Sometimes it’s difficult to say no to your children at the grocery store as they grab for their favorite box of cereal. You know it’s not the healthiest option for them, but it might be all they will eat for breakfast.
What are the biggest culprits? Honey Smacks, Golden Crisp, Froot Loops and Cap’n Crunch all made the Environmental Working Group’s list of most sugary cereals in 2011.
How do you wean your child off his or her favorite sugary cereal?
1. Introduce a similar cereal with better nutrition facts. Try giving them healthier alternatives. This doesn’t mean you need to go from Lucky Charms to oatmeal, but it does mean looking for cereals that have a lower sugar and sodium rate. Some kid-friendly cereals (with less than 12 grams of sugar per cup) to check out: Kashi Honey Sunshine, Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats and General Mills’ Kix.
2. Try eggs and bacon. It might be worth taking a few extra minutes in the morning to fix your child a hot breakfast with a high-quality protein source, said the editor of author of the book “Eat This Not That for Kids.” Plus, unlike sugary cereals, this breakfast has good fats and energy they need to get through a long school day — instead of hyping them up on sugar, to crash later in the day. Make the eggs and bacon the way your kids like them — and maybe present them in a fun way.
3. Blend a fruity smoothie. Smoothies are a great way to give kids the sugar they crave in a healthy, nourishing way. Most any fruit can be blended in a fun, fruity drink. Plus, smoothies also allow Mom or Dad to sneak in other nutrient-rich foods children might not normally eat. These are fast and easy to make (and can be prepared the night before). Here are a few recipes we’ve come up with (each recipe makes 5 to 7 servings):
2 bananas, broken
2 Light Blueberry Activia
1/3 cup blueberries
1½ cup strawberries, sliced
1 cup milk
1 cup ice cubes
Blend. This smooth fruity classic packs in antioxidants and live yogurt cultures to boost kids’ immunity.
1 avocado, sliced
2 pears, sliced
1 cup milk
1 cup frozen raspberries
squeeze of honey
2 cup dices pears in juice (Dole)
1 cup ice
½ cup sweet green tea
Blend. Kids will get the avocado health boost, but not the taste.
2 cup orange juice
1 cup strawberries, sliced
4 oz. blueberry fat-free yogurt
2 cups ice
Blend. The blueberry orange juice mix will nourish their body and mind.
*If your child likes chocolate, try whipping up a smoothie with chocolate soy milk, bananas, peanut butter and Greek yogurt.