Children's cereals have been receiving a lot of criticism recently, and for good reason. Action on Sugar analysed 126 cereals aimed at children and 92% were found to have too much sugar* (read here).

The Government guidance is that children aged:

  • 4-6 years shouldn't have more than 5 cubes of sugar (20g) a day
  • 7-10 years no more than 6 cubes (24g) a day
  • 11 years + no more than 7 cubes (28g) a day

The worst offender, Malt-O-Meal Marshmallow Mateys, had 12g sugar per 30g bowl (and 30g is a pretty small portion – most children have larger servings than this), and Kellogg’s Frosties coming out at 11g per 30g bowl.

Action on Sugar are now campaigning hard to stop these products being marketed to children. Dr Kawther Hashem, of Action on Sugar, said: 'The use of child-friendly packaging just makes it hard for parents to make a healthier choice, when companies should be making it easier.”

Cereal is often the easiest and quickest choice on busy nursery and school mornings, so we wanted to offer some other options that can be thrown into the mix, and which provide much better energy and nutrition for children than most cereals offer.

1) Porridge 

This provides way more energy for little people heading off to school than a bowl of sugary cereal which will give a burst of energy (followed by a big dip), compared to a more steady stream of energy that porridge provides. Add mashed banana, cinnamon, berries, flax seeds, or even this yummy chocolate mousse with a splash of milk!

2) Overnight oats

When you remember to do this before bedtime, it makes the mornings soooo easy! Just mix the below in a bowl/jar and leave in the fridge overnight, ready to serve with mashed bananas and berries in the morning:

    • 1.5 cups oats (150g)
    • 1.5 cups milk (300ml) - use oat milk if prefer no dairy
    • 30g milled flaxseeds
    • 30g desiccated coconut (optional)
    • 20g chia seeds
    • 1 tsp cinnamon (this adds to its antioxidant score!)
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)

3) Tomatoes on toast

after school snack tomatoes on toast

This recipe for Tomatoes on Toast is ready in less than 10 mins and is a delicious way to start the day. You can serve it with slices of avocado to add in extra fibre and healthy fats!

4) Chocolate and banana pancakes

These Chocolate and Banana Pancakes have been my little cook's favourite breakfast for 6 months now! It's really delicious and feels like such a treat, whilst providing fibre from the chickpea flour and nutrients from the cashews, dates and cacao powder which make up the sauce! Perhaps more for the weekend than a busy school morning, but a definite one to try out!

5) Tray bake pancakes

Traybake Pancakes are definitely less faff than making regular pancakes. Just whizz all the ingredients together, pour into an oven dish and whack it in the oven! It feels more like eating a pudding for breakfast (which kids love!) and is delicious served with Greek yogurt

6) Granola

Make your own Granola and then you know exactly what goes into it, and you get to choose the ingredients you know your little cook will eat (some kids love coconut flakes and others detest them!). This is one you can make over the weekend ready for quick and easy breakfasts during the week

7) Bubble and squeak

Bubble and Squeak is a lovely one for the weekend (and with any luck some leftovers for Monday morning!). You can mix and match the veggies you include in the recipe - leek, kale and spinach are all delicious in it, and it's a great way to add variety into children's diets

8) Ultimate pancake recipe!

Ultimate pancakes! One of our first ever recipes and still a winner in our house! We tend to replace the strawberries with a big handful of spinach which turns them into monster pancakes! Quick, delicious and full of the good stuff!  

* most cereals use refined added sugars (that have a multitude of names on the ingredients lists!). These are different to natural sugars found in real food such as fruit. Refined sugars have NO nutrients - they are just empty calories, whereas natural sugars found in foods like dates and fruit are PACKED with nutrients, so we definitely advise checking what makes up the sugar content of shop bought items, and avoid the ones with refined sugar in favour of the ones with natural sugar.

July 10, 2021