Tuesday, September 7, 2010

sugary cereal first-hand

So we generally try to stay with cereals with less than 6 grams of sugar per serving. Sweet foods are easy to like, and tend to replace other foods and worsen variety, and thereby nutritional quality. Meaning, kids will often eat only sweet things if given the chance. (It's why desserts and sweets are treated differently with the Division of Responsibility.)

I watched this first-hand with our first box of Frosted Flakes. I took M with me shopping, something I try not to do, and she asked for frosted flakes. I had already said "no" to ding-dongs and a few other things (I much prefer Ghirardelli brownies anyway, which M also likes...) and I wanted to see what happened, so we bought a box.

We had the cereal on offer the next few mornings, and literally ALL M ate was dry frosted flakes. Nothing else. Not enough variety, not enough fat or protein to sustain her and our mornings were more difficult. I didn't explain that she needed to eat other things, but after 3 mornings of this, we said, she "could have toast, eggs or Kix or Oat Squares today." She chose the toast and some Oat Squares and milk and was fine. I expected a big battle for the FF's but didn't have it.

It was an interesting experiment. We might offer it on occasion, when she's home and I know I can offer a balanced snack or lunch, but it definitely confirmed the sweets-kill-variety if not managed appropriately.

What have you noticed with sugary foods?


  1. For me, sugary foods lost their aura as soon as I stopped restricting and gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted, so I always thought sugar was so appealing because of the way it's been constructed as a "naughty" or even "forbidden" food. It's good to know that sweet foods tend to replace other foods even when there has been no previous restriction, and even in individuals who, like M, don't have a notion of "good" v. "bad" foods... Very, very interesting.

    I'm curious about your decision not to take M shopping with you... What age would you say is appropriate to start doing that? Whenever I go to the supermarket I see at least one little kid throwing a tantrum, and I always wonder how it could be handled...

  2. Ila,
    I agree about foods losing their aura when you give yourself permission. Glad you experienced that! I too have lost most interest in Coke, pass on most cakes (poor quality ones anyway...) because it doesn't taste as good as I remember/want them to.
    I can and do take her shopping with me, but it really slows me down, and I do get barraged with requests for foods I normally wouldn't buy. it's just more work, but doable. There is usually one or more "treat" foods that I am buying so I don't get too pestered, but marketers put cartoons on things for a reason, and it's just more work to fight the requests for Spongebob fruit snacks or Frosted Flakes... I should send out a blog request for how families deal with that at the market. Thanks!

  3. We have the same box of cereal in our cupboard. Not sure what is worse, the sugary cereal or the healthy cheerios that Jon dumps a couple spoonfuls of sugar on before serving to the boys.
    This makes me think of something else that I must tell you. Last night I offered the boys a scoop of vanilla ice cream as their "bedtime snack". They were happy with that. Then I walk into the kitchen and Jon is letting Carson pour my red and green sugar (sugar I use for decorating x-mas cookies) on top of his icecream!! Guess who's crazy idea this was? Not the child, but the parent!

  4. Ha! I love it! We've had sprinkles for breakfast before... I think it's part of a healthy relationship with the "forbidden foods." As long is it's within the framework of meals and snacks... we were with grampa last week. M loves his oatmeal because he does pretty much 1:1 brown sugar to oatmeal! It's hilarious!