Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Most Important Meal of the Day

It's been stated by many nutritionists and other experts that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This makes sense in a lot of respects...people generally stop eating at around 8PM (although it's 10:30PM when I write this and I'm snacking on chips and salsa), which means by the time we wake up, we will have gone without food for up to 12 hours.

Of course, when you consider that you're expending significantly less energy when sleeping, this might not be such a big deal, but constant food energy is important for maintaining a specific body weight. I don't dig on the idea of skipping breakfast, although I must admit that I'm generally not that hungry when I wake up. I usually keep it simple, although I do like waffles made from scratch (I make 'em with banana and chocolate chips, with whole wheat flour, a scoop full of protein powder, and oatmeal).

Cereal and milk is the quickest and easiest. I used to stick to one cereal and have nothing but that, although that may have been due to parents being responsible for grocery shopping. I never could eat that fast when I was a kid, which is why I now make a point of not eating Corn Flakes, because they get soggy in a matter of seconds.

About halfway through childhood, the transition was made to Rice Krispies and then Cheerios. As I grew older, we would mix it up a bit and would have different things, and even mix them together. Plain Cheerios mixed with Honey Nut Cheerios is good for toning down the sweetness that makes you bounce off the walls.

Since I started getting my own groceries, I just buy what's on sale. Cereal is cereal, although I will definitely avoid anything where sugar is the first or second ingredient (eg: Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Lucky Charms).

On my last grocery trip I picked up a box of Kellogg's Vector and a thing of Frosted Mini-Wheats. Yes, cereal is great because it's quick, easy, and it's simple.

Or, so I thought. "Directions for use"? How much more complicated can it get other than "Add milk to cereal"? When I was a kid, on occasion, I would pour the milk in first (which is generally a bad idea because cereal floats), but come on!

Since when do we need instructions on how to eat cereal? Perhaps this is intended for countries where dairy consumption isn't a regular thing. Or, perhaps it's for people who are obsessive as to their exact caloric intake.

What I'm curious to know is who generally has the time in the morning to painstakingly measure exactly 300mL or 1 1/4 cups (which is actually inaccurate...1 1/4 cups really converts to 312.5mL in metric) of cereal, and then 200mL or 3/4 cup (which converts to 187.5 mL in metric) of milk?

I guess the same type of people who have the time to calculate how inaccurate the conversion from imperial to metric is when written on the box.

I got bored, so I compared my usual helping (left) with the one dictated by the instructions (I'm using imperial measurements, so it's exactly 1 1/4 cups). I guess this would mean I'm getting a little bit more of my RDI (recommended daily intake) of all the goodness that Vector provides. An eyeball estimate (no, I did not take the contents out of the bowl and measure them) would suggest I'm eating 40% more than the suggested serving.

I suppose this might be a good thing that they go into that much detail when it comes to how much you're supposed to be eating at any given time, especially given the controversy over serving sizes in fast food restaurants. You may argue that this isn't really the same thing, considering that cereal and milk is better for you. But then, you take a closer look at the ingredients list, and the third ingredient is sugar/glucose-fructose.

Y'know, screw the USDA. Screw the FDA. I'm gonna eat it the way I want.

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