I have written previously about what a minefield of misinformation weaning can be here and how I feel parents are misled by labels and supposedly ‘healthy options here. Well I’m back up on my soap box again today, with another favourite topic of mine, the ‘most important meal of the day’; Breakfast.
I believe that the guidelines relating to breakfast beautifully illustrate the dilema we as Parents face. It’s only possible to make decisions based on the information accessible to us at the time. There was a generation which believed a fry up (complete with deep friend bread, sausages, fried egg, and baked beans) was the breakfast of champions. Then fat was called out as the bad guy by the food industry. It’s called fat right? The name is the give away. It must be what’s making everyone bigger and sicker. You can read more about the ‘sugar conspiracy’ here. So fat free was the order of the day, unfortunately, once the fat was gone, the flavour needed to be boosted, and the obvious choice was: sugar. By the time my parents became parents the all new balanced healthy breakfast was unveiled, which often looked like:
A glass of pure Tropicana orange juice (25g sugar), a low fat Muller light yoghurt (12g sugar), and a 40g bowl of cereal coco pops my first choice (15g sugar) but if they’d run out I would accept cheerios (8g sugar) or special k if I was being ‘healthy’ (6g sugar).
This ‘healthy’ breakfast equates to 53g sugar (a Mars bar contains 30g sugar) and the World Health Organisation recommends less than half that for daily total of sugar for Children. Yet I could consume more than twice the limit of sugar before even leaving the house for school in the morning, but choosing the ‘healthy’ option.
I continue to me amazed that Breakfast cereals are still such a popular for Children’s breakfast. And yet, at the same time-I’m not. They’re packaged attractively, marketed cleverly, and we were all raised on the myth that a bowl of the stuff was the best way to start the day.
So what do I eat for breakfast? Well some days to be honest I eat cake-mostly that’s just birthdays. And seeing as a big slice of Coffee & Walnut cake only has 36g sugar p/slice perhaps I should be doing it more often.
And somedays, despite having been up since five AM, I find it’s mid morning and I have been so busy trying to get the bebe fed, dressed, kept entertained and then mobilised out the house, I haven’t eaten a thing, so then I will inhale a crummy packaged sandwich (which nutritionally makes the cake start to look like a balanced option).
But when life is going our way, and I tend to opt for:
- Frittata type options. They can be pre made, require no reheating, can sneak in a load of veggies/random wilted leftovers, and are very portable (eg. cam be fed to toddler in the car whilst I am running late).
- A blitzed smoothie, not to be mistaken with a juice, a mix of veggies and fruit which has be pulverised in it’s whole form. A quick, and sneaky way to boost everyones vitamin and mineral intake.
- Nut butters are fantastic, we loved Almond and Cashew in this house, and Intrepid Bebe can often be found helping herself to spoonfuls of the stuff!
- Porridge is a another favourite of mine, made fresh, or served (hot old cold) as overnight oats, it can be prepared in advance and are so easy.
- Avo on toast may be the hipsters go to dish, but it’s also been a staple in our home for years and it one of my favourite brekkies.
- Eggs! In any form really, scrambled with smoked salmon is my luxurious favourite, with an added omega bonus.
- Pancakes, my all time favourite breakfast, brunch or dinner, and can be made with no added sugar and served with berry compote rather than syrup.
Evidence clearly shows that fat is no longer the bad guy. A study of European countries and fat consumption found the countries with the highest intakes actually had the lowest rate of heart disease. Another study pinpointed the obesity epidemic in the USA starting at the same point the low fat dietary recommendations were published.
Sarah Wilson’s website ‘I Quite Sugar’ and books, they a great resource for leaning about hidden sources of sugar and how to reduce the sugar intake for your family. along with tasty recipes.
I also recommend all parents what Damien Gameau’s ‘That Sugar Film’, it’s eye opening watching and impossible not to be left with a lasting impression. His website has the link to watch the film, along with recipes, research and information for Schools.
Do you worry about hidden sugars? Do you opt for alternatives to cereal in your house? I’d love to hear!