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SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,293
4/30/13 9:46 A

Dried fruit is concentrated sugar and usually high in calories...dried fruits can make your weight loss program a complete disaster...fresh fruit has more fiber which will satisfy your appetite.

...better off buying berries and freezing them for easy access. Berries have the least imact on blood sugar. Barley has soluble and insoluble fiber like oatmeal but Barley has more fiber than oatmeal. Both are good at breakfast.

Coattge cheese has protein...I add a handful of matchstick carrots and some romaine.

Just some ideas.

AFCANTRELL SparkPoints: (27,661)
Fitness Minutes: (15,314)
Posts: 801
4/30/13 9:44 A

Just a recommendation.. try to include a fresh fruit with your breakfast or as a morning snack if your breakfast was filling enough. I try to get some grains and a good amount of protein in my breakfasts. For example this morning I had grits with a little cheese then I added a tbsp of wheat germ (this is for fiber and omega 3s.. it just tastes like tiny crumbles of toast). Then I scrambled some egg & egg whites together and added a little cheese in it. Altogether my breakfast was around 400 calories. I will have a fresh banana as a morning snack. :)

Another breakfast example might be a granola based cereal (this is just rolled oats.. you can make your own with few ingredients. I buy Cascadian Farms granola sometimes with $1 off coupon from Then you can add things into your cereal like almonds, dark chocolate chips, or fresh fruit, or dried fruit. I just wouldn't eat dried fruit daily for the amount of sugar it usually has.. more than fresh fruit.

Congrats on current changes & good luck with future changes! Keep the motivation!

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
4/29/13 4:54 P

I guess instant oatmeal has come a long way since the last time I ate it.

I second the congratulations on what you've accomplished. Ignore me otherwise if what you're doing is working for you. :)

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (250,265)
Fitness Minutes: (41,449)
Posts: 26,965
4/29/13 4:34 P

I think that you need to be congratulated for the changes that you have made.

The meals isn't just about calories, and not all calories are equal. (I'm not meaning specifically with your food choices.) When I have 2 slices of very good quality high protein and fibre, and low fat/sodium/sugar toast, with a protein spread, a piece of fruit and some yoghurt, I am quite hungry within 2 hours. When I have Rolled Oats made with 50% water, 50% soy milk, a teeny weeny bit of brown sugar (3-4grams), a piece of fruit and a cup of tea, the food lasts me for a lot longer, yet the calories are less. If my sister ate what I do, the effect on her is totally opposite. My breakfast is generally my lightest meal of the day, but generally lasts me better than the others, which are also healthy. My dinner is generally the heaviest (calories/protein/fibre.) Maybe you could allow a bit more for your afternoon snack so that you eat something while you are preparing your dinner? Perhaps yoghurt and a few nuts? It is pretty easy to tweak the food intake to accommodate this - a tiny bit less for dinner and lunch.

If nothing else, you have lost 20lb in a year and that is not to be sneezed at. Regardless of where your weight is now, that is 20lb less that you are carrying around, and your body WILL be thanking you for it in ways that perhaps you can't see :-)


Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 4/29/2013 (16:59)
4/29/13 3:59 P

Thanks so much everyone for the responses. I appreciate it very much!

The oatmeal is the High Fiber kind (10g) and I believe it has 7g of sugar.
This is way better than what I used to eat, which would be a fast food breakfast sandwich; toast with cinnamon, sugar, and butter; donuts; or cereal such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch. So, I do applaud myself for choosing the oatmeal and Special K.

I usually eat breakfast around 6am. I am satisfied until 9:15ish for a snack, then I eat another small snack around 11am. Lunch is at 1:30. Supper around 5pm. I guess I am so worried about sticking to my calories head on. But I do think making healthier choices is more important. They say, eat "breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper". I seem to do the opposite, eating a large supper and smaller breakfast. I've gotten so used to eating every few hours that when I think about doing the 3 square meals, I'm not sure if I can or if it's the best choice. My snacks are usually a 100cal package of walnuts/almonds (Emerald); 2 hard boiled eggs; fruit; Special K chips/bar/etc. I usually have two or three of those snacks a day. My weakness is dinner time. I usually walk in the door and say I'm hungry then bam, fast food meal or a Lean Cuisine frozen dinner. If I choose the latter, I'm hungry an hour or so later. I went through a "crockpot phase" but that died down, LOL. And one last note, I've gone from drinking a 32oz Dr. Pepper (pretty much everyday) to maybe a 12oz can once a week or every other week. This is what I'm most proud of! I've lost 20lbs and kept it off for a year, but haven't budged any since.

Thanks again everyone!!

*Edited: If I choose a fast food meal for supper, it may be a bowl of chili and plain hamburger or a grilled chicken sandwich.

Edited by: JENNAYSAYHAY at: 4/29/2013 (16:00)
NIRERIN Posts: 14,274
4/29/13 3:32 P

i think you need to note that healthy is a relative term.
so if you're having your breakfast instead of a donut, that's a great choice. if you're skipping an egg omelet with peppers and kale, raspberries and a glass of milk in favor of this then it's likely not as good of a choice. but you have to remember what is practical for you right now. if you don't have time to whip up an omelet and don't keep a variety of veggies in the house, then that's not a realistic option for you. so compare your breakfast to what you have available otherwise and let that be your guide.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
4/29/13 2:30 P

What you want to ask yourself about this meal, is, "Is it a SATISFYING choice?"

Does it keep you full till coffee break or lunch? Or does it leave you gnawing your arm off, ravenously starving, by 10am?

On the "pro" side: Your choices make nutritional sense in that they contain sufficient vitamins, minerals, protein... and they are convenient, quick, and easy to portion-control. Chances are, it's a lower-calorie, more balanced meal than whatever you'd been eating "before." So, these are good things.

My biggest concern would be that it wouldn't be "sustaining." I guess the "protein enhanced" cereal would help with this, but, I tend to agree with those responders who are suggesting you add a little more protein to this meal. And perhaps a little more fibre.

Try your meal as you planned it. See if it "works" for you. If not, well then, work on tweaking it to remain "healthy" but yet provide a little more lasting satisfaction.... tips like adding yogurt, or exchanging the sugary instant-oatmeal packets with homemade oatmeal, or adding fresh fruit or a hard boiled egg alongside - all good ideas - pick the one(s) that sound promising to your time/kitchen habits/tastebuds, and go from there :)

Edit: and yeah - basically everything Elengil just said!!!!

Edited by: BUNNYKICKS at: 4/29/2013 (14:31)
ELENGIL Posts: 957
4/29/13 2:05 P

JENNAYSAYHAY, Healthy is often more a matter of portion size than the food itself. Overall health is also more than a single meal, so would you be willing to share what your breakfasts *used* to look like before you tried to make it healthy? Also, what else do you eat during the day?

My breakfasts are one of a few things, almost always containing 2 eggs, a fruit or a green smoothie, sometimes some whole grains (rice, pita bread, corn tortilla), and water or tea. I've had instant oatmeal before, flax plus, with has moderately less sugar than some fruited flavors.

But again, the overall daily intake and how you feel after the meal are better indications of 'healthy' than just what the food is on the surface.

Are you falling in your range for calories and nutrients? Does your meal keep you till you next eat without growing weak or starving? Do you like the taste of your food!? If all these are "yes", then enjoy your breakfast :)

If you're answering no, however, that might be where a problem lies. If you aren't eating enough to keep you till your next meal or snack, or you aren't eating the right kinds of things to keep you full, you may want to think about adjusting what you're eating.

If you're getting too much sugar, calories, or carbohydrates, you might want to consider adjusting what you're eating.

If you're only eating this for breakfast to lose weight and you really hate the taste, you might *really* want to reconsider what you're eating.

But if you have plenty of energy, aren't overly hungry by lunch, and you enjoy your food, I'd say you're eating just fine. emoticon

CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
Posts: 827
4/29/13 10:49 A

JCWIAKALA: makes a good point about making small changes. when i started spark, a lot of times my breakfast was a frozen waffle and v8 juice. (processed and lots of sodium, i know). But having the waffle without syrup and cutting down on the cream and sugar in my coffee were two small steps for me that weren't overwhelming. After nearly a year of maintaining, I still eat cereal and instant oatmeal.

to the op: does your breakfast keep you full? for some people, cereal doesn't really keep them full.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
4/29/13 10:33 A

Special K cereal is refined grains and the 3rd ingredient is sugar. I love cereal, but I treat it as a "dessert" and add 1/4 or 1/3 of serving on top of my yogurt "desserts" after dinner. Considering you're having oatmeal, which would be the better choice (I'll get to that in a minute) and they are both a carb, you'd be better to choose one or the other. Especially since in addition to both you're having dried bananas which are also extremely high in carbs.

So as others have stated, too many carbs... not enough protein or healthy fats. Now there's nothing wrong with choosing the *right* carbs in the morning. I think it's best to a good carby breakfast in the morning to replenish glycogen stores after fasting overnight, especially if you workout first thing in the morning and do cardio but you still want a good balance of carbs, healthy fats and protein. You also want to choose more complex carbs.

Oatmeal can be a good source of complex as well as include some proteins and healthy fats. However, the instant kind is loaded in added sugar and uses quick oats (heavily refined and striped of fibre). So that, in addition to the dried bananas and cereal will burn away quickly and cause you to crash, burn and hungry again shortly after. If I had that sugary of a breakfast in the morning I would feel run down, tired, cranky and hungry all morning.

Choose plain old fashioned oats or steel cut oats, they are higher in fibre and contain more of the whole grain. They will take longer for your body to break down and keep you satisfied longer without the crash from refined grains/added sugar. Then add your own fresh fruit, berries are a great source of fibre (I also love banana in the morning though, good source of simple carbs first thing to replenish glycogen stores and lots of potassium), add a nut butter or nuts/seeds for healthy fat (ground flaxseed is a popular addition, fibre, healthy fats, protein). You can even add eggs/egg whites or yogurt (Greek) for added protein. Then add your own spices. If not have eggs or Greek yogurt on the side. Remember to choose plain yogurts and add your own fruit. Yogurt can have just as much added sugar in it as ice cream. So be cautious when choosing.

Personally, if I don't get enough carbs in the morning or after my workout and were to just choose proteins and fats. I feel super tired and grouchy all morning and by the evening my legs go dead. If you workout, you're going to need your carbs but it's about choosing the *right* carbs. Get your simple carbs from fruit and dairy (naturally occurring sugars) and limit your intake of added sugars. Choose complex carbs above simple carbs: whole grains, vegetables, legumes, lentils, fruit, nuts, seeds etc.

Think *whole* and *fresh*.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 4/29/2013 (11:19)
ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
4/29/13 10:19 A

Hi there!

I'm assuming that you are looking at either the Special K Protein with milk and bananas, or the Quaker Oatmeal.

Personally, I do prepared cereals in the morning, too (for me, it's either Cheerios or Quaker oatmeal). While not "clean" and highly processed, these are, to me, a reasonably healthy breakfast, and do keep me full until at least my morning snack. My body doesn't like multivitamins or supplements, but can deal with supplemented foods, so I use the prepared cereals as a vitamin supplement. I personally like a bit more fibre than that in the morning, so add a couple of tablespoons each of oat bran and wheat germ, which ups the nutrient count and adds more fibre.

I took a look at the Special K info, and it is highly fortified with iron, folate, and other vitamins, which allows it to basically replace a multi-vitamin. That it has 10g of protein is great (although I would enjoy the skim milk with it for the extra 8g of protein). It's not ridiculously high in sugar, and is ok at 3g of fibre.

You might want to consider making the Quaker Oatmeal with milk instead of water in order to add more protein on the mornings when you have this choice.

Honestly, your choices look perfectly reasonable to me (and kudos for finding that Special K Protein cereal - it's got one of the best nutrition panels that I've seen on a cereal). A few things that you may want to consider would be to have it with a high Vitamin C fruit (which helps your body absorb non-heme iron), and to add some fat (maybe 1% milk, or some almonds), which will help your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins.

As you continue on in your healthy lifestyle, you may find that you prefer to eat more "clean" and unprocessed, and your tastes and choices will change. That's not something that has to happen all at once, so take your time and figure out what works for you. You're already making some good choices which should work for you for now. In time, you may decide to change them up for something less processed, but that'll be for you to choose when you feel that it's right.

Good job in doing the research on healthier foods, and making some good choices! I hope you find your continuing journey into healthier eating to be fun and rewarding!

JENSTRESS Posts: 5,403
4/29/13 10:12 A

I agree with everyone here. Baby steps are best, and if this is a better and lower calorie breakfast than what you used to eat, then it is a good start.

However, the foods are very processed and very high on the glycemic index, meaning they will raise your blood sugar a lot and then you will crash and be hungry quickly.

I have a smoothie every day for breakfast. Any day that I don't have a smoothie, I have eggs. (Prepared any way). I pick lots of whole foods in my smoothies, and usually add chia seeds.

NENATO2 SparkPoints: (185,008)
Fitness Minutes: (165,143)
Posts: 7,377
4/29/13 9:59 A

Great advice from the post that said to start gradual changes.. I usually use bran as a topping to my sugar free yogurt and then a couple of hours later I'll have an ounce of 75% reduced fat sharp cheddar and a healthy, small bagel (healthy meaning low cal). Then an hour or so before my lunch, I'll enjoy a piece of fruit.

Baby steps are best.

Edited by: NENATO2 at: 4/29/2013 (10:00)
4/29/13 9:59 A

Eggs cooked in some coconut oil or butter and fruit would be a much better choice IMO.

What you've chosen is 1) Very processed. 2) Very high in blood sugar raising carbohydrates.

JCWIAKALA Posts: 347
4/29/13 9:50 A

Please be aware that SP is filled with people who are very committed to eating as clean and nutritious as possible. When you solicit advise about your meals, people are usually going to offer suggestions along those lines. The suggestions they make to someone who is brand new at eating healthy my seam extreme and overwhelming.

For instance, the breakfast you suggested may be far lower in calories and fat than what you're used to. Many people may suggest oatmeal with chia seeds, fresh fruit, and almond milk. Those two breakfasts are still such polar opposites.

The point I'm making is that you'll want to start making changes gradually. Don't be overwhelmed by the responses with clean, organic suggestions. You'll more than likely want to give up because the changes will be do extreme.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
4/29/13 8:46 A

That instant oatmeal has a TON of sugar (and not much in the way of staying power either). The cereal may or may not be better -- I'm not familiar with it.

I usually prefer a light breakfast myself and am anything but obsessed with carbohydrates as such, so a good cereal with milk and maybe fruit sounds fine to me (with more interesting stuff to come later in the day). Adding the oatmeal makes it more calories than I'd usually have for breakfast, though, and it's not adding much of anything for you except sugar. If it were me, I'd rethink that part of it.

BUKOWSKI1 SparkPoints: (71)
Fitness Minutes: (200)
Posts: 3
4/28/13 9:26 P

If the dried bananas are like the dried sugary banana chips then it would be better to replace that with fresh bananas.
Greek yogurt with chia seeds and some flaxseeds would also be good. If you want to stay full you should have some protein. You could try mixing some chia seeds into your oatmeal and cereal.
Having an egg along with your cereal and oatmeal would also be good for some protein.

LDHAWKE SparkPoints: (19,069)
Fitness Minutes: (1,818)
Posts: 771
4/28/13 9:22 P

I do not think this is a good start to any day. Your stated "start" is too dry and overloaded with carbs. You need to start your day with more protein, like eggs, peanut butter or yogurt.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (250,265)
Fitness Minutes: (41,449)
Posts: 26,965
4/28/13 8:59 P

Without commenting on WHAT you have chosen as such, I would be inclined to add more protein into it. Do you eat yoghurt? Perhaps Greek yoghurt? Maybe some nuts? How about some fresh fruit? How long before you get hungry? Are you inclined to snack a lot after? If so, is it easy ''grab and go' stuff that may not be so wise?

Do you use the Nutrition Tracker? If so, you can use that as a guide if you need to tweak.

Good luck,

4/28/13 8:44 P

A serving of Special K Protein cereal with splash of skim milk (I do not drink the milk)
A few pieces of dried bananas tossed in
Serving of Quaker Instant Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal (160cal)

Curious to know if this would be considered a good start. Currently in the process of learning everything, HEALTHY! Any inputs would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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