Issue 5 of Feeding Your Kids
There’s a reason your child keeps eating it – it is in a colorful box picturing a familiar cartoon character and it is really sweet. To make changes to children’s “old cereal habits” is really to make changes to their cereal choosing habits first.
Is your child stuck on a sugary cereal?
Today upgrade to a more nutritious cereal. Look for:
- Low sugar, 6 or less grams per serving
- High fiber, 3 or more grams per serving, whole grains
- Low salt, less than 150mg sodium per serving
- No artificial colors
- No artificial sweeteners
- Other qualities: organic, fortified with vitamins
Cereals marketed to kids have 85% more sugar, 65% less fiber and 60% more sodium than those aimed at grown-ups!
If you are thinking: My child picked the one cereal she will eat. I am glad she eats in the morning at all. I will not pick a fight over that.
Try this instead: We can make a better choice together with our new knowledge. Breakfast is too important a meal to pay for cartoon figures and loads of sugar/salt instead of nutrition. A little better is already better.
Do you fear how the change will go down? Your best bet may be to transition them gradually. Mix their favorite sugary cereal with a whole grain cereal containing much less sugar and salt.
Look at the pictures above, for example.
In the first image, you have cereal marketed to children, (artificial colors, high sugar and sodium levels and low fiber) mixed with a healthier lower sugar higher fiber no colorings cereal. Notice how easily they blend!
In the second and third images, you see how you can help children transition out of the sugary habit by remembering to add something fresh to their breakfast.
How else can I use the transitioning method? You can do this with flavored sugary yogurts as well. Mix in more and more plain yogurt and fresh fruit until they enjoy the taste of the non-sugary kind.
Next we will look at what behavior is the best predictor of healthy eating