Feeding Your Kids Cereal for Breakfast? Reasons to Reconsider

by lydia on October 18, 2011

(Photo Credit)
Did you know that all packaged cereals whether organic or not are processed through machinery at such high pressure and temperatures it can actually change the molecular structure of the food? The extrusion process destroys many valuable nutrients in grains, causes fragile oils to become rancid and renders certain proteins toxic.

Did you know that not only are they highly heated but then they have additives, preservatives and chemicals to enhance the flavor and make them last forever on the store shelves? Not to mention food dyes which are dangerous to health.

Did you know that consuming cereal is basically the same thing as consuming sugar, at least in how it breaks down into your bloodstream? Ever read the ingredients on the label of your most beloved cereal box, I bet you most of the ingredients are simply one form of sugar or another.

Did you know that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day? It will set you up for the rest of the day, your mood, your blood sugar and even potentially how you sleep that night.

Did you know that growing kids need ample protein and that cereal contains absolutely none? Did you know that protein is essential for optimal growth to help build adequate hormones, muscle, bones and encourage proper brain function and moods? (As are good fats.)

Did you know that consuming cereal has no nutritional value, and not only that but is actually negating the healthy things you are consuming? Well, I guess a lot of cereals these days have synthetic vitamins added, but that again is simply NOT optimal in the least.

Did you know that all processed cereals are completely dead foods with no living material left in them? No enzymes, no water content, no real nutrients – this is very hard on the body that craves living foods. Cereal is actually very difficult to digest based on this fact alone. (ever wonder what may be causing you gas?)

Did you know that in the long term you will spend more money on food because you will be more hungry after only eating cereal and end up eating more than you would had you just consumed some eggs or a smoothie? And likely you will want to binge on sweets later in the day – however when you have a REAL breakfast including good fats and protein you won’t get cravings. Why? Because you will be nourished and won’t be setting your blood sugar up for a crash later.

Did you know that you are only encouraging and increasing your health problems when you regularly consume cereal for breakfast? This also costs time, money and causes added stress which you will be less equipped to deal with since you are less nourished than you’d be if you’d had real food for breakfast.

So, tell me, is cereal really a convenient option or is it something to maybe reconsider consuming or allowing your kids and yourselves to consume? You decide!

The importance of ample protein in the diet is clear and can really help to alleviate all sorts of symptoms. Consuming high sugar laden processed carbohydrate foods (which is essentially what all packaged cereals are), leads to blood sugar issues, low energy and low mood. Your brain and body need amino acids to make natural antidepressants and stimulate the production of serotonin and norepinephrine as well as naturally relaxing GABA. (Not to mention the thousands of other body functions that require protein). This means we really need to consume protein three times a day at every meal. And don’t try to tell me that the milk on the cereal has protein, if it’s lowfat of any kind it’s basically a carbohydrate that breaks down into sugar in your body.

Look at the nutrition profile of an egg for a minute. A properly produced egg is rich in just about every nutrient we have yet discovered, especially fat soluble vitamins A & D which we are sorely lacking in the modern day diet. They also provide important fatty acids EPA, DHA, omega 3s, b vitamins including choline which helps the cholesterol to keep flowing in the blood stream, and so much more. A great source of affordable protein and far better than any synthetic vitamin that may be added to cereal.

Making one simple change in your life by ditching cereal and adding a real food breakfast to your routine could make a huge impact on your overall health. Breakfast may take a little more forethought, but in no time you could get into a routine that ensures you consume some good healthy protein and fat at every breakfast. Homemade yogurt, or good quality cultured/pastured whole fat store bought yogurts with no added sugars, a myriad of ways to prepare eggs come to mind, pastured meats like bacon/sausage and scrapple, a homemade smoothie or even just some leftovers from dinner like soup or meat and sauteed veggies would be a great option. It’s time to break away from the cheap processed carb/sugar laden foods for breakfast and truly nourish our whole bodies by giving them what they need! Your body will thank you for it, I promise!

This post contributed to Real Food Wednesdays and Fight Back Fridays.



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Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures October 18, 2011 at 10:08 am

You echo my thoughts on this exactly! Great post.

Kelly @ The Nourishing Home October 18, 2011 at 11:48 am

Amen and amen! Boxed cereal is not real food on so many levels. We replaced boxed cereal with homemade soaked granola, which is so delicious and versatile. We eat with with fresh or dried fruit and a splash of raw milk. And we use it to make homemade granola bars for a healthy snack on the go. Another favorite is layering the homemade granola between fresh fruit and homemade whole milk yogurt to make our own Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits! YUM! And of course, there are all kinds of hot breakfast cereals to enjoy like Cream of Buckwheat, Soaked Oatmeal and Brown Rice Breakfast Porridge. These take a little extra time to prepare, but are SO WORTH IT for your health! Thanks for sharing all your wisdom with us, Lydia!! Such a great post!! Blessing, Kelly

lydia October 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Thanks Kelly!!

julie October 18, 2011 at 3:59 pm

except fruit loops right? Fruit loops are good for you I’m pretty sure…. hehehe

Barbara October 18, 2011 at 8:17 pm

A question. Back in high school Home Economics, we were taught that plants, including grains, beans and legumes contained incomplete proteins, (lacking some of the many amino acids in meat proteins), but that combining them in specific ways, or pairing them with dairy products completed them and supplied as good or better proteins than meat. Was this information false, or has the science changed?

lydia October 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Hi Barbara – it is true to a degree. However, there are many things to consider when choosing this method over consuming animal protein and by no means should it replace animal protein (but perhaps in leaner times, though it is not optimal). For one thing grains and legumes have to be prepared properly in order for them to be digestible, as well as for them not to bind with minerals and nutrients and thereby render them useless. You see they contain phytic acid which is a mineral blocker and can only be broken down by first long soaking in an acid medium a practice that has escaped our modern day. This is why I recommend eggs as a more economical way of obtaining the best protein you can!

Roxanne October 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm

The Ezekiel cereals are the best on the market. Sprouted and low-heat dehydrated rather than processed by high heat extraction. Ezekiel cereals, paired with fruit, stay with me for hours and don’t cause sugar crashes (there’s hardly any sugar in them, like 1 gr./serving unless you get the cinn-raisin variety which has more sugar because of the raisins).

I don’t eat cereal everyday, but it has it’s place in my kitchen (like coming home from a 14hr shift and being way to exhausted to cook anything).

Like all foodstuffs, you have to look for quality. Don’t demonize all cereals just because a large percentage of the market is crap.

lydia October 18, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Hey there Roxanne! I agree that Ezekiel is a good choice – but it’s likely one of the only ones out there!

Marina at My Busy Children October 19, 2011 at 6:58 am

What do you think about oatmeal? I never serve cereal for breakfast but oatmeal made with whole milk and whole oats is almost a staple in our house

lydia October 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Hi Marina,

Of course homemade oatmeal from scratch is better than store bought cereal in many ways. One thing about oats though, is they are very hard to digest unless they are soaked first in acidic water solution to help break down the phytic acid. This is a process observed by traditional cultures across the world for as long as we can remember – even back when quaker oats first came out they said to soak the oats overnight first on the package. Anyway, hope that helps. I personally can’t eat a carbohydrate based meal ever so this would not be a good way for me to start off my day, add some eggs or sausage and maybe………

Kelly the Kitchen Kop October 20, 2011 at 10:41 am

Barbara, I wouldn’t say that pairing grains with dairy makes that better than meat, meat has nutrients you really need, and eating too many grains in our diet isn’t good for us. Also, while the pairing you mentioned may make a “complete” protein, it still doesn’t make something like breakfast cereals a good option because of all the junk in those cereals (even if you’re serving it with something as nutritious as pastured raw milk), although my kids sure wish it did! :)

Lydia, I love your cute blog design! OH, I see Jo-Lynne did it, no wonder!


lydia October 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Hi Kel! Thanks and yeah I like it too – Jo-Lynne ROCKS!

Barbara October 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Thanks for the feedback on combining foods for complete protein – I agree that it may be a subsistence method when meat is not available. I know that poorer Hispanic cultures practically live on beans and rice. I learned the facts about commercial cereals, and immediately gave them up about a years ago. Considering how much I loved Cheerios, it was surprisingly easy to go on to other things for breakfast such as more eggs, cheese and raw dairy. I really had not noticed until now that some digestive problems that I had suffered all my life have really disappeared. Hm……

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