Refining Your Child’s Palate


We try to eat varied foods for breakfast, but I’ll be honest, we love cereal.  Not all cereal is created equal though.  There are MANY cereals out there and there are MANY that are no better more than eating plain sugar.

I remember as a child not being allowed to have sugary cereals.  I ate lower sugar cereals like plain Cheerios and Rice Krispies.

Serving Size Protein Fiber Sugar
Cheerios1 1 Cup 3g 3g 1g
Rice Krispies2 1 1/4 Cup 2g 0g 4g

Once a year, when we were on vacation, I could get the variety pack of cereals – those small one serving boxes.  I could choose any variety pack I wanted – and I chose the one with cereals like Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks.

Serving Size Protein Fiber Sugar
Fruit Loops3 1 Cup 1g 3g 12g
Apple Jacks4 1 Cup 1g 3g 12g

Eek!  This is why I was only allowed to make those choices once a year!  It was a treat and by the end of the week I was ready to go back to my normal cereals.

We were recently traveling and my 3-year-old had the opportunity to try a new cereal.  It was the only one available and he wanted cereal so I said ok.  As I nostalgically thought back to my childhood years and those special cereal treats I poured him a small serving of Special K with Red Berries and he did the funniest thing.  He ate the dried strawberries and left the flakes.  He did this two days in a row and then told me he didn’t want anymore of “that cereal”.  I couldn’t figure it out at first and then I realized, he didn’t like the added sugar.  When I asked him about it, he confirmed my guess.  He wasn’t interested in the sugary flakes.  Check out the chart below for what he is accustomed to eating in comparison to the Special K with Red Berries.

Serving Size Protein Fiber Sugar
Special K with Red Berries5 1 Cup 2g 3g 9g
Greenwise Organic Toasted Oats6 1 Cup 4g 3g 1g
Kashi Organic Promise Autumn Wheat7* 29 biscuits 6g 6g 7g
Cascadian Farms Multi-Grain Squares8* 1 Cup 5g 4g 7g

*Only used as an occasional snack or treat.

This experience reminded me that by offering better choices when he is young, K is developing a palate that craves whole grains, protein, and fiber.  His palate is also learning to reject sugar in high quantities.  You may not always have control over the choices available, but when possible I encourage you to offer healthy choices.  If you are looking for a good cereal, remember that you are aiming for at least 3 grams of protein and fiber and less than 6 grams of sugar per serving.  You also want to avoid hydrogenated oils, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, and high fructose corn syrup.

Feel free to email me if you need some cereal suggestions!

 

References:

1 http://www.cheerios.com/en/Products/Cheerios.aspx

2 http://images.kglobalservices.com/www.ricekrispies.com/en_us/productitemnutrition/kic-585/kicproductimage-123259_123259-08863_3800037937.gif

3 http://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/kelloggs-froot-loops-cereal.html

4 http://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/kelloggs-apple-jacks-cereal.html

5 http://www.specialk.com/en_us/products/cold-cereals/red-berries.html

6 Taken from Box

7 https://www.kashi.com/our-foods/cold-cereal/kashi-autumn-wheat-whole-wheat-biscuits

8 http://www.cascadianfarm.com/products/cereals/cereal/multi-grain-squares