Is Cereal For Dinner Healthy? Dietitian Explains As Kellogg Criticized – TODAY

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When WK Kellogg CEO Gary Pilnick recently suggested people could eat cereal for dinner to save money on groceries, his comments sparked a wave of criticism.

Pilnick appeared on CNBC on Feb. 21. and was responding to a question about high food prices.

He said cereal “has always been quite affordable,” noting that Kellogg has been advertising cereal for dinner — a concept that’s “landing really well right now,” he added.

“In general, the cereal category is a place that a lot of folks might come to because the price of a bowl of cereal with milk and with fruit is less than a dollar. So you can imagine why a consumer under pressure might find that to be a good place to go,” Pilnick said.

“Over 25% of our consumption is outside the breakfast occasion. A lot of it’s at dinner and that occasion continues to grow.”

But the comments have created an uproar online. “Cereal for dinner isn’t nutrition,” one person commented in response to the CNBC interview posted on YouTube. “The peasants have no dinner! ‘Let them eat cereal.’ says Kellogg,” wrote another.

Some people suggested the CEO would never regularly eat cereal for dinner himself or feed it to his kids as a main meal.

Is cereal OK to eat for dinner?

The concept of eating cereal outside of breakfast isn’t new. Fans of the classic ‘90s TV show “Seinfeld” know the main character likes to eat cereal at all hours of the day.

What does a nutrition expert think about that idea?

“There is no rule that says you can’t have cereal for dinner,” Katherine Shary, a registered dietitian at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, tells TODAY.com.

“There’s nothing wrong with having cereal for lunch or dinner.”

But you have to keep in mind certain guidelines to find the healthiest cereal and make it a filling, healthy meal, she adds.

  • Look for cereal that’s 100% whole grain and contains at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, advises Lisa Young, a registered dietitian in New York and author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim.” Think shredded wheat and bran flakes.
  • Healthier options have 6 grams of sugar or less per serving, Shary says. Skip cereal with lots of colors, dried fruit already in the box, which is typically coated with sugar; or cereal described as “frosted” or containing “honey.”
  • Add your own nuts, ground flaxseed, and fresh or dried fruit to provide fiber and healthy fats to cereal. Milk will provide the protein, Shary notes.

When thinking about eating healthy cereal for dinner, “it’s about the balance, it’s about the whole day,” she adds. It’s OK to grab a bowl at night as long as you’re eating fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains at other times of the day, Shary adds.

“When we talk about health and eating, it’s not one particular meal or one particular food. It’s looking at the entire day, and cereal can fit into that,” she says.

“What are we having in addition to that cereal to help fuel our bodies? To give us that protein and fiber, and help us feel full so we’re not hungry an hour later.”

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