Sugar with a Side of Cereal

Photo by Providence Doucet on Unsplash

When I moved from Australia to the US a few years back, one of the first things I noticed is the food. For one, portion sizes are massive in the US.

If you look at serving size suggestions on cereal boxes, take Kellogg's Corn Flakes as an example, the US serving size is 1.5 cups. In Australia, it’s 1 cup.

The other thing I noticed, especially when I do the grocery shopping in the US is, just how hard it was to find different cereals without any sugar.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Often sugar is inconspicuous because it’s labeled as something different. Or the description of the product doesn’t mention anything about sugar.

Take Honey Bunches of Oats cereal as an example. On the box, it highlights 14g of wholegrains in one serving (which is one cup, in this case) and ten essential vitamins and minerals.

What it fails to mention is one serving also has 9g of sugar, which is just over two teaspoons — per serving.

It contains some honey in the ingredients, but sugar, corn syrup, and molasses are higher on the ingredients list, which means there’s probably very minimal honey in the total ingredients.

Honey Bunches of Oats cereal sugar ingredients label
Honey Bunches of Oats Ingredients

The name is misleading, but it’s intentional as I don’t think “Sugar Bunches of Oats” would sell as well. At this stage, most parents know that sugar isn’t good for their kids, so marketing experts know to hide the evil “s” word in plain sight.

Deep down, we know we’re being duped. But, out of sight, out of mind.

Excessive sugar intake can cause obesity, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and behavioral issues. Sugar intake has also been linked to depression.

Yet, so many of us continue to buy sugary cereals, sodas, and sweet snacks for our kids. Why?

To stop a tantrum? Surely their health is more important than being the bad guys for five minutes?

The Secret

I’ve known this hack since I was young. It’s not revelatory. But here it is:

Don’t buy shit food.

That’s it. That’s the hack.

Amazing how many people don’t know it.

If you buy healthy food, your kids will have two choices; starve, or eat healthy food.

Maybe people think that’s kind of harsh. But this was how I was raised with three brothers and we are all tall, strong, and healthy sons of bitches.

We were pretty much poor, so my mother would buy powdered milk (yes, that poor) and the generic versions of Rice Bubbles and Weetbix, two sugar-free kinds of cereal.

We never went without. My SAHM would make all of our sweet snacks, like cupcakes, ice cream, and marshmallows from scratch using minimal ingredients and controlled amounts of sugar.

Our “sodas” were made from cordial and Soda Stream. I’m not sure if you can get cordial in the US, but it’s basically just a concentrated type of syrup drink in different flavors that you dilute in water at a ratio of 1:8 or something so there’s barely any sugar in it.

She never bought premade sodas and sugary cereals, and guess what? We never asked for them.

My mother might not have been perfect, but she was conscious of our health and wellbeing, even in a time when education on the topic was limited and there was no internet.

So I’m shocked at how many parents, even with all of the information and education we get on this topic, are still feeding their small children entire cans of Coca-Cola and Big Red. That’s 10.6g and 9.5 teaspoons of sugar in one can respectively.

Coca-Cola and Big Red also contain 38–39mg of caffeine. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children younger than 12 should not consume caffeine at all.

The most important meal of the day for kids before they go to school consists of Cocoa Krispies (39% sugar), Corn Pops, Fruit Loops (both 41% sugar), and Capt’n Crunch (42% sugar).

The recommended added sugar intake for children up to 18 years old is six teaspoons a day. For toddlers and infants under two—no added sugar is recommended.

I watch my sister-in-law fight with her seven-year-old every time we see them because all he will eat are sweets and sodas. She caves in every time because she doesn’t want a fight.

Don’t buy it in the first place, and you’ll never have to fight.

Problems Arise Later

Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in adults is increasing. Fat man squeezing stomach.
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Perhaps you don’t realize how much sugar your kids are eating in a day. And perhaps you don’t see a problem because they don’t have behavioral problems or weight issues.

But giving your kids a sweet tooth doesn’t always affect them at the time. But it manifests later in life as health problems.

Obesity is on the rise. This is caused by poor diet and lifestyle that people often learn from when they’re children.

Type 2 Diabetes is also on the rise. This is also caused by a poor diet and lifestyle that we learn as children.

Cholesterol problems, blood pressure, digestive problems, cancer. While these can be hereditary, they are all things many don’t experience until they’re older but are often caused by poor diet and lifestyle.

We’re supposed to teach our kids how to be self-sufficient so that when they leave the nest they can look after themselves. But parents are forgetting to teach them how to eat right.

This is a fundamental skill that parents are failing to teach their kids.

Diet and Lifestyle are Everything

Our health naturally declines as we age—even if we’re at the pinnacle of health. It’s the cruel joke of life. Our bodies eventually fall apart and stop working properly.

So without a healthy base to live on, we’re essentially screwed.

But, I get it, some parents weren’t taught how to eat well by their parents, or they weren’t taught how to cook, so how can they teach their kids these things?

Easy. Read a book. Search the internet. We’re so spoiled for information, it’s ridiculous.

Not doing something because you weren’t taught how is just an excuse to be ignorant. #SorryNotSorry

Give your kids the gift of health by not buying sugar.




Aussie in TX. Compassionate content strategist for B2C. Inquiries Buy me a coffee 👉🏾

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emma jade

emma jade

Aussie in TX. Compassionate content strategist for B2C. Inquiries Buy me a coffee 👉🏾

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