October 9, 2008

Would you give your kids a glazed doughnut every morning for breakfast?

The majority of parents would say definitely not -- but many of them don't realize that the bowl of cereal their kids eat instead often has the same amount of sugar and nutritional value as a doughnut.

Recently on NBC’s Today Show, nutritionists studied the surprising amount of sugar in breakfast cereals and healthier alternatives. Cereals are full of sugar – and it is mostly brands marketed to kids that have the highest amounts. Reports show there is more sugar in some cereals than there is in a glazed doughnut.

A new study found many breakfast cereals for kids are loaded with 50 percent sugar. Those that top the list are Post Golden Grahams and Kellogg’s Honey Smacks. The cereal that contains the lowest amount of sugar is Cheerios, with one gram of sugar per serving.

Kids’ cereals should contain less than 10 percent of grams of sugar per serving. Cereals that contain 40 percent of grams of sugar per serving include Honey Smacks, Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, Trix, Golden Crisp, Captain Crunch, Cocoa Krispies, Reese’s Puffs, Honey Grahams and Lucky Charms.

Parents should look for cereals that contain wheat germ, oats or whole grain. The majority of cereals are made with excessive sugar, salt and processed grains – and with one-third of kids being overweight, starting their day with an unhealthy meal is one of the causes of childhood obesity.
Start giving your kids other options for breakfast. Why do we typically eat so much cereal for breakfast? Because it is convenient and marketed as a breakfast food. But is it best for us and our kids? No.

Healthy, fast and affordable breakfast meals include a vegetable omelet, steel cut oatmeal topped with blueberries or strawberries, a fruit filled whey protein shake or an egg over easy with whole grain toast. Your kids will feel better and be healthier.