As a busy Mum of four young kids I understand that Cereal is the quick and easy breakfast option for families in a rush to get out of the house. Breakfast is a controversial topic of late and we all know that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” But I want to bring your attention to the fact that cereal for breakfast is one of the worst choices!
Why is cereal so bad?
Would you let your kids sit down to a chocolate bar for breakfast? Well, I can tell you for sure that some branded breakfast cereals you are eating in the morning contain as much calories and sugar as your average chocolate bar. Yes, I know that the box says “made with healthy whole grains” but just because they were once whole in some other incarnation doesn’t mean that kernels of wheat or corn that have been ground into flour and stripped of nutrients and fibre can actually count as “whole grain”.
Activates brain chemicals that make you feel sleepy.
In popular adverts you see people skipping off to work and school full of energy ready for the busy day ahead. This is a common misconception, high unhealthy carbohydrates like breakfast cereal stimulate transmitters in the brain, making you feel sedated and sleepy, while slowing energy use. Hardly conducive for productivity at work or learning at school!
Typically made of Wheat, Corn or Soy
These foods along with potatoes make up 50% of the average westerners diet. Our digestives systems are simply not able to cope effectively with so much sugar so fast. Furthermore, they are fairly allergenic. For example modern wheat contains more strains of gluten than say 50 years ago which is harmful to people with Coeliac disease.
Due to large degree of processing most cereal are stripped of nutrients. Food manufacturing companies therefore have to add or “fortify” cereals with low grade chemical versions of vitamins and minerals so they can brand their product as healthy and state on the packaging “high in iron” or “a good source of calcium”.
What should you eat instead of Cereal?
Here are my main steps towards a healthier breakfast for you and your family.
You will not find high quality proteins in breakfast foods such as breakfast bars or cereals but in fact in foods like eggs, Greek yogurts, smoked salmon, steak or chicken breast. I love protein pancakes made by blending 2 eggs, 2 scoops of whey protein powder, cooked in a little butter in a pan. These proteins will set your brain and metabolism up for the day. I suggest planning your breakfast around a protein. It helps balance blood sugar, triggering the release of gut hormones that suppress appetite. It also activates the energising neurotransmitters such as dopamine.
Eggs and smoked salmon naturally provide a supply of healthy fat so there is no need to add additional fat to these breakfast foods. However a healthy fat for breakfast is a must because it provides fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D and K . It also helps regulate blood sugar and appetite, leaving you less likely to crash and crave more high sugar foods. Try sliced avocados, or by adding some seeds or nuts to your Greek yogurt.
Everyone can benefit by including a low carb food at breakfast. Examples of healthy carbs include loose porridge oats (not boxed ones). Low sugar fruits like Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries. Sprinkle some of these onto your Greek yogurt or create a smoothie blend and add a hand full of spinach and some water.
Banishing the breakfast cereal and starting the day with high quality protein breakfast is a easy way to take control you stay on point with motivations and eating throughout the day. Plan every meal to include a whole protein, healthy fat and healthy carbs that meets your individual goals and nutritional needs of your family.