Consumer Reports recently reported that some breakfast cereals marketed to U.S. children are more than half sugar by weight.
A serving of 11 popular cereals, including Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, carries as much sugar as a glazed doughnut. And some brands have more sugar and sodium when formulated for the U.S. market than the same brands have when sold in other countries. Post Golden Crisp made by Kraft Foods Inc and Kellogg’s Honey Smacks are more than 50 percent sugar by weight, while nine brands are at least 40 percent sugar.
Is there a link between the marketing of sugary, salty, or fatty foods to kids and the rise in childhood obesity and related health problems? Recent research by the National Academy of Sciences indicates a possible causal relationship, but a little common sense will tell you that high sugar foods are not the best for our kids.
I can’t stomach the fact that some parents feed their children these so-called foods, especially for breakfast. How many kids get jacked up on sugar every morning, only to hit a wall and have their growing bodies and minds be starved of energy for learning and playing?
How can we feed our children wholesome organic breakfasts without blowing our budget?
In order to fuel our children with nutrient-rich food and still follow a household budget, we can choose healthy whole foods that we prepare. Fresh food is always a great choice, but grains are still one of the best deals around, and with organic, you know your kids are eating clean food with a high nutrient content.
Healthy breakfast foods with no added sugar that are cheap and easy to prepare:
- Fruit – A big plate of fresh fruit disappears faster than any other breakfast at our house.
- Fresh fruit smoothies – During the fruit season, we love to have smoothies for breakfast. One of our favorites is bananas and strawberries, blended with a little water. Peach smoothies are out of this world! For the ultimate in nutrition, add a teaspoon of both bee pollen and spirulina.
- Oatmeal – One of the cheapest of all grains, oatmeal can fill your kid’s bellies with a warm nutritious meal that is packed with fiber and has a stick-to-your-ribs heaviness. Try oat groats for variety.
- Amaranth – A gluten-free superfood and highly versatile staple to have on hand (cook it the night before and warm it up for breakfast), amaranth is full of protein and complex carbohydrates for growing children.
- Farina – Also known as Cream of Wheat or Bear Mush, this cereal cooks up in a jiffy and tastes great with honey or maple syrup and soy milk.
- Cornmeal Mush – Corn has been a preferred fuel of long-distance hikers and runners, and is easy to prepare. Make as a hot cereal or fry up into corn cakes.
- Homemade granola – The best granola is made at home, just the way you like it. Start with oats or other flakes (barley, wheat, or quinoa), add some vanilla, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, hemp seeds, agave nectar or maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Stir well and bake on a cookie sheet until golden.
- Sunflower milk – Soak a cup of hulled sunflower seeds in two cups of water overnight. Blend and strain in the morning, adding the solids you strained out to your homemade granola. Cheap and tasty!
- Sprouted granola – Soak wheat or rye berries overnight, chop in the food processor, and serve with sunflower milk.
Nourish your children with low sugar, high fiber breakfasts. Skip the store-bought cereals and save your cash!
Image: arteconluz on Flickr under Creative Commons