Did you know that if you are eating a whole bowl of muslix at breakfast, you are likely eating more than half of your total daily caloric needs in that sitting? On the other hand, you could eat 3 full bowls of Puffed Wheat and barely get up to half your daily caloric needs. Well, here is an easy way to keep your breakfast cereal portions under control, while maintaining the freedom to choose what kind of cereal you like to eat.

The Diet Bowl is a portion control tool that is part of The Diet Plate system, and it is remarkably easy to use. The bowl is intended for breakfast cereal, and using this bowl for cereal will give you a fixed 200 calorie breakfast every day. There are four color coded lines on the bowl, from the bottom up: red, yellow, green, and blue. Each of these lines corresponds to a color coded list of breakfast cereals that comes with the bowl. All you do is find your cereal on the list, fill to the appropriate line, add ½ cup of skim or 1% milk, and there you have it! 200 calories in your breakfast bowl.

Examples of what types of cereal reach which colored line on the bowl:
Red – hot cereals; muslix, granola
Yellow – the sugary types of cereal (Fruit Loops, Honey Nut Cheerios)
Green – All Bran, Corn Flakes
Blue – The only cereal to make it this high is… Puffed Wheat! (and alas no, not puffed wheat squares..)

In my research study on The Diet Plate ® ™ system, I did not insist that the participants use the bowl – this would take away the freedom aspect of these tools. I simply asked participants to use it any day that they chose to have breakfast cereal as their breakfast meal. As could be anticipated, we saw a wide variety of frequency of bowl usage, from people who used it every day, to those who did not use it at all. Our results did show that the bowl in itself was very useful: people who used the plate on 80% or more of mornings were almost 5 times more likely to lose a clinically significant amount of body weight (5% of body weight) compared to people who were not using the portion control system. And just by cutting back the morning nosh!

Cereal is not for everyone, it’s true…. So here are a few suggestions of other ways you can intake about 200 calories at breakfast:

2 pieces of whole wheat toast, plain
1 piece of whole wheat bread with 1 tbsp peanut butter
2 pieces of fruit
½ cup low fat yogurt and 1 piece of fruit
2 eggs and ½ piece of whole wheat toast, plain

Dr. Sue © 2009 drsuetalks@gmail.com