How many times have you heard ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’? Maybe you believe this, maybe you don’t, but whatever your beliefs, when it comes to the morning meal there is no denying that most of the western world has been persuaded – through clever advertising – into believing that certain breakfast cereals are a ‘healthy’ way to start off the day.

According to the National Cereal Council of America, approximately half of all Americans start their day off with a bowl of cereal. The food industry today spends approximately $229 million (in America alone) annually advertising nutritionally void cereals to children. Initially, these breakfast cereals are marketed and advertised to draw in the younger audience; with toys to give-a-way and collect, etc. and then, once the child consumes the product they’re addicted to the taste and so want it every morning. Why are these breakfast cereals addictive? They are full of sugar.

Obesity has become a major issue in the modern Western world, especially amongst young American children and a large proportion of this problem can and should be blamed on excess sugar and processed foods in the diet.

Many of the most popular cereals on the market today are about 40-50% sugar. Complete sugar weight. Especially the breakfast cereals advertised to children; they contain 85% more sugar, 65% less fibre and 60% more sodium than those aimed at adults. Again, making sure the children become addicted and consume the product regularly. On average, just one serving of a typical children’s breakfast cereal equates to more than 90 percent of the daily sugar intake for sedentary girls aged 9 to 13.

The scary thing is most people are not aware of this! They will read the box and think: Oh! Kellogs Cocoa Krispies “help support your child’s immunity”. That’s what the box says.

How? Cocoa Krispies are 40% sugar by weight according to Cereal FACTS (Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score), which was developed based on the best available science, in consultation with a steering committee of experts in nutrition, marketing, and public health, the 10 worst breakfast cereals based on nutrition score are:

  1. Kellogg – Corn Pops (or Pops) – Chocolate Peanut Butter
  2. Quaker – Cap’n Crunch – w/ Crunchberries
  3. Kellogg – Special K – Chocolatey Delight
  4. Kellogg – Special K – Blueberry
  5. General Mills – Reese’s Puffs
  6. General Mills – Fiber One – Caramel Delight
  7. Kellogg – Cocoa Krispies – Choconilla
  8. General Mills – Golden Grahams
  9. General Mills – Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  10. Kellogg – Corn Pops

Unfortunately, breakfast cereals, which were initially developed for convenience and ideally health; have morphed into nothing more than highly processed grains loaded with sugar, preservatives and artificial sweeteners and additives.

So… What Makes a Healthy Breakfast?

Why not try change things up a little.

Changing your breakfast plan can transform your day by starting you off on the right foot with good nutrients, vitamins, minerals, essential fats and protein. Incorporate a good breakfast into your daily routine and you will be so surprised at the difference this makes.

  • Veggie juice is a really simple breakfast alternative, and suitable even for your youngest ones. But not store-bought veggie juices. Make your own. Buy a juicer and look up some juicing recipes. These are delicious and a great way to get your daily boost of nutrients!

  • Porridge (Oatmeal) made with water and add some nuts and seeds

  • Organic egg-omlette made with some leafy green veggies, maybe some meat for protein if you’d like.

  • Greek Yogurt Smoothie (homemade) with fresh fruit

  • 2-3 pieces of raw vegetables, a piece of fruit and a handful of raw nuts!

Be Smart, Eat Smart.

Further reading:

Megan O'Neill

Megan O'Neill is a musician, psychologist, nutrition advisor and an absolute health-nut! She currently resides in London, but - as you may have guessed from the name - is originally from Ireland. Six years ago, following an incredible trip to Asia, she suddenly became very ill with IBS, food intolerances and chronic fatigue. No-one could have predicted how that fateful trip would... Read More

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