Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. So much so that I get up at 4.30am to ensure I have enough time to work out, shower and whip up a feed worthy of a Surry Hills diner, all before heading out the door at 7.15am.
Every day I wake up looking forward to a culinary delight, typically consisting of avocado on toast with poached eggs, sautéed mushrooms, wilted baby spinach and tomato salsa. Yes, my dedication to breakfast is unshakeable.
We’ve spent the past few weeks in the Mamamia office celebrating all that is good about cereal. Not me though. I’ve remained unmoved. I’m literally the anti-Christ of cereal lovers. So when I was asked to do the five-day Uncle Toby’s cereal challenge, I was not at all impressed.
‘But guys, why me?’ I lamented to the team, ‘This is going to be torture.’
"I was not at all impressed." Image: supplied.
Most of the girls shot me sly, knowing smiles, ‘Just give it a try, see what happens. You might actually like it.’
Fine, one bowl of cereal a day for a couple of days. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.
Day 1: Uncle Tobys Plus Fibre.
The first day. A new start, some might say. I wouldn’t. I was reeling.
I figured I’d start with something healthy, to ease my way into the challenge. I took a deep breath, and quickly shoved the first spoonful into my mouth. I was planning on employing a similar technique to make my way through the bowl – blindly shovelling and swallowing what I perceived to be tasteless mesh until it was all over.
But surprisingly, I didn’t need to. A few spoonfuls in and I realised it didn’t actually taste all that bad.
In fact, it was kind of – shock horror – good.
I also had to slow down how quickly I was eating because I was actually becoming quite full. Can someone please tell me how ¾ cup of cereal and ½ skim milk fills you up? What is this black magic?
Day Two: Uncle Tobys Plus Antioxidants.
Yesterday went much better than expected, but I still wasn’t brave enough to venture further into this new world of wet breakfasts. I decided to try a variation of what I ate yesterday, which both kept me full and tasted great. Surprisingly, I liked the Antioxidants version even better than the Fibre one: my bowl was dotted with delicious cranberries and blueberries pieces, which naturally flavoured the wholegrain flakes.
It was only 6:15am by the time I finished eating. I had so much extra time on my hands. Then it hit me: I could literally be sleeping another whole hour in the morning instead of getting up to make an extravagant breakfast.
This is a lot to grapple with.
"It was only 6:15am by the time I finished eating. I had so much extra time on my hands." Image: supplied.
Day Three: Uncle Tobys Steel Cut Oats.
It’s Saturday and I’m spending the day outdoors with friends, so I’m going to need some serious fuel to get me through the day. I’ve been saving the Steel Cut Oats for this exact reason: it’s low GI so it slowly releases energy throughout the day.
Today I got to be a little bit fancy, and topped my stove-cooked oats, skim milk and cinnamon with a dollop of natural Greek yoghurt, half a banana, and chia seeds. It was packed with protein, fibre and active cultures, which are great for your digestive system.
Now that I was getting used to waking up a bit later due to my low-maintenance breakfasts, I was running a bit late, so I popped it all in a bowl and took it in the car with me. No spillage, no fuss, no worries.
Day Four: Oat Crisp – Honey & Macadamia.
I had a big night last night. My body hurts trying to sit up. I’m hungry, but I can’t be bothered cooking.
I crawl to the kitchen, roughly measure out a cupful of Oat Crisp, and haphazardly pour some milk in the bowl. A whole 10 seconds later, and I’ve plopped myself on the couch and am scoffing it down. The honey and macadamias are delightful. Like a warm hug around my sad, hungover self.
Today I am actually grateful for cereal. It deserves a goddamn medal.
Days Three: Steel Cut Oats and Day Four: Oat Crisps after a big night.
Day Five: O&G Granola – Almonds & Vanilla.
It’s the last day of my challenge and I’m going out with a bang: Natural Greek yoghurt topped with O&G granola that’s packed with oat clusters and almonds. I’m eating on the go as well, now that I’m getting more sleep because it only takes a minute to prep my brekky in the morning. The yoghurt and granola goes down a treat on the train, and I must admit, I’m savouring these final delicious moments of the challenge.
At the end of these five days, I am actually a changed woman. I’m more surprised than anyone.
The challenge has dispelled a lot of my preconceived ideas about cereal: it did actually fill me up, when eaten as part of a balanced diet, it did actually provide me with some of the nutrients that I needed to kick start the day, and best of all, I saved a whole lot of time in the process. While I still love big breakfasts, I’ll be adding some of these wholegrain gems into my daily repertoire.
What food challenge would you try?
UNCLE TOBYS. Put the Good back into Mornings with Australia’s largest range of 4+ Star Cereals.