If you're looking for a quick breakfast that won't ruin your diet, you may consider a bowl of cereal with milk. While some breakfast cereal choices can help you meet your goals, others contain excess calories and sugar.
The number of calories in a bowl of cereal varies widely depending on the type of cereal, kind of milk and serving size.
Calories in Breakfast Cereal
The number of calories in your morning bowl of cereal depends largely on the cereal you choose and how much you pour. Some sugary cereals are high in calories, but there are some nutritious options. The Mayo Clinic recommends choosing breakfast cereal that contains less than 160 calories in each serving.
According to the USDA, the number of calories in popular cereal options include:
While these numbers may seem shockingly low at first glance, it's important to keep serving sizes in mind. A December 2014 study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences found that the schemes companies use to mislead the public on their nutrition labels remain effective. This is especially true when people are in a hurry.
Read more: Healthy Cereals With No Sugar
Choosing Milk for Cereal
A bowl of cereal with milk may be a quick and delicious way to start your day. There are several options for milk to pour into your bowl. The calories in each type of dairy milk are:
There are some drawbacks to choosing cow's milk for your breakfast. A diet with lots of dairy can lead to an increased risk of fractures, diabetes, heart problems and even some types of cancer. As such, you may opt for plant-based alternatives to dairy.
The calories in plant-based milks vary depending on the flavors and sweeteners a manufacturer uses, but the USDA reports the following averages:
Is Breakfast Cereal Healthy?
Calorie counts are not the only important factor to consider when choosing a healthy breakfast. You should also aim to get the right amounts of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients for your goals. Depending on what you choose, cereal with milk can be part of a health diet.
Some manufacturers fortify their cereals with additional vitamins, which can help you meet your daily recommended values of these nutrients. Furthermore, a systematic review of evidence in the September 2014 edition of Advanced Nutrition found that eating some types of breakfast cereal can help people:
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Improve function in the bowels
- Maintain a healthier body weight
- Lower the risk for diabetes and heart disease
A comprehensive review in the January 2018 edition of the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that soy milk is the most nutritious popular alternative to cow's milk. However, some people may avoid it because of its taste and anti-nutrients. Almond milk is also a nutritionally balanced alternative.
- Mayo Clinic: "Healthy Breakfast: Quick, Flexible Options"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for General Mills Cheerios"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for General Mills Lucky Charms"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Kelloggs Raisin Bran"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Froot Loops"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Kelloggs Corn Flakes"
- Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: "The Effects of Nutrition Labeling on Consumer Food Choice: a Psychological Experiment and Computational Model"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Whole Milk"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Low-Fat Milk 2%"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Low-Fat Milk 1%"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Skim Milk"
- Journal of Food Science and Technology: "How Well Do Plant Based Alternatives Fare Nutritionally Compared to Cow’s Milk?"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Unsweetened Almond Milk"
- Advanced Nutrition: "The Benefits of Breakfast Cereal Consumption: A Systematic Review of the Evidence Base"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Sweetened Vanilla Almond Milk"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Soy Milk"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Coconut Milk Sweetened Fortified With Calcium Vitamins A B12 D2"