Monday, January 25, 2010

Breakfast Anyone?

I'm not telling any of you anything you don't already know when I say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! You've all heard the quote, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper." I love this quote, and I love breakfast. I think it would be MUCH easier to live-like-a-king-in-the-morning if life in the AM could slow down just a bit. Who has the same time available before rushing out the door in the mornings to make breakfast that we may (or may not) have in the evening? Our mornings are packed with getting kids ready for school, ourselves and husbands ready for work, morning workouts, etc. My almost-2-year-old is seriously starving the instant she wakes up in the morning, so if breakfast can't be on her plate in 2.5 seconds, we're all in for a rough morning.

However, if my kids don't get a good breakfast, we're not only in for a rough morning, we're in for a rough day! As much as they (and don't we all) love them, sugary cereals are not an okay breakfast option. The havoc wreaked on their blood sugar first thing in the morning leaves us all in a state of hysteria for the rest of the day.

I do, however, love cereal. A few months ago, when I was still in first-trimester-of-pregnancy hades, I had to stay in bed while my husband fed the kids breakfast. If we didn't have any cereal, they wouldn't get fed, and I'd end up getting out of bed to the sounds of their screams. They were hungry, and ornery. The trick was finding breakfast cereals that are full of healthful attributes, are low in sugar, have no saturated or trans fat, are full of whole grains, and most importantly...still taste great!

If you feel guilty for providing nothing-but-cereal for breakfast, don't! Cereal has lots of benefits! If you're a ready-to-eat cereal eater, you probably consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than a non-cereal eater? Cereals contain important vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. So actually, cereal is a guilt-free top source of key nutrients in children´s diets!

Shopping for cereal, however, is no easy task...especially with kids in tow! The only boxes they want to buy are the boxes that may as well be full of little cookies. Dessert for breakfast? No way! Maybe my kids are missing out on "fun" breakfast traditions like donuts and cookie-cereal, but my life is much easier because I simply don't provide these options in the morning.

A few weeks ago, I received an email with information from General Mills through MyBlogSpark. They offered me coupons for four free boxes of cereal. Anyone who knows my husband knows that this family loves freebies! (He was once the Showcase Winner on The Price is Right to name one of many instances...) I jumped at the chance to score some free cereal, and was even more excited when I read about the changes General Mills is making in the cereal world!

General Mills recently announced a commitment to further reduce sugar in cereals advertised to kids under 12 to single digit grams of sugar per serving. The company has already been reducing sugar in cereals while increasing key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, and providing whole grain. Yay!

Eating a good breakfast is important for ALL of us, but several studies have shown the benefits especially for kids, including the following:
  • Ready-to-eat cereals, including presweetened cereals, account for only 5% of sugar in children´s diets.
  • Ready-to-eat cereal is the No. 1 source of whole grains in a child´s diet today.
  • More frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights and lower Body Mass Index measures.
  • Studies also demonstrate the benefits of eating breakfast. A 1998 study showed that children who eat breakfast tend to perform better at school. Compared to children who skip breakfast, children who eat breakfast score higher on tests, are less likely to miss class or be tardy, have fewer reported discipline problems, and make fewer trips to the office.

For more information about kids and cereals from General Mills, please visit the Cereal Health and Wellness page.

Find a cereal that works for you! A few years ago, my in-law-extended-family had a reunion. Everyone was supposed to bring a box of cereal to share. I brought one of my favorites which my husband's aunt tasted. After taking a bite, she exclaimed, "This tastes like cardboard!" So yes, one person's perfect whole-grain cereal with less sugar is another person's bowl of sawdust. If you're one who prefers breakfast cereals that come in lots of colors and artificial flavors, then you might have to choose between taste and nutrition. But if you like a cereal with natural flavors from toasted whole grains, and maybe some nuts and dried fruit, you'll have many healthful cereals to choose from. And according to General Mills, tasty cereal's about to get healthier! I can't wait! Also, if you click here, you can score a coupon for $1 off some cereal! Enjoy!

And just in case I didn't make it clear, General Mills provided me with the free product, information, and gift pack through MyBlogSpark.

What did you eat for breakfast?


Shirley Hale said...

Awesome post! I love breakfast and now that I am a mom, I actually eat it! My fav cereal is Raisin Bran. SO good! I love that it is high in fiber so one of my bowls is like two servings of cereal. I love to put bananas in there as well. Usually it's the other half that Ryan doesn't eat. :)

That's awesome about sugary cereals being less sugary. Jared will be way excited about that! His fav is cinnamon toasted crunch. A bit too much sugar if you ask me!

Michael said...

Very informative post. I just had a Kashi granola bar and am about to go back for some Kashi Autumn Harvest (like frosted mini wheats sans frosting). I also skip the milk and drink soy milk, since I still can't get over The China Study.

Marci & Marcus said...

well, you caught me on a good day because after my intense 5:45 am LIFT class thismorning I came home famished and had two eggs on a 100% whole wheat Orowheat bun spread with Smart Balance and toasted and 3 pieces of turkey bacon. Pretty healthy if you ask me and fabulously delicious!! oh and Kashi gives me really bad gas so I don't even go there!!!

Jill said...

I eat a lot for breakfast; it's probably my biggest meal. I usually do an early-morning workout and then I'll have 2 eggs (yeah, pretty much every day...that's a little too much for some people, but I love eggs) and something high-fiber like Kashi. Plus maybe a piece of fruit. This usually keeps me full until lunch. As for the kids...I just try not to buy the sugary cereals. Except for Frosted Mini Wheats, which I can kind of justify because it has so much fiber.

Jer + Lu said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm rarely hungry in the morning, so I feel guilty eating breakfast! I absolutely love breakfast foods though-- cereal included.

Diane said...

Great post Robyn! I heard about General Mills cutting the sugar. It's about time!

Grandma Hand said...

Great Post Robyn. I have never been a breakfast person but lately I have been trying to be more of a morning breakfast person. I love the way you are being so health conscious. Love ya lots

EmmyLou said...

Robyn! Just found your blog! It's emily maycock from byu days! I love (and my 3 yo niece likes it too)homemade yogurt and granola. You can really control the sugar content in the yogurt. And you can put whatever dried fruit, etc. in the granola - super easy to make and delicious! Ot you can eat the granola with milk like cereal.