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  • Denise Scott

The Problem with Breakfast

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

I believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for children. A healthy breakfast is vital for a child to function well in school. The problem with breakfast is that it has become a dessert. So many cereals and breakfast foods marketed for children are LOADED with sugar and have no protein! That is a terrible way to start the day!

These donuts certainly appeal to kids but do these look like a healthy breakfast?

I will outline why so many breakfast foods are such poor choices and give you healthy, nutritious alternatives to give your child a great start to their day.

If you read the labels on most breakfast cereals, especially ones marketed to kids, you will find a lot of added sugar. Obviously, the manufacturers want to appeal to kids’ palates and have them begging for more, so they add the sweetness factor.

Healthy cereals are available with whole grains, minimal sugar, and fiber.

Below are listed those that you will find at your local grocer. Numerous brands like Magic Spoon, Three Wishes, and One Degree can be ordered online. Keep in mind that the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children get no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day, that equals six teaspoons. (Added sugar refers to sugar that is added to commercial food or added at home).

Total Sugar Fiber Protein (g=grams)

Whole Grain Original Cheerios 2g 4g 5g

(compare to Honey Nut Cheerios 12g 3g 3g)

General Mills Kix 4g 3g 3g

Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes 5g 7g 5g

Post Grape Nuts 4.5g 3.1g 4.4g

Barbara’s Original Puffins 6g 6g 3g

Rice Krispies Brown Rice Cereal 1g 1g 3g

Quaker Life (original) 8g 3g 4g

General Mills Total 6g 4g 3g

Post Honey Bunches of Oats 6g 2g 2g

General Mills Corn Chex 3.4g 1.7g 2g

A bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal with fruit and honey is hard to beat!

It is hard to beat a bowl of oatmeal for a hearty breakfast, especially if you add berries and chopped nuts! The old-fashioned oats are the best, but even the quick-cooking is better than the individual packets that have added fruit and sugar. Sweeten it yourself with a drizzle of honey or berries. One serving gives you: 1g sugar, 4g fiber, and 5g protein. Adding berries and nuts increases the fiber content further and adds antioxidants.

Whole wheat toast or an English muffin with peanut butter and sliced banana or strawberries is quick, easy, and tasty, giving good sources of protein and fiber. Look for peanut butter that does not have added sugar.

A yogurt parfait with cereal and berries is a nice change from milk and cereal.

Yogurt smoothies using plain Greek yogurt with milk and frozen berries are fast and healthy. Yogurt parfaits are nutritious, with plain Greek yogurt, cereal, nuts, and berries.

Scrambled eggs are a great way to start the day. Add a few veggies or sliced avocado on whole grain bread or an English muffin, and you have a filling meal. You can also serve them in a whole wheat or corn tortilla for breakfast tacos. Egg muffins can be made in advance and refrigerated for 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Make eggs more nutrient dense by adding chopped vegetables.

Whole grain muffins made with whole wheat, almond, or oat flour, and fruit or vegetables can be a sweet treat for the kids while supplying nutrients and fiber.

Whole-wheat or whole-grain waffles or pancakes topped with berries or peanut butter rather than loaded with butter and syrup can be taken on the go. Make a large batch on the weekend and freeze for convenience. Look for the following brands of mixes for a wholesome, healthy batch:

Kodiak Buttermilk Power Cakes Flapjack and Waffle Mix

Bob's Red Mill Protein Pancakes or 7 Grain Pancake and Waffle Mix

Simple Mills Almond Flour Pancake and Waffle Mix (this one is gluten-free)

Arrowhead Mills Multigrain Pancake and Waffle Mix

Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Pancake Mix (no added sugar)

Krusteaz Protein Pancake Mix

Get creative with breakfast, and look for healthy items with fiber, protein, and minimal sugar to give your child a great start to their day!

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