THE SUPER BOWL
Hot or cold, day or night, cereal is the perfect runner's fuel, as long as you choose wisely.By Liz Applegate Ph.D.
Cereal isn't just for breakfast. Its ample carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals make it a great pre- or postrun meal anytime. With enough choices to fill a grocery-store aisle, choosing one to suit your needs (and tastes) can be tricky. Here's a primer on the perfect pour.
Pour it on: More cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber than any other oatmeal; also contains beta-glucan, which may improve immune strength after hard exercise.
Wait a sec: The catch? These roughly cut oats take 30 minutes to cook, but the health benefits are well worth the wait.
Dig In: Prerun. Steel-cut oats take a while to digest, so you'll stay fuller longer.
[LaVonne's note: you can also soak it the night before for quicker cooking. It is yummy!]
Old-Fashioned, Quick-Cooking, and Instant Oats
Pour it on: Oats are steamed, flattened, and chopped. They're easily digested, allowing for a fast release of carbs.
Wait a sec: Many instant varieties come with added sugars-so check the label.
Dig In: Postrun, when the quick carbs can help replenish your glycogen stores.
[LaVonne's note: I always add raisins when it's almost done cooking and bananas and walnuts on top when it's served for extra nutrition.]
Multigrain Hot Cereal
Pour it on: Bored with oatmeal? Try multigrain mixes for a different texture and taste. Pick one with at least three types of whole grains for a variety of nutrients.
Wait a sec: "Multigrain" doesn't guarantee whole grains, so read the label. These mixes can take 30 minutes to cook.
Dig In: At dinner. Many multigrain cereals work great as a supper side dish.
[LaVonne's note: My FAVORITE is Bob's Red Mill 6-Grain Hot Cereal- picture right]
Pour it on: Quick and convenient, cereal is often fortified with vitamins and minerals. Milk boosts protein and calcium. Look for at least five grams of fiber per serving.
Wait a sec: Many have tons of sugar. Aim for 12 grams or less per serving. If it has dried fruit, then higher sugar is okay.
Dig In: For a late-night snack. A slightly sweet cereal of around 160 calories a cup can satisfy a sugar craving while providing fiber.
[LaVonne's note: I rediscovered the love of frosted mini wheats - but organic versions. Yummy!]
Pour it on: Made with oats, barley, and other whole grains, granola provides good amounts of fiber and carbs along with nutrients from dried fruits and nuts.
Wait a sec: It's often made with added fat. Go with brands that have 160 calories and four grams of fat or less per half cup.
Dig In: For a midafternoon snack. Add a sprinkle of granola to plain yogurt or mix with another cereal to save on calories.
[LaVonne's note: I LOVE Erin Baker's Homestyle Granola. She's the one that makes Baker's Breakfast Cookies! All the flavors are great. Oooh, and I also have an awesome granola receipe I'll post later.]