “Let Them Eat Cereal”

  1. Sweets Says:

    I can “feel” the love you have for cereal from your post! I don’t share the love, although I do like a muesli (sans raisins) with yoghurt, or a recent find – chocolate quinoa, also with yoghurt. Now I have myself craving a bowl of those! But for me a sandwich is breakfast – and a sandwich with cheese is my vice…

    How’s Lukas?

  2. Bethany Says:

    oh i have the exact opposite issue … i HATE cereal lol. i think i’m the only one in the world who dislikes it lol. either way just wanted to say hi and congrats on the baby boy … he’s getting so big. i can’t wait for my little one!

  3. Kathy Says:

    I can’t leave the house without my cereal. But, I agree its not good for BGs. After some experimenting, I found the Special K Protein cereal works the best for me. I do add a little granola for taste and texture, but its not bad. I use as little milk as I can. I will try the almond milk though. That would probably be a good mix with the taste of the granola. Thanks for the tip.

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