A recent study conducted by Environmental Working Group has revealed that children’s breakfast cereals contain more than 40% more sugar than adult cereals. With the ongoing push to reduce the sugar content of foods that children eat, many are looking alternatives for children that are lower in sugar that will still have the nutritional benefits contained in a bowl of breakfast cereal.
Oats have been around for centuries, and are recognizable by the Quaker brand’s iconic red box with a Quaker man on the front. Oats are whole grains, which means that they help to lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and others. When cooked on the stove top by hand, which takes a few minutes to make, oatmeal is a healthy source of fiber, iron, B vitamins, and magnesium that has very little sugar content. One reason that some people choose breakfast cereal over plain oatmeal is tat the taste is not appetizing. By adding fruit and nuts, as well as spices, one can create a more palatable style of oatmeal that has even more nutrients, and does not contain added sugars. Oatmeal has also been proven to reduce LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels and aid in weight loss.
Amaranth is one of the superfoods that have been getting press lately. Like its relatives quinoa and buckwheat, amaranth is a seed that is typically cooked and used as a grain. A single 1/4 cup serving has eight grams of protein, seven grams of fiber, and provides good levels of iron, potassium, and calcium. Amaranth also contains high levels of lysine, an essential amino acid that is rarely found in grains at significant levels. As an alternative breakfast that is lower in sugars than cereal, amaranth can be used to make crepes or muffins, and can also be cooked on the stove and topped with cinnamon and fruits.
Custom Blend Breakfast Cereal
Another option for healthy morning meals is to custom order cereal blends that feature high quality ingredients. Bags can be ordered in 12 or 16 ounce bags, and feature a wide selection of options for cereal bases, fruits, and extras. There are gluten-free, organic, preservative-free, and GMO-free options available, and each ingredient is labeled with symbols to indicate which categories it fits into. Each bag of cereal is priced per ingredient, with prices ranging from free to just under two dollars per item. After the desired mix is selected, the price of the mix is shown on the side of the screen, and there is a button that can be clicked to show the nutritional information of the mix as well. The site also offers its own selection of ready made mixes, which are all available for under $10 in the 12 ounce size.
Breakfast cereal is getting negative feedback for its sugar content, but there are alternatives that have a lower concentration that allow children to have a healthier start to their day. As culinary science is advancing, the options for breakfast foods are becoming more varied.
By Joseph Chisarick