Finding a breakfast cereal free of sugar of any kind is almost impossible. Today I may have done the impossible. Artisse organic cinnamon spelt flakes do contain barley malt extract, however it is the second last ingredient listed instead of the second as is the case with most cereals containing sugar, and there is less than 1 gram of sugar in the whole 300g box (pictured below). I can live with that. I found this in the health food aisle of Coles supermarket. (Does anyone else find it curious that there is a health food aisle? What does that say about the rest of the food sold in supermarkets?)
There’s a lot riding on a nutritious breakfast, it sets you up – or down – for your day. Who really thinks eating sugar for breakfast is a good idea? I’d say no one but really most people opt for convenience over truth.
Food manufacturers push health claims on the front of the packet, while the truth is in the fine print, the ingredients label.
So, what to do?
Avoid buying packaged breakfast foods that goes for cereal, breakfast bars and breakfast drinks.
Instead, go for the whole grain – oats, quinoa, amaranth, brown rice – and make porridge. A TEASPOON of honey or maple syrup on a wholefood porridge is better than any packaged cereal.
Poached or boiled eggs on good quality bread are a good option.
Avocado with a squeeze of lemon juice on toast.
The weather is warming up here in Oz making fruit salad a good start to the day with some whole grain toast and nut spread.
If you do buy cereal look out for these words: maltodextrin, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, sorbitol, high fructose corn syrup, rice syrup, sucrose, maltose....to name a few other names for sugar. Not to forget maple syrup and honey.
While we’re at the breakfast table, so to speak, watch out for other high sugar hijackers like yoghurt and fruit juice. Much healthier to eat a piece of fruit than drink a juice. Real yoghurt does not contain sugar. Try natural yoghurt with no sugar and stir in some fresh fruit and if you must so the kids will eat it add a small spoon of honey. Sugar is addictive. If you are making changes remember you are weaning yourself and your family off something you have been consuming for years. It will take time and possibly a few tantrums but they will pass. If the sugar options are not in the house they can’t be eaten and they can’t be the trigger for a fuss.
For readers with new babies – congratulations! – I’d recommend not getting yourself into a situation where your child is demanding sugar by not introducing sugar to their diet right from the start. My two year old loves natural yoghurt because he has never eaten yoghurt with sugar in it – a very strong case of what they don’t know about can’t hurt them!
I’d love to hear about your favorite real food breakfast.