Adulting can sometimes be a pain. Paying bills, filing tax returns, doing household chores … it can kind of suck the fun out of life.
Then you discover that sugar is really, really bad for you, which meansthat all those breakfast (and let’s face it, dinner) cereals you loved eating as a kid were not that great for your health.
Still, there’s no denying that nostalgic yearning for the comforting foods of childhood. So what's an adult with a larger-than-life inner kid to do? Low-carb cereal, that's what.
Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet
Aside from diabetics who have to carefully monitor their blood sugar levels and total carbohydrate count, there are others who may also benefit from a low-carb diet. A low-carb diet is often used to encourage weight loss and — depending on the type of carbs you consume — it has the potential to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
One of the key features of a low-carb diet is that it's usually sugar-free. Sugar has a very high carb content since all carbs are broken down into sugars and absorbed into the bloodstream. As a result, consuming even a moderate amount of sugar can increase your daily carb intake. The American Heart Association advises that men have no more than 36 grams (9 teaspoons) of added sugar per day, while women should not exceed 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day.
Low-carb diets come in different forms — some restrict certain types of foods and others recommend a specific amount of carbs. The main idea is to get most of your calories from protein and fat. As with any diet, it's important to speak with your doctor beforehand, just to make sure that it's suitable for you. That said, let's take a look at two of the more popular low-carb diets today.
The Keto Diet
Low in carbs, the ketogenic (or keto) diet is all about a high-fat intake. There are some slight variations, but in general the keto diet recommends consuming no more than 50 grams per day of net carbs, ideally below 20 grams.
Unsaturated fats that are encouraged on a keto diet include those that come from nuts, seeds, and avocados, as well as some saturated fats, including coconut oil, butter, and cocoa butter.
When following a keto diet you’ll avoid high-carb foods such as grains, legumes, rice, potatoes, candy, juice, and even most fruits. Instead, you’ll opt for plenty of meat, fish, eggs, butter, nuts, and low-carb vegetables.
The Paleo Diet
While the paleo diet restricts your carb intake, it's not a low-carb diet per se. The paleo diet focuses on eating foods that are believed to have been consumed by humans (aka cavemen) during the Paleolithic era.
Many modern varieties of grains, refined sugars, and legumes aren’t permitted on a paleo diet, which means by default it limits the consumption of anything too high in carbs. Instead, the diet focuses on grass-fed meat, wild-caught seafood, nuts, eggs, and fats such as oils and butter. That said, some fruits and starchy vegetables (which can be higher in carbs) are allowed on the paleo diet.
Easy Low-Carb Cereal Recipes
It’s hard to dispute the convenience of breakfast cereals, but when it comes to finding pre-packaged low-carb cereal options, it can be a challenge. To help you stay low-carb without sacrificing flavor, take a look at these three DIY low-carb recipe ideas that are easy to make and taste great, too.
Muesli is a favorite for both cold cereal and hot cereal lovers. This low-carb breakfast cereal recipe requires nothing more than pre-mixing your favorite seeds and nuts together with some cinnamon and vanilla extract, and storing it in an airtight container.
Not sure which seeds or nuts to use? Think sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, sliced almonds, and pecans — avoid nuts such as cashews and pistachios as they have a rather high carb count. By choosing specific ingredients, you can also make your muesli gluten-free and paleo-friendly.
To keep your homemade muesli healthy and natural, avoid artificial sweeteners. Instead, for extra flavor and sweetness, you could add coconut flakes or a small amount of low-carb fresh fruit such as berries, cantaloupe, or peaches. Unlike commercial muesli that is often loaded with dried fruit, steer clear of these sweet bits as they can be quite high in sugar (and therefore, high in carbs).
Here are some low-carb muesli recipes you can try:
When baked to perfection, the smell of freshly made granola is the stuff of warm childhood memories. However, if you buy pre-made granola there's a good chance it'll send your net carb count through the roof.
Why? Rolled oats. Although rolled oats are considered a whole grain, and therefore a good carb, you still don't want to eat too much of the stuff on a low-carb diet. Other high-carb culprits found in most store-bought granola include sweeteners such as brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup, as well as dried fruit.
The basis of a granola cereal recipe is very similar to that of muesli. Simply throw some of your favorite seeds and nuts together, pop the mixture into the oven to bake for a few minutes, and voila! You’ve got DIY low-carb, grain-free granola.
Splash some unsweetened almond milk (fewer carbs than cow's milk) on your crunchy granola or serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh blueberries.
Some other low-carb granola cereal recipes include:
This one's for all your hot breakfast cereal fans out there. If you miss the warm, cozy feeling of oatmeal porridge in the morning, you can recreate that same sensation with a tasty low-carb version.
Simply replace the oatmeal with a seed or nut flour, such as almond flour or flaxseed meal, mix with your low-carb milk of choice, add spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon, and heat over the stove or in a microwave for a few minutes. Top with chia seeds or fresh low-sugar fruit and boom — you have a winning low-carb breakfast.
If you don't feel like experimenting with getting the right ratio of flour to milk, here are a few easy recipes to try:
A Truly Low-Carb Cereal
Sugar may be bad for you, but breakfast most certainly isn’t. Making healthier choices and reducing the amount of carbs you eat doesn’t have to feel restrictive. In fact, it can make you feel better.
Whether you’re making your own low-carb cereal or searching for store-bought options, healthy (yet convenient) breakfast cereal is within your reach. Best of all, it can be good for you.
That’s the whole idea behind The Cereal School— for the price of a protein bar, you can enjoy the sweet and crunchy cereal you grew up loving, only now it’s low-carb, high-protein, and contains zero sugar!
Every little ball of cereal goodness is gluten-free and grain-free, offers a whopping 16 grams of protein, and clocks in at just one carb per serving. That’s right. Just one teeny tiny carb.
So go ahead and take your taste buds back to childhood … only now, you can do it without the guilt.