Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why I have a problem with portion control

I like breakfast cereal. A lot. Lately I've gotten into freebies and couponing, so I've had the opportunity to try some new things because they were practically free. One of these is Smart Start cereal. Love it.

So a couple of months ago, from the back of the Smart Start box, I ordered another freebie: a Smart Start cereal bowl. I got it in the mail, and have been enjoying it for some time. Now clearly, the whole premise of Smart Start is supposed to promote healthy eating, am I right? And certainly, this bowl is designed for me to eat Smart Start cereal out of it in the pursuit of a healthy diet, correct? The box says:

One bowl stronger: Every spoonful of lightly sweetened, deliciously toasty
oat bran flakes and crunchy oat clusters is good for the health of your heart.
So get into the Smart Start habit - one tasty bowl after another.

And if you can see in the picture, there's a picture of the bowl (which substitutes for the letter "O" in the word "bowl" - how clever) filled to the brim with Smart Start cereal. So that's what they are suggesting I do. Fill it to the brim and enjoy one bowl after another for a healthy heart!! Great! Let's get started!!

Then I look at the nutritional facts. Let's measure out one serving of Smart Start cereal and place it in the Smart Start cereal bowl. That's one cup of cereal, which, with 1/2 a cup of skim milk, is 230 calories.

And lest you think I am using funny camera angles here...another view:

Wait just a gosh darn minute! Where the rest of my cereal? The other 2/3 of my brimming bowl!? Well, just for fun, let's see how much cereal would be in that bowl. Here's a full bowl, just like the picture.

And here is that same cereal, measured out into a 2-cup measuring cup and 2 1-cup measuring cups.

So that one bowl full - the same bowl that they SENT ME and clearly pictured on the box - is actually three and a half servings of cereal. *sigh* It goes beyond supersizing combo meals - everything, even healthy eating - is out of control portion sizes. Ugh.


Side notes:

-Today David is 5 months old, and it's the first day of school around here. Where, oh where did the summer go? I truly can't believe it. And FOOTBALL starts this weekend. Wow.

-If I needed any motivation to start potty training, I changed 6 diapers (4 of them poopy) in a 45 minute span yesterday afternoon. And nobody's sick, there was just a lot in our house at the time.

-It's raining today, and I'm loving it. There's such a nice breeze through the house, it sounds quiet and comforting, and it's an excuse not to go out and play. In a few months, I'll be dying for weather that's nice enough to go outside, but today I'm thankful for a day to stay in.


Physibeth said...

Fun with serving sizes. This is why I bought a digital food scale.

Don't know if this matters to you, but that cereal also has evil High Fructose Corn Syrup high in the ingrediants list. :-P~

Jen said...

Every since having gestational diabetes when pregnant with Emmaline, I've been really big on reading labels. It is so frustrating when companies don't make it easy to eat healthy. I know they are trying to make money and all, but I'm also trying to get my family to eat healthy and stay on a budget. I feel your pain!

Kelsey said...

What an eye-opener! Yikes! I'm a big fan of cereal as well. It even seems like a relatively healthy snack option -- you know as opposed to cookies or brownies or Doritos, but maybe not if that's what a serving size really is!

Pam said...

The solution is simple - throw away the free bowl and buy a much bigger one. That way you'll not notice the portion size.
Seriously, it's a hard life when we can't even pig out on cereal isn't it?

Erin said...


Oma Froehle said...

Look at the bright side. If you ate 3-1/2 servings of Smart Start with milk, you would only have been able to have a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and a SMALL french fry at McDonalds for your 700 calories. I'm sure the Smart Start has more fiber and less fat than the McDonald's fare.