Category Archives: Food

Hacking Cinnamon Toast Crunch: Curb Appetite, Build Muscle, Boost Metabolism, & Reduce Body Fat

by Justin David Carl

***Don’t feel like reading? Watch my YouTube version of this article***


I was obsessed with cinnamon toast crunch as a kid growing up. Despite eating fairly healthy I did not give up my love for the ridiculously sugar-laden cereal until college. In high school I would even have a protein shake with my morning cinnamon toast crunch. Hey, I had a healthy muscle-building protein shake. I deserved a treat, right?!

When I got to college I turned bodybuilding into my daily hobby/sport. I had played soccer since age 7 through till the end of high school. As I began to get more into bodybuilding I began to take my eating/diet much more seriously. Cinnamon toast crunch was not on the list of bodybuilding-approved food. I reluctantly gave it up. For almost a decade I did not have my beloved Cinnamon Taste Crunch.

In the last couple of years I formed the habit of food-hacking and developing my own FitnessRake versions of favorite foods and meals. For the last several months I have had cinnamon toast crunch almost every single day, albeit my own creative healthy remix of the childhood favorite. Before I share the recipe and ingredients I ask that you withhold your judgement until you make it and try it for yourself. It sounds quite flavorless as the main ingredients are quite bland in of themselves. Good foodie-friends of mine have literally gagged at me just mentioning cottage cheese. I love the stuff, but even if you don’t you will barely notice it. Save your judgement until after you have taken a bite. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.


  • Fat free cottage cheese
  • Fiber Cereal (I use FiberOne cereal or the Trader Joe’s version of fiber cereal)
  • Milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk or unsweetened almond/coconut blend)
  • Cinnamon (preferably ceylon instead of the cheaper cassia type of cinnamon)
  • Calorie free sweetener (I use Stevia as it tastes best to me and my intuitive guess is that something made from a plant like Stevia is less harmful than the other alternatives.  Nonetheless, any calorie-free sweetener works.)


  1. Scoop cottage cheese into bowl. Serving size depends on how much you want to eat. I usually have 1-2 servings.
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon directly on top of cottage cheese [1]. I use quite a bit of cinnamon, but use your own discretion.
  3. Pour fiber cereal over the cinnamon-laden cottage cheese. I rarely have more than a 1.5 servings of fiber cereal at a time [2].
  4. Sprinkle sweetener over fiber cereal. I use 2-4 packs of Stevia per bowl. I like it sweet and sugary-tasting like the original cinnamon toast crunch. Try different levels of sweetness until you find one that suits you.
  5. Pour almond milk over your concoction.
  6. Enjoy. Curb appetite. Build muscle. Boost metabolism. Reduce body-fat. Reclaim your childhood.

[1] It is a key step to put the cinnamon directly onto the cottage cheese so that it gets soaked up. If you put it on top of the fiber cereal you risk inhaling and choking on the cinnamon. Not fun, but feel free to try eating cinnamon straight if you are feeling adventurous.

[2] In my own experience I have found that I get mild stomach discomfort if I have 2 or more servings of fiber cereal per bowl of FitnessRake Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Feel free to test your own limits though. Everyone’s body is different. Some people will be able to handle more fiber per bowl, and others less. The key for me is to space out my fiber cereal intake throughout the day.


With all my FitnessRake food-hacks my goal is to minimize calories, maximize satiety, curb appetite, build & maintain lean muscle, boost metabolism, reduce body-fat, detoxify, and achieve health benefits for the body. I usually try to stack as many of these prerogatives into one meal or snack. In the case of FitnessRake Cinnamon Toast Crunch I have achieved all of these directives.

Minimized calories:

  • Fat free cottage cheese is extremely low in calories (80 calories per serving).
  • Almond milk almost doesn’t count (30 calories per serving). I usually only need half a serving or less per bowl.
  • Stevia (or any calorie free sweetener): Use as much as you like. Go HAM. There are zero calories in it. And if you are worried about ancillary health effects and aren’t tied to keeping your calories low then feel free use honey or agave.  Monk fruit sweetener is another option that is calorie free.
  • Cinnamon, like most spices, is calorie free.

Maximize satiety:

  • It tastes like cinnamon toast crunch. Let your man-child/woman-child roar!

Curb appetite:

  • Fiber fills you up and makes you feel full. Insoluble fiber is like free calories. Your body can’t break it down and it just takes up space in your stomach making you feel full until it passes through you.
  • Cottage cheese is slow protein. The kind of protein that takes 7-8 hours to process. It also keeps you feeling full with it’s slow-digesting powers. I start my day with cottage cheese to stay feeling full all day and have some before bed to make sure I don’t wake up hungry.
  • Cinnamon slows the processing of your food which is awesome when you want to stay feeling full longer. Cinnamon combined with calorie free sweetener tricks your brain into thinking it had a treat. Treats equal feelings of happiness.

Build & maintain lean muscle:

  • Fat free cottage cheese is chocked full of protein. 14 grams of protein per serving with only 4 grams of carbs. I prefer to eat all my protein so give me FitnessRake Cinnamon Toast Crunch all day long over boring unfulfilling protein powder.
  • Fat free cottage cheese is casein protein. This is the slowest-digesting form of protein. This is what professional body builders take before they go to sleep to give their muscles a constant slow-burn source of muscle building protein. Don’t worry ladies, fat-free cottage cheese or casein won’t bulk you up. It’s leaner than chicken and fish.

Boost metabolism:

  • Cinnamon is incredible for your metabolism and the processing of food in your body. Cinnamon helps your body’s insulin process which is a major factor in your metabolism. Additionally, like hot peppers, cinnamons gives you a slight boost in metabolism speed. It takes your body extra energy to break the cinnamon down. I try to put it on everything I think it will taste good in, including my coffee.
  • Casein increases metabolic rate during sleep.

Body-fat reduction:

  • Cinnamon is a winner again. It helps your body break down and utilize carbs so your body doesn’t have to store them as fat. It aids your body’s insulin levels which plays a critical role in how much body fat you carry on your frame.
  • Studies show that belly fat is more sensitive to cinnamon than other fat stores in your body. Cinnamon supports your six-pack.
  • Casein supports muscle retention. As you look to achieve a lower body-fat level keeping your muscle is crucial. The more muscle you have the more efficient your body becomes at burning calories and burning fat.
  • Casein is has been shown to lead to more optimal fat levels.

Detoxify body:

  • Insoluble fiber (from fiber cereal) does an awesome job of detoxifying your system. It literally cleans your colon and intestines. Gross, yes I know. But it is incredibly good for your body. Many people carry loads of junk and toxic material in their intestine and it just sits there for years. Insoluble fiber acts like a steel brush and scrubs your insides releasing the built up gunk to be passed through your next visit to go the bathroom to go “number two.” Keeping your waste elimination system in an optimal state is a key to health and fitness and often overlooked as it isn’t the most appetizing topic (pun intended).


I am an eternal strategist. I build strategy into pretty much everything I do. Here are some of the secret strategies, tips, and tricks I use with FitnessRake Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

  • I have a bowl right before I go to a lunch or dinner meeting. One serving of both fat free cottage cheese and fiber cereal with a fourth of a serving of almond milk with as much cinnamon and Stevia as I want. That’s 148 calories. That is about the same as a glass of soda, wine, mixed drink, or cup of coffee with cream and sugar. By the time you get to lunch or dinner your body will already have realized that it isn’t starving and you will be much less likely to order too much food and/or over-eat.
  • Have a bowl before a meeting so you don’t come home starving.
  • Have a bowl before you go to a function or meet-up where they have snacks, donuts, pizza, drinks, etc. With the power of FitnessRake Cinnamon Toast Crunch your chances of giving into temptation go down dramatically.
  • Have a bowl before you hit the gym or workout. Steady slow-burn source of muscle-building protein and complex carbs to keep your energy up.

So there you have it! My FitnessRake food-hacked version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Let the child within you rule again while still achieving your health and fitness goals! Don’t be ashamed if you start eating it every day multiple times a day. I do. It feeds my inner child and fuels my lean and mean body. And that keeps me happy and healthy.

See my YouTube video on this: [click here]

Follow my fitness-focused Instagram (@fitnessrake) for other food-hacks and fitness related inspiration.

Caution: If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), high intakes of insoluble fibre may worsen symptoms. Intake should be decreased if it is associated with symptoms of bloating or abdominal pain.