A Week’s Worth of Back-to-School Breakfasts
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I know, I know. It’s hard to come up with healthy breakfasts day after day. Not only are you trying to get everyone out the door in the morning in a timely fashion, you’re most likely fighting the more insidious issue of advertising. Sugary breakfast cereals being hawked to a captive audience of young viewers, grab-and-go bars decked out with healthy-looking labels, frozen waffles swimming in high fructose corn syrup! What’s a parent to do?
Grow up. Be the adult. You may have to say “no” to that box of Froot Loops (which, by the way, I’ve noticed are now being sold to adults in a nostalgic commercial where the parents are playing video games and gulping down the box of
sugar Froot Loops after the kids have gone to bed. Don’t be taken in. You do know how much sugar is in that, right?)
Oh, and another little tidbit about Froot Loops. Did you know that all the fruit flavors are actually the same? You’re just getting some added artificial color with your sugar.
Don’t despair. You can make fast, easy breakfast foods that are healthy, too. I’ve been there. First, whole grain cereal is a great option. Add a few blueberries, raspberries or strawberries (they are currently 3 packages for $5 at Sprouts) and you’re boosting the nutritional value – and adding some natural sweetness. You can add your own sugar, just be sparing.
According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, “most Americans get more than 22 teaspoons – or 355 calories – of added sugar a day.” The recommended amount is no more than 100 calories a day for most women and 150 a day for most men, 6 and 9 teaspoons, respectively.
KIDS SHOULD ONLY HAVE ABOUT 3 OR 4 TEASPOONS OF ADDED SUGAR A DAY, WHICH IS 12-16 GRAMS.
So, read the labels on the food you’re buying to see how many grams of sugar is in the product per serving. Four grams equals about one teaspoon. Just because it says “healthy” or “low-fat” doesn’t mean it isn’t loaded down with sugar. Some yogurts have 5 or 6 teaspoons of sugar per serving! It’s best to get plain, low-fat yogurt and use fruit as a sweetener.
Here’s some more information from the Mayo Clinic site regarding reading labels. “Sugar” by any other name is:
Different names for added sugar: Sugar goes by many different names, depending on its source and how it was made. This can also make it hard to identify added sugar, even when you read ingredient lists and food labels.
Check for ingredients ending in "ose" — that's the chemical name for many types of sugar, such as fructose, glucose, maltose and dextrose. Here's a list of other common types of added sugar:
- Cane juice and cane syrup
- Corn sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrate and nectars
- Malt syrup
Despite what you may have heard, there's no nutritional advantage for honey, brown sugar, fruit juice concentrate or other types of sugar over white sugar.
So, there you have it.
I promised to give you 5 days of breakfast foods other than cereal, so here you go: