Cereals in themselves can be healthy. However, when you eat shop bought breakfast cereals, you are often increasing your daily intake of salt and sugar to levels above the recommended levels, but that isn’t exactly clear on the boxes. Especially considering that the size of portions are lower than what most of us eat, per serving. You have to delve much deeper to work out the nutritional values of the meal. You don’t need to be a scientist to work this out, but once you know what you are looking for, you can quickly see for yourself.
Surely we want to know what we are consuming and as the breakfast to many is considered the most important meal to get your day off to a perfect start, it is just as important to prepare a healthy meal, just as you would for the evening meal. It is all about eating a balanced diet, so consideration is needed to include this is your daily meal plan.
I did a small, unscientific investigation into the contents of breakfast cereal most of us eat. They are not healthy, as they contain large quantities of both sugar and salt. In fact one brand had over 40 grams of sugar in a single portion. Health bodies, such as the WHO (World Health Organisation) have recommended that 6 teaspoons of sugar should be our daily limit (24 grams). You can read the post here.
Consider that there are 4 grams of sugar in each teaspoon, so some cereal portions have more than the daily sugar limit. Over time, this is seriously unhealthy. Too much ‘free-flowing’ sugar (added not natural sugar), uncontrolled, are main courses of obesity and diabetes, which is no longer limited to just adults, but is affecting children in alarming numbers.
I too, like many parents, did not think that breakfast cereals could be that bad for you, as I have eaten them since a child. How wrong I was! You don’t want to fuss around what children eat, but you care what they consume, right?
Having read all this, I felt it was time to look at creating healthy alternatives to shop bought breakfast cereals, with the minimum of fuss and most you can prepare in bulk for the whole family. I have looked at a balance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, limiting sugar, salt and fat over the week in each breakfast seating. Here are my five personal favourites:
I have chosen these particular five recipes, as they are all easy, adaptable and can be prepared in advance. The added bonus is that you can mix and match ingredients to suit your own taste buds. Vary the flavours, so that you don’t become tired of the same flavours, day in, day out.
The recipes are also good for using up leftover ingredients. No one likes wasting food, right? Fruit and veg like (oranges, apples and carrots) can be utilised in the smoothies and muffins. Soft fruit, i.e. berries past their best can be turned into a fruit compote. Most people have oats in their larder. A quick pre-prepared overnight breakfast; protein rich oats with nuts, apple and spice.
All these recipes are low sugar and adaptable as “free-from” dishes. You can make dairy free, wheat free, gluten free and vegetarian versions. No longer is it necessary to skip breakfast.
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