A Bowl of Sugar for Breakfast?

When it comes to the proverbial 'most important meal of the day', something has gone seriously wrong over the last couple of years. Breakfast cereals marketed towards children are often promoted has healthy meals, but no one ever tells you about the sugar content.

According to a recent article, the Environmental Working Group found that 56 out of 84 reviewed breakfast brands had between 24 to 26% sugar by weight! That’s even before the odd sprinkle of sugar that some children add to their cereal.

To put things into perspective, the amount of sugar in a single serving of some breakfast cereals may even be similar to eating a few cookies or even a chocolate bar.

Extra sugar not only gets converted into fat but the sudden intake of sugar causes blood sugar levels to spike and then crash...inevitably leading to vicious circle of craving sweet fatty food.

This ‘sugar generation’ goes far back, even when I was at school. I had a friend who ate his cereal (a popular brand containing chocolate) with three large spoons of sugar added. To top it off, he drank a large glass of his favorite soft drink.

Back then, it’s easy to see why by the time first break came around at 10am, he was cranky and first in line at the tuck-shop ordering donuts, chocolate bars and crisps.

Some people may argue that at least it’s a way of getting their children to eat cereal and therefore get some fiber into their system and food into their stomachs to start the day. However, there are many different ways of ensuring your children get the most out of their breakfast, reminding them that they don’t always have to eat whatever’s advertised on TV.

For example, boiled eggs and soldiers (strips of toast dunked into a soft boiled egg) are a great way of getting healthy amount of fiber, protein and carbohydrates. Rolled oats with a drizzle of honey and some berries is another tasty breakfast that is sure to go down well with the kids.

In fact, it’s important to understand that breakfast isn’t limited to just cereal. You can pretty much eat anything you like. I have a few favorites that I like to rotate and alternate for my first meal of the day.

First up, I really enjoy a slice or two of toasted ciabatta bread (or any other Mediterranean bread) with a roasted tomato rubbed across the surface. I top this off with a little bit of olive oil and a sardine or two. Sardines are often overlooked by some people, especially here in New Zealand as they’re usually used as bait. What a waste! They’re tiny dynamite packages of flavor and are very good for you.

Another favorite of mine - especially in the warm summer months - is a simple bowl of frozen berries. They could be blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or a mix of different types...it doesn’t really matter. It’s closest thing to eating sorbet or ice-cream for breakfast.

Lastly, I usually eat eggs three times a week. I’m a big fan of them and understand that they’re actually good for you. I like them either boiled or poached with some steamed spinach on the side...delicious!

Trying new things for breakfast is not just a fun way of getting through the boring same old cereal routine, it will also help you and your children find a few favorites too.

You can read the article "The 10 Most Sugary Cereals" which I mentioned above to see the list of cereal brands.

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