Upgrade Your Boring Cereal with These 12 Healthy Toppings
Breakfast is usually the most hectic meal of the day – and the meal that's most easily forgotten about when you're in a rush. For years, we've been told to avoid skipping breakfast, and cereal is often the perfect solution because it requires zero cooking or preparation. But for those who turn to cereal every single morning, it can be very easy to fall into what we’re calling “cereal fatigue".
Before you abandon cereal altogether, there are a few ingredients lying around your kitchen that might be the key to spicing up your morning routine. Many whole-grain cereals are low-cal and nutritious, so it’s important to seek out additions that won’t wreck an otherwise healthy breakfast.
The key to keeping your breakfast light is moderation, which is why a single serving of any of these additions is all that you really need. Here are a few ways to spice up your morning cereal:
1) Maple Syrup
A classic breakfast staple, maple syrup is another quick way to add a kick of sweetness to any grain cereal without additional prep. An ounce of maple syrup, which is about one and a half tablespoons, will run you around 70 calories and 17g of sugar – this is a great alternative for those who enjoy a sweet cereal without resorting to sugar-laden options.
This might sound exotic, but cubed pieces of pineapple in your corn flakes could really add tropical citrus notes light sweetness overall. A whole cup of pineapple chunks amounts to 82 calories and 16g of sugar.
3) Dark Chocolate Chips
Chocolate and cereal are a classic matchup, and dark chocolate is a great way to add sweetness to a cereal without overindulging. About a quarter of a cup of dark chocolate chips, certainly enough to sprinkle throughout the bowl, adds around 70 calories and 6g of sugar.
Whether you drop them in your cereal bowl or eat them on their own in a side dish, this addition is a smart one given that a whole cup of blueberries will only cost you 84 calories and 15g of sugar.
5) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Who doesn't love chocolate-filled cereal? Turn on some cartoons and you'll be transported back to childhood. The best part? A tablespoon of this potent game-changer clocks in at only 12 calories and 3g of carbohydrates.
Talk about spicing it up! Cinnamon is such an easy way to add warm notes to whole-grain cereals with just a few flicks of your wrist. A teaspoon is powerful enough to change the taste of your go-to cereal, and it'll only cost you 6 calories and 2g of carbs.
A small package of raisins can definitely add a hearty sweetness to any cereal you might regularly consume, which is why many brands already include them into popular cereal mixes. Each individual box adds up to 129 calories and 25g of sugar; to cut the sugar split the box between two different meals.
Another quick, easy addition that you can keep stocked in your fridge are strawberries. These red berries are rich in fiber and key vitamins, and a whole cup has only 53 calories and 8g of sugar.
10) Vanilla Extract
Some cereal fanatics might be looking for a way to transform the flavor of the milk, rather than the grain, dramatically without resorting to a caloric pitfall. A dash of vanilla extract will add instant richness to your milk.
11) Coconut Flakes
Dried fruit is a great option to switch up how you eat your cereal, and dried coconut flakes add a flavor punch that complements many whole grain cereals. A whole cup of coconut flakes comes in at 340 calories and around 30g of carbohydrates.
If you're looking for something with a different consistency to eat alongside your dry cereal, you could substitute your go-to milk with yogurt. A cup of plain, whole-milk yogurt alongside your dry cereal is just 138 calories and 11g of sugar.