With the Pronutro African X around the corner, although unfortunately I do not have an entry, I thought it a good time to review an old favourite. A high energy, high fiber and high protein breakfast cereal fortified with 18 added vitamins and minerals.
We grew up on this stuff at school but I have been off breakfast cereals for a few years now beyond my trusty oats (perfect oats recipe and Bircher’s meusli recipe). As much as possible I try to I look to add something out of the garden or pasture to breakfast in place of relying on the box. I encourage many clients to do the same too. Two critical elements of breakfast, protein and fiber, are a good starting point when evaluating your diet and trying to get a little more in at this time can often help solve a few other issues later in the day.
Most breakfast cereals are pretty low in protein, some are a decent sources of fiber but many are high in carbohydrate and energy, usually in the form of sugar. They do however win the ease of use and I-have-no-time-throw-in-a-bowl-with-some-milk-as-I-walk-out-the-door race. For that alone they will always be a firm holder of the weekday breakfast market share. And so it means making a better choice when wondering the aisles of your supermarket.
FutureLife has made an impact with their high protein version for the reasons I highlight above (my thoughts on that here and their standard version here). ProNutro is not too far behind and still holds an imprinted value from sustaining us as growing boys, always hungry, scuttling around the fields of high school. I was never aware of nutritional labels and key ingredients to look out for back then but ProNutro and gallons of milk always filled the hole.
So now with a little more knowledge I can add my thoughts on this as a product. I am not entirely sure whether the ingredients have been adjusted with time but the latest panel on the side of the box (different to the website info) is as follows:
50 g Chocolate ProNutro mixed with 125 ml water
- 192 kcal energy
- 8.1 g protein
- 29 g carbohydrate
- 3.4 g fat (mainly mono and polyunsaturated)
- 5.6 g fiber
- 30% NRV for their 18 vitamin and mineral blend (including vitamin D)
When we add 1/2 cup low fat milk
- 251 kcal energy
- 12.3 g protein
- 35 g carbohydrate
- 5.5 g fat
- 5.6 g fiber
- An extra 150 mg calcium, a few mg more of your B vitamins
And my super-charged version, adding 20 g of vitamin D enriched skimmed milk powder
- 323 kcal energy
- 19.3 g protein
- 45 g carbohydrate
- 5.7 g fat (you could use full cream milk powder to up this and total energy to keep you fuller for longer too)
- 5.6 g fiber
- An extra 250 mg calcium and 6.5 ug Vitamin D
Tha flavours vary only slightly in nutritional info, the chocolate for me is a winner because of taste and because it has a little milk powder already added to give a better protein quality than the others. Either way a breakfast that provides almost 20 g of protein and 5 g of fiber but still comes in under 350 kcal is a pretty good option. Using full cream milk powder will up the energy by 50 kcal and fat by 6 g. I really think this is a good way to start the day for active folks out there. The carbohydrate-protein ratio is nice, just over 2:1 and this is an economical way to make sure you are getting a decent box variety breakfast.
And to boot this version of ProNutro is wheat-free (it is maize and soya based) for anyone trying to limit that.
I am playing around with being more lenient with carbohydrates with breakfast too these days, provided protein and fiber are at fairly good levels. I have been reading some interesting research suggesting improved carbohydrate tolerance earlier in the day and a possible link to benefiting circadian rhythms as well as blood glucose control later in the day. Obviously this is all only worth fine tuning if it falls in line with your total daily requirements. A breakfast like this with a carbohydrate content of around 45 g still allows enough room to keep under 100 or 150 g per day if needed. You will just have to account for it elsewhere.
If you need the extra carbs or if you need a good pre-high intensity exercise breakfast or snack, here is a perfect option. Just try it out before a race or competition as some athletes may not tolerate the higher fiber dose or may need to forego the added protein from the milk powder.
One last application – a perfect recovery snack that rivals this DIY Recovery drink. A great source of carbohydrate and protein to encourage recovery and repair.
The only thing that concerns me a little is the soy content of the cereal which makes up about 20% of the product. You can read a little more on soy here, but my best and prudent recommendation would be to make sure you vary your choice of breakfast regularly of which ProNutro can be included a couple times a week.
Some other great breakfast options:
- Brilliant Bircher Recipe – Power Carrot Cake for Breakfast
- Coconut and walnut porridge (RECIPE)
- Cocovo Smoothie (RECIPE) – Cocoa, coffee and avo smoothie
- Perfect Oats – Vanilla and Cinnamon Recipe
- 2 egg linseed omelette
- Banana and almond crumpegg – Recipe
- Sri Lankan Liver & Egg Lettuce Cups (RECIPE)
- Homemade corn flakes – Breakfast RECIPE