Ah, cereal. Debatably the perfect food. It's crunchy, sweet and perfect to satisfy those midnight cravings. Plus, it's super quick to make and literally does not require any cooking skills, aka a college kid's dream. Having said that, it doesn't take much to take your cereal to the next level. For those days when you're feeling a little fancy, but not fancy enough to actually cook anything, here are the steps to making the perfect bowl of cereal.

What you need: A bowl, cereal, toppings, milk and a spoon.

Not all bowls are created equally.

Shelby Cohron

When it comes to making the perfect bowl of cereal, it makes sense that the first step should be finding the right bowl. I suggest using a light-colored ceramic bowl. I find that plastic or paper bowls just detract from the overall cereal experience while also sucking up some of the milk and giving the cereal a strange flavor. The bowl should also be light-colored. There's just something about eating cereal out of a dark-colored bowl that just isn't as refreshing. As far as size goes, it depends on how much cereal you think you can eat. Generally, the bigger the better.

Choose your cereal(s) wisely. 

Shelby Cohron

This step will make or break your final product. The key to finding the perfect cereal is to focus on the following four factors: crunch, sweetness, diversity and level of satiation.

The perfect cereal will be crunchy and stay crunchy, but it should soften up just a little bit with the milk. As far as sweetness goes, yes, every once in a while it is great to have super sweet cereal, but that will only take away from the taste of the milk and your toppings. It is best to choose a cereal with a little bit of sweetness but not too much. A good rule of thumb for cereal is to stay under 10 grams of sugar.

The next factor to consider is diversity, meaning you want a cereal with a few different elements to it, or you can combine two or three cereals with different textures. My favorite combination is Cheerios, Corn Flakes and some granola.

Lastly, your cereal should be heavy enough to satiate you. There is nothing worse than eating a ton of cereal and still feeling like you could eat a cheeseburger afterward. 

Toppings galore! 

vegetable, meat
Shelby Cohron

A way to really take your cereal above and beyond is to add toppings. You can be creative here and add anything your little heart desires, from extra granola to chia seeds and even peanut butter and jelly. My favorite topping is fresh fruit, especially bananas and strawberries, because it's classy, healthy and not too overwhelming. Plus, the texture of fruit — dried or fresh — is a great compliment to crunchy cereal.

Got milk?

sauce, beef, pork, meat
Shelby Cohron

Milk is often the aspect of cereal that no one really thinks about as being important, but it definitely is. I am not a fan of cow's milk personally, so I opt for some kind of plant milk instead. Whether it is almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk or even oat milk, I find that plant milk creates a better flavor when paired with cereal, and most of the time it has less calories than cow's milk. My favorite milk for cereal is unsweetened vanilla almond milk. It adds the perfect hint of vanilla to the cereal, bringing the whole thing together.

#SpoonTip: Experiment with different milk and cereal combinations to find your favorite. Don't be scared to try a new kind of plant milk. It could completely transform your cereal. 

Time to assemble.

Shelby Cohron

Begin by pouring the cereal (duh). If you are using more than one kind of cereal, be sure to mix them all together in the bowl. Next, add your toppings. Make your bowl Insta-worthy by adding colorful toppings in a creative pattern. I like to line my toppings along the side of the bowl, leaving the center empty so the cereal is still visible. Now that the cereal and toppings are in place, pour in your choice of milk. Make sure to pour over the entire surface area of the cereal and toppings to cover the whole thing with a layer of milk. Lastly, place your spoon in the bowl, and you're done! Enjoy your cereal with a glass of OJ and a newspaper for best results.