We’ve been sold on the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And by “sold”, we mean that breakfast cereal companies have turned a massive profit off of pumping our children with sugar first thing in the morning on a daily basis.
It is common to try and fill their bellies before school but there are several issues with this picture of a standard child’s morning routine and cereal plays a huge role in that.
- The child may not be hungry
If a child isn’t hungry in the morning, the best option may seem to be to entice them with colorful, sugar filled cereals. But the reality is that children have an innate set of hunger signals that they should be listening to. By trying to override those hunger signals and just “get something in your stomach” even if you’re not hungry, we’re teaching children to ignore the natural cues for hunger that their body is communicating to them. If your child isn’t hungry in the morning, try packing a snack (fruit/oats/homemade granola) that they can take with them and eat once they’ve had a chance to wake up and get ready to accept food
2. Filling their bellies is different than nourishing them
It is often seen as an act of love to send a child off to school with a full belly ready for the day but we know that what really matters is what you’re filling those bellies with. Nourishing a child with quality food should be the focus rather than just making sure that their stomach gets filled up.
The difference here is that by shifting focus from getting them to consume anything from a quantity standpoint to providing quality nutrition we will start to see the difference in their health, their demeanor and their ability to thrive.
3. The sugar content in cereals is diminishing their health, not helping them grow
The amount of sugar found in cereals marketed to children is staggering and actually contributing to health conditions that many children are dealing with. In a standard box of cereal, there are 12-20 grams of sugar per every 100 grams. That means 20% of what your child is eating as part of a daily morning routine is all sugar and most of it is refined sugar that is an addictive chemical in their bodies. Visit theEnvironmental Working Group to find out the biggest sugar offenders in the industry.
This sugar consumption is causing widespread issues with their developing gut biome as well as their brain health. Getting rid of the highly processed cereals and sending your child to school with a belly full of fruit can help with everything from their quality of sleep and instances of bed-wetting to their happiness levels and ability to concentrate in school.
Being educated about what you put in front of your child and teach them to consume is the single best thing you can do for your child’s health and development especially as they get back to school.