Even if you weren’t very fond of cereal before you became a parent, having children inevitably changes your relationship with that aisle of the grocery store.
We spoke to parents for advice on navigating the slippery slope to the cereal bowl, and then consulted nutritionists for recommendations. Ideas can reduce a few morning temper tantrums, but if you get them to wear that itchy tag sweater, then you’re on your own.
If you’re looking for a cereal you can serve, put on your reading glasses and start reading labels. “The sugar in your cereal bowl can build up quickly, so keep in mind that there are 4 grams of sugar in 1 teaspoon”, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Vicki Shanta Retelny says HuffPost. “If you take a can and see 16 grams of added sugar per serving, that’s 4 teaspoons.”
For portion size, “stick to 200 calories or less per serving”, RDN Amanda Frankeny says HuffPost. âRead the box to determine the calories and the correct serving size for your child, as serving sizes can vary widely. The same level of calories can be found in 1/2 cup of one type of grain and more than one cup of another. Also aim for at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. With a well-balanced diet, it will help children get the recommended daily value of 25 grams of fiber.
Other suggestions came from RDN Sara Haas, who told HuffPost: âPick a day every week that ‘fun’ cereal is allowed. Maybe it’s a weekend where you know the kids will have an active day. Make sure to supplement the meal with fruit, yogurt, and other nutritious treats. Another suggestion she had was to try a simple change of dishes. âTry serving the ‘healthier’ cereal in a mug or mug, or serve it dry on a plate. You can treat it like trail mix, so kids can eat it dry and have milk on the side.
Maybe this is the day you decide to put down that box of Frooty Tooty KidZ Korny Puffs and start over. If so, consider regular oatmeal. “Obviously, oatmeal is the best breakfast cereal not only for kids, but for adults as well.” Toby Smithson, a registered dietitian, told HuffPost. She cited a Study 2019 in which children who ate oatmeal for breakfast performed better in terms of the overall quality of the diet and a higher intake of nutrients such as fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium , potassium, and vitamins A and E. âNutritionally, oats are the breakfast of champions,â she mentioned.
Install guardrails for the grain aisle
Many parents, road-weary after too many punitive trips to the grain aisle, have strict purchasing rules established. Jessie carlson, a fitness teacher and mother of three, told HuffPost, âFirst of all, it’s from the Co-op, Whole Foods, or the natural / organic section of the grocery store. Second, it should contain at least 5 grams of protein. Finally, it can’t cost more than $ 3, which usually means it has to be on sale. With this philosophy in mind, Carlson’s children typically get Kashi, Barbara’s puffins or Nature’s Path Pumpkin Seed and Flax Granola.
Maggie Sonnek, writer and mother of three, dodges the problem altogether. âCereal causes arguments among our children, and I hate to hear, ‘He’s got more than me!’ Plus, it’s expensive, over $ 5 a box. And then our children are hungry again soon after eating it. Our compromise is to serve toast, oatmeal or eggs for breakfast and let them feast on cereal at my parents’ house when they stay there. For a day or two, they can eat all the coconut or raisin crisps they want. Then it’s back to the basics of breakfast.
An approach of “variable reinforcement” is favored by the author and mother of two children. Dana raidt. âWe seem to have found a happy medium with Cheerios, Chex and Special K Red Berries. Adding sliced ââbananas or strawberries to a healthy, less fun cereal also seems to boost morale a bit. It works almost every day, but she also gives kids a splurge every few months. Lucky Charms, Cap’n Crunch or Cocoa puffs. “And grandmothers always seem to have them in their homes when we visit them,” she observed.
Then there are the parents who let their cereal flag fly. Andrea Lahouze, a mother of three who is currently writing a children’s book, told HuffPost: âNothing is off limits and therefore they don’t feel like it, sneak it up or stuff it down. Madeleine, 9, is health conscious and loves Crispix and Smart start. Rosalie, who is 5, loves Cocoa cookies, but she also likes different granolas. Even baby AmÃ©lie, who just turned 1, likes cereal which is good, as many varieties are a great source of iron, which babies really need. One of his favorites is Cinnamon Life.
âWhen I want to incorporate cereal into a meal for girls, I garnish them with fruit or turn them into parfaits with layers of yogurt, fruit and cereal. It’s also something they can help make, like a sundae-making station but a healthier one.
Here are some brands that might appeal to kids and parents alike.
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Barbara’s puffin cereal
Cascadian Farm Purely O’s
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Kashi GO Breakfast Cereal
Kind Dark Chocolate Almond Cereal
Envirokidz Nature’s Path Panda Puffs
Muesli Cereals Seven Sundays