Sugary foods and drinks like cereal, pastries, fruit spreads and orange juice are known for being breakfast staples, but you might want to think twice before serving them in combination with one another for your kid's breakfast. According to a new study from England, children under age 10 have half their daily recommended sugar intake before they even get to school!
Kids consume the equivalent of three cubes–or 11 grams—of sugar every morning for breakfast, researchers from Public Health England have found. Compare this to the recommended daily maximum for kids: just five cubes of sugar for four to six-year-olds and six cubes for seven to 10-year-olds. That's a lot of sugar in one (early) meal for kids' growing bodies. As each day goes on, it doesn't doesn't get much better. The study found that kids end up consuming more than three times the recommended sugar limit by bedtime.
Moreover, parents are in the dark about how unhealthy their kids' breakfasts are. The study, originally highlighted in The Guardian, also found that eight out of 10 parents believe their children's breakfast is healthy.
Although the research was based on children's daily sugar intake across the pond, it's more than likely that American kids are also consuming high levels of sugar during breakfast. With obesity among kids and adults a serious problem in the United States—two in three adults and one-third of children and adolescents age six to 19 are considered overweight or obese—it's a warning we also need to hear.
For kids and adults, a sugar habit can be difficult to kick, but let's not forget how not-so-sweet the consequences are to our health: too much sugar may play a role in weight gain, and sugary drinks alone have been linked to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, increased risk of heart attack, heart disease and gout.
Looking to revamp your kid's breakfast (and your own), stat? Here are some easy ways to start:
- Go sugar-free with a hot cereal. In 2014, the Environmental Working Group did a report on children’s cereals, and found that hot cereals, such as oatmeal, cream of wheat and grits, offered the most sugar-free and low-sugar (containing less than 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving) options. The only exception: instant oatmeal—they average 75 percent more sugar than cooked-from-scratch oatmeal.
- No time for hot cereal? Opt for a low-sugar cold cereal. Sugar-free cold cereal options are scarce, especially ones marketed toward kids. The EWG report mentions 10 of the least sugary children’s cereals they found, which include Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and General Mills Cheerios.
- Skip the granola. It’s not as healthy as you think. The EWG found that granola actually has more sugar per serving than cereals.
- Don’t be frightened by the sugar content in milk. The sugar in milk is naturally occurring, so it has nutritional value compared to added sugars, which have none. The same goes for the sugar in plain yogurt and other unsweetened dairy products.
- Top pancakes with syrup alternatives. Use fruit, which contains healthy sugar, or peanut butter, which is low in sugar, to add extra flavor to your pancakes.
Written by Maricar Santos for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.
Featured image provided by Working Mother