Say this phrase to anyone who grew up in 70’s-80’s and they will immediately think of Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger.
Apparently Tony was telling fibs to us kids, it was far from great or good, it was unhealthy rubbish.
As we start to head towards the start of a new school term I was thinking of the old adage about breakfast being the most important meal of the day.
Numerous studies have shown how important breakfast is. Children who skip breakfast are more likely to have a higher BMI, perform poorly at memory tests, problem-solving, and motor skills.
Good breakfast really does kickstart a GRRR-EAT day, but what constitutes a good breakfast?
9 out of 10 children start the day with a breakfast cereal and over 50% will have a second bowl of cereal at home after school, of which the vast majority are packed with sugar.
Current advice is that free sugar should be no more than 5% of our daily calorie intake. For children, it ranges from 4-year-olds 19grams (5cubes) to 30 grams (7cubes) for 11-year-olds and upwards.
The advice on breakfast cereals is really simple:
- PORRIDGE IS BEST, with virtually no sugar and slow release energy supply for kids to help them learn.
- Weetabix either the original or any of the plain unbranded boxes are good, they are low in sugar and the portion estimates are based on two biscuits, a normal serving.
- If the cereal has Sugar, Honey, Choco, Coco, or Frosted in the title, run for the hills, they are packed with sugar and very unhealthy. A normal bowl will pretty much contain your child’s sugar allowance for the day. Unlike porridge these cereals will not provide the slow burn of energy release needed for school, hindering performance, and they will end up craving a sugary snack later in the day.The information they give on the pack will be based on a 30-gram serving, this is a measly amount that no-one takes, if there is a picture on the packet it will be of a 90-120gram serving.
The packaging will be designed to appeal to young kids and if you read it. It will talk about “added vitamins” and being “whole grain”. While this is true, it doesn’t undo the damage the sugar will do in terms of tooth decay, obesity and increasing the chance of your child developing diabetes and various forms of cancer long term if they eat a diet rich in sugars.
My Professional Opinion
These cereals should really state on the packaging is “we know this is very unhealthy, but it is really easy to get your children hooked on sugary foods and we don’t care about them! We just want your money!” At least that would be honest.
All the above cereals, with additions, are extremely high in sugars. Any other cereals not mentioned above will have an amber rating. A normal portion of cereal will contain a substantial percentage of your child’s sugar allowance. Add a glass of fruit juice to breakfast and they will have exceeded their sugar allowance for the day.
Porridge is fantastic, really fast and easy to prepare in a microwave. It will easily provide your kids with energy until lunchtime, keeping them full. Try slicing in fruit and berries or cook it with apple diced into the porridge and a little cinnamon. Sprinkle it with any of the milled seed toppings available in the supermarket aisles. All these will make it tastier and a healthier start to the day.
Even add a little honey or fruit compote, obviously, this increases the sugar content, but you are at least aware of how much sugar you are adding.
If you have a bit more time, an egg, boiled or poached with wholemeal toast is always a treat and eggs are now rightly viewed as a healthy part of a diet.
Sugar is so harmful, it is in almost every processed food. Download the “Sugarsmart” app onto your phone and scan the barcode of any foods to see how much sugar is contained, even better let the kids do it, make it a game for them to find the healthiest foods.
You will be shocked and amazed at the sugar content of many foods, some popular stir-in cooking sauces have so much sugar they should be in the dessert section! Often health foods labelled as “Healthy” and “low in fat” are packed with sugar to compensate for the lack of taste. Again the manufacturers of these apparent low fat health products know their product is packed with unhealthy sugar, yet the banner will fail to mention that! Again, they are only interested in your money and their profit.
HEALTHY SCONES. The lightest scones you will ever taste.
500g Strong White Flour, 30g Baking Powder, 75g Stevia Erylite. Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, then add 230ml of Butter Milk, with 2 eggs beaten in, and 75g of softened (almost liquid ) butter.
Lightly beat the mixture just until it has combined, empty out onto a flour dusted surface and roll out to 5cm/2inches thick, cut out into 10-15 scones and place on a baking tray, put this into the fridge for 30 mins to chill, then put into the middle shelf of a hot oven at 220°C (not fan) for 15-17 mins
The original recipe called for 75g of caster sugar. I used to make them with only 40g of sugar, with no effect on the taste but now I substitute the sugar with the Stevia Sweetener. This is a natural plant product with no calories and no effect on the Glycaemic Index so doesn’t count as sugar.
If you use 40g of sugar each scone will contain 3-4g of sugar, this is lower than the sugar in a commercially bought scone and these are so much nicer.
You can vary the recipe by using 50:50 strong white and wholemeal flour or add 100g of sultanas, but remember the sultanas are dried fruit and so are packed with sugar.