The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

The Cereal Solution – How and When to Eat those Sugary Ceareals


Recipe of the Week

My children are grown now, and they are both adventurous eaters. However, if you ask them about their childhood, I’m sure they would say they suffered some epicurean deprivation. You see, their mean mom was a stickler about breakfast. I didn’t want my kids to have a sugary start to their day. In those days I worked for the clinic that administered the WIC program, so I knew which high-iron, low-sugar cereals were WIC approved. Those were the cereals I bought, in addition to high protein or high fiber (and low sugar) cereals.

These were not the cereals they saw in commercials or the ones their friends discussed at school. They really wanted to experience sugary cereals, which I referred to as junk cereals. Our trips to the grocery included multiple requests for ‘just one box’ of junk cereal. I solved this problem by using my Friday afternoons off work to go to store by myself, timing it so the kids could help unload the groceries and put them away after school.

When my son, the negotiator, was in fourth or fifth grade, he approached me with a proposal. “Mom” he said, “if we can’t have junk cereal for breakfast, can we have it for dessert at supper?”

Hmmm. I allowed cookies after they ate a good supper. Even ‘junk cereal’ has more vitamins and minerals and less sugar and fat than cookies, I thought. They’ll have milk over it, probably more than they’d have with cookies. “Well, Ben, that’s good idea! Yes, you can have junk cereal for dessert!”

So I started buying junk cereal, one box at a time–their choice–for dessert! For breakfast we continued to have WIC cereal, or high protein, high fiber, low sugar cereal. The Edington kids expanded the number of cereals they had tasted, even if it wasn’t for breakfast. And our dinners were even more nutritious. Win-Win!

Sally Edington
Director, Healthier Moms and Babies

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