Is Cereal Helping Or Harming Your Kids’ Health?

Cereal is a breakfast food that I think it’s safe to say most of us grew up on, or ate on a regular basis, throughout childhood. Maybe you still eat cereal now, I certainly do.

Breakfast cereals are certainly a great way to serve breakfast quickly and conveniently, without having to break the bank to do so. There have been plenty of criticisms that are quick to point out some of the potential negative health aspects of consuming cereal on a regular basis, which has caused us to even second-guess the use of one of the most common breakfast items in our nation.

I wouldn’t say all cereal is inherently horrible for everyone’s health, but I do think it’s important to make the right choices when it comes to consuming cereal. As with most processed food products, certain types of cereal may be more beneficial for your children’s health than others, based on a few important factors. 

The Cons

One of the leading criticisms of cereal, especially those aimed at children, is the astonishingly high amount of sugar that is added. All it takes is one quick glance at the Nutrition Facts label on your child’s favorite cereal package to see an abundance of added sugar that is unhealthy as well as unnecessary. Too much sugar, especially early in the day, can cause tiredness, irritability, and even a decline in cognitive functioning. Look instead for cereals that do not have any form of sugar listed as one of the first three ingedients in the product for a healthier breakfast alternative.

This may lead you to reach for a fortified cereal option instead, but nutritionists are quick to point out the importance of being cautious with these choices as well. Although cereals fortified with vitamins and minerals are generally great for adults, they may provide too much nutritional value for children. Kids need less amounts of food and nutrients than adults, so overloading them with heavily-fortified cereals may cause more harm than good. Since fortified cereals are often made for adult bodies, you need to be careful about how much you allow your child to indulge. 

Alternatives

Making cereal a healthy breakfast choice can be a difficult balancing act, which is why you may want to start serving different options, such as whole wheat toast with nut butter spread, egg and spinach omelettes, or fruit and yogurt parfaits. 

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of torbakhopper

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.