Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Meal in a Bowl v. Meal in a Bar (packaged, not location lol)

03-06-2007, 06:57 PM
*Ok, I don't know where to put this one--- Food or Nutrition, so I'll put it here and let the mods change if need be.

What exactly is the difference meal & nutritionally between a milk and ceral bar for breakfast and a bowl of cereal and milk? Because my ed therapist and nutritionist are in dissagreement with me on this one. I say no difference.
I mean yes, eating at a table with utensils and a bowl with ingredients would constitute more of a "meal" and the "meal" concept as opposed to a packaged bar eaten in the car on the way to school/work/whatever.
But I mean really, after all, cereal is packaged and so is milk, so what is the big difference.
I don't get it. :?:

canadian mom
03-06-2007, 08:16 PM
i think there may be more additive in the bar read the labels to see.

03-06-2007, 08:32 PM
Yeah, there might be a bit more added sugar in a cereal bar. I actually like Luna bars because they are about 200ish calories and contain a LOT of the nutrients needed for your day. Also, they are 70% organic and mostly natural ingredients with 3 or 4 grams of fiber. I drink milk when I eat them and it keeps me full for a bit.

03-06-2007, 08:34 PM
The bars I've seen all use HFCS in the "milk" mixture - added sweeteners that you don't get in a bowl of cereal. Also, I've never found a high-fiber, high-quality cereal in one of those bars, so there are probably better "in a bowl" choices than "in a bar" choices out there.

There have to be additional additives to the "milk" part, even if it does start with a milk base...after all, milk isn't solid, so they have to add something to make it solid and able to be transported in bar form.

03-07-2007, 12:37 AM
to add to what the others said (i completely agree) a bowl of cereal might fill up your stomach better by its sheer size in comparison to a bar.

03-07-2007, 01:43 AM
Yeah, cereal in a bowl has got to be better. It's less processed, for one thing, and should have fewer additives. Nevertheless, I hate breakfast cereal, and if I want a cereal-esque snack, I grab a low-cal bar.

03-13-2007, 01:25 AM
wouldn't it depend on what kind of cereal you're talking about... as well as what kind of bar???? There's a lot of variety in both categories in terms of calories, fiber, vitamins added etc.

03-13-2007, 02:18 AM
I think most of the milk and cereal bars are way high in sugar (or HFCS), much higher than a good low-calorie, high-fiber cereal. The cereal I eat for breakfast is around 120-140 calories per 1-cup serving, which is a lot more food and fewer calories than in even the low-calorie bars (not counting the 100-calorie snack bars which are so small as to be a laughable substitute for any meal). I've yet to find a meal replacement bar that is less than 170 calories and most are over 200 calories. I do sometimes eat energy bars for breakfast when I travel, but they are not anywhere near as filling as my breakfast cereal.

03-13-2007, 09:29 AM
Sugar, calories, fats (in some, not all) and the fact that a bar just doesn't satisfy the way a bowl does.

03-13-2007, 10:19 AM
Barbara and Linda are right, but Charlotte never really specified what kind of cereal she's eating. If it's a sugary cereal, or not as healthy, a bar might be better. That's more what I meant.

03-13-2007, 10:37 AM
Barbara and Linda are right, but Charlotte never really specified what kind of cereal she's eating. If it's a sugary cereal, or not as healthy, a bar might be better. That's more what I meant.

Very true! For all we know, she could be eating Fruit Loops with whole milk.


03-13-2007, 11:21 AM
It's a worthwhile question. I would say (and my dietician roomie agrees) that once in a while, it's fine to grab a breakfast bar - cereal bar, etc. - if you're in a rush, as it's better than eating nothing. If you have nothing for breakfast, your metabolism is all "zzzzzzzzzzz..." and thinks you're still sleeping. But more often than not, try to take the time to have the cereal with milk. Yes, they both come in "packages" - unless you go out and milk the cow yourself - but calorie for calorie, the cereal with milk is better for you (1% or skimmed milk, yes?) and more satisfying. Think about it - if you can make the time, wouldn't it be nicer to have a bowl of cereal and milk, sit down at the table or wherever, and enjoy it for five minutes? Rather than chowing down quickly on a bar? Bars would also contain more preservatives, since they have to be able to sit on shelves for ages. If you can afford the time and effort, isn't it always better to have 'fresh' stuff rather than packaged? The less stuff that's been done to your food, the better. As for keeping you full longer, I would totally go for the cereal. I like oatmeal a few mornings a week, but my Kashi Go Lean Crunch has only 230 calories in a CUP (which, I could never eat a whole cup of it, it's so filling), so if I have half a cup of that, with half a cup of plain yogurt (about another 110 calories), that's... 225 calories for breakfast. Throw in some berries and maybe a glass of juice? Still not much over 350. That's a pefectly reasonable amount of calories to have for breakfast.
Goodness, I'm long-winded today! Sorry!
Breakfast bars, Slim-Fast bars, meal replacements, etc., are never very satisfying for me. I like to enjoy my food. But you gotta do what works for you. If it's a bar, or nothing, go for the bar!

03-13-2007, 01:31 PM
I agree with the points Charliebaby made above, but I will stand up for some bars, anyway. I eat bars. More often than I'd like, as much for financial considerations as anything else (they aren't cheap!). I try to seek out ones that might keep me full and be somewhat healthy.

I eat Kashi Crunchy bars, which use the Kashi Seven Grain blend at their base. 2 bars are 180 calories, 6 g fat, 4g fiber, 7g sugar and 6 g protein. The sugar is less than in their 1 cup of their Go Lean Crunch Cereal. Everything else isn't as good.

Another new favorite is a brand sold by Target:"BE Powered." Each bar is 150 calories, 2.5 g fat, 4 g fiber and 13 g protein! Okay, there is 18 g sugars, but at least they are less processed (can you tell I spend some time justifying these to myself)??

Again, I think I could do better than eat these bars, but they're quick, I like them, and they are better than other choices I could make. So, for now, I eat them... That may be an issue I address in the future, but not yet.

03-13-2007, 03:58 PM
Barbara and Linda are right, but Charlotte never really specified what kind of cereal she's eating. If it's a sugary cereal, or not as healthy, a bar might be better. That's more what I meant.

So true! I was going to add to my post "But, of course, if your breakfast cereal is Frosted Flakes, then a cereal bar probably is better for you!" but I thought it might sound to snarky! ;)

03-14-2007, 12:34 AM
Well, the bars are Special K, but I tend to eat more than one. Like 3. But, my nutritionist's issue was really that that wasn't proper nutrition and that sitting down with a bowl of say, cheerios with skim milk would be better.
But let me just clarify this by saying that this issue has nothing to do with calories, that wasn't my nor my nutrionist's point of was the eating say a milk and cereal honey nut cheerio bar as compared to eating a single serving of honey nut cheerios and skim milk. I still think that essentially there is not much nutrional difference except for that with the milk the bowl option probably has a bit more protein. I think that my nutrionist is trying to get me to eat "real" meals and she doesn't think that anything in bar form is considered a "real" meal.

03-14-2007, 12:52 AM
I don't really consider bars to be "meals" either - I think of them more as a snack-type food, and think we tend to respond to them that way, too. You say that you can eat three of the bars at a time - would you eat three bowls of cereal with milk also? I do think that's one of the key differences in sitting down to a bowl vs. grabbing a package from a box: satisfaction.

I also - just my opinion - don't think the two are exactly comparable nutritionally. Milk is what it is....milk. Milk in a cereal bar isn't typically real milk - it's powders and flavorings and other bits and bobs that combine to create a milk-like product. You're consuming more additives in a bar than you would in a bowl of cereal (although, as has already been mentioned, a lot depends on the cereal you choose!). Like Charliebaby said, I would much rather choose fresh food over heavily processed products anyday....especially since the fresh products are so accessible and really don't take that much more time to prepare or eat.