Breakfast cereals marketed to children are typically loaded with sugar, artificial flavours, colours and additives.
I’ve known this fact from way before I started eliminating processed foods from our kitchen so I used to stock our pantry with “healthy” cereals like Multi-grain Cheerios and Special K.
I realized I was fooling myself when I took a good look at our “healthy” cereals and discouvered that they contain up to 12 grams of sugar per serving. To top it off, none of my kids (except maybe the 3 yr old) ever stuck to the recommended 3/4 cup serving!
In an ideal world, my kids would devour a bowl of homemade granola or oatmeal for breakfast. In reality, my younger two baulk at the sight of dried fruits and seeds – so granola is out of the question – but I have hope that one day this will change. After all, whose fifteen year old started eating oatmeal for the first time EVER this Summer?
Yup. That would be My hand. My hand waving – high, high up in the air.
As for the rest of the kids, while I wait for reality to catch up with my ideology, I’ve replaced our cereals with actual healthier alternatives. The following three things generally hold true for the cereals that now make it to my kitchen table. The cereal has to be:
- Unsweetened, or sweetened with honey, maple syrup or organic cane sugar and contains less than 2 grams of sugar per serving
- Whole grain and provides at least 4 grams of fibre per serving
It’s not always feasible for me to purchase non-GMO but I aim for this goal when it comes to cereals because I find there is enough of a variety readily available.
I won’t lie to you. It’s not easy to find cereals that the kids actually enjoy. The good news is that it’s not impossible.
Unlike lunch and dinner, most people are okay to eat the same breakfast several days a week. If you can find two or three different varieties you’re good to go. Here’s what’s working for us right now:
- Weetabix – served with milk or yogurt
- Nature’s Path Corn Flakes
- Nature’s Path Brown Crispy Rice (my kids used to love Kellog’s rice kirspies and these are the closest alternative we have found. I find that the kids have to eat it quickly otherwise they get soggy and don’t taste as good. We also use these to make the most AWESOME rice crispy squares.
- Quick cooking oats
We switch things up a couple of times a week with home made waffles, pancakes or muffins (depending on what’s available in my freezer in any given week). The older girls also like to have toast sometimes.
My 5 year old loves almond butter/jam sandwiches and sticks with these for breakfast several times a week.
On a side note: I bought a box of Special K a couple of weeks ago as a treat and the cereal box was empty on the third day. I used to buy boxes and boxes back in the day because one serving simply wasn’t enough.
I don’t have that issue anymore. It’s always an added bonus when the recommended serving size on the package gets the job done!
photo credit: KnitWhitterersCartel