by Gail Goldspiel
When we think of cereal, we often think: sugar. Sneaky and subtle, sugar is frequently added to cereals, even when we think we’re making the healthiest choice. Often, kids (and adults alike) actually prefer the taste of the more sugary cereals. Growing up, my brother loved Apple Jacks, but if you asked him now, he would say he eats organic steel cut oats sprinkled with fresh fruit. So, how can we choose healthy and low sugar cereals for kids, that they’ll really like? Cereal can be a good choice for growing kids, and even, adults.
Here are five reasons to eat five low-sugar cereals:
- Convenience: There is a reason that cereal has always been a popular choice for breakfast. Plain or with milk, it is easy and fast! For young kids, they often even prefer it plain and have fun eating it with their fingers! Cheerios have always been a classic for this reason and ranked as one of the lowest-sugar cereals, it’s a great choice.
- Nutrient-Rich: A good cereal is packed with protein, fiber, and whole grains. According to Prevention, you want to aim for five grams of protein, five grams of fiber and less than five grams of sugar. The combination of protein, fiber and whole grains provides powerful energy at the start of the day. Worth trying are whole grain puffed cereals or shredded wheat.
- Sparks Creativity: Cereal is the perfect canvas for sparking children’s innate creativity and interest in cooking. You can experiment with sprinkling cereals with different toppings like chopped nuts, fruits, cinnamon, carob chips, the options really are endless. A great option to try is oatmeal or granola, both of which you can even make at home from scratch.
- Meal Variety: Although we often combine cereal with milk, there are a variety of unique ways we can combine cereal with other foods. To provide more protein, we can teach kids to sprinkle and portion cereal out on top of yogurt, to make a multi-layered and eye-catching parfait. For a good cereal to combine with yogurt, I’d recommend one of my favorites: Grape-Nuts!
- Snack-Attack Solution: In the car, on the run, or at the park, or even while shopping, cereal can be packed into a Ziploc and eaten anytime. Instead of sugary overly processed granola bars which are often also high in calories, cereal can be portioned out and snacked on, worry-free. A great “snack-type” cereal to try is: Barbara’s Puffins, which are vegan, high in fiber and high in whole grains.
There you have it! The next time you are cereal hunting, remember the healthy, creative, low-sugar alternatives and experiment with new ideas for eating this popular, breakfast staple!
If you are a nanny interested in learning more about children’s nutrition, the Nanny Institute has several nutrition courses taught by experts in our childcare and nanny certification training programs.