They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it sets you up for the day ahead. What we give our kids for breakfast is something we all need to think about a little harder, because some things which seem healthy on the surface can actually have some downsides to them too.
Read the fine print
If you turn over a box of cereal or study the ingredient list on any other breakfast staple, you might be surprised by what goes into some of the products we give our kids on a regular basis. A bowl of Cheerios, for instance, may contain much-needed fibre, but it also contains 12g of added sugar out of the 25g most medical professionals would suggest as a daily maximum. Your kids might get some calcium from the milk added to their bowl of cereal, but the cereal itself doesn’t tick many of the nutritional boxes they need. That goes for most brands of cereal, with few exceptions.
As a treat now and then, you may also give your kids ready-made waffles. These are not as unhealthy as you might think and they generally offer 20% of the recommended daily intake of both iron and calcium. However, problems start to stack up when you think about the maple syrup or jam used to top them. A standard portion of generic maple syrup can have as much as 33g of sugar, which far exceeds the recommended daily intake before your child has even got to lunch and dinner.
Strike a balance
We often reach for products that offer convenience in the mornings, particularly if you’re trying to bundle your kids out the door for school. As with most things in life, it’s easier to do the right thing if you plan ahead. By becoming more aware of the nutritional content of the things in your food cupboard, you’re more likely to change old habits. Making your own muesli or fruit compotes, for example, can create a healthier alternative to the processed stuff and can be made ahead of time.