It's been confirmed: Bright pink and green poofy-puffs aren't the best food for our kids.
A study came out in the new Journal of the American Dietietic Association blasting the nutritional value of kids' cereals. What do they suggest we feed them--egg white veggie omelettes? We asked friend of momlogic pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson to weigh in.
Momlogic: Are kids' cereals bad for kids?
Dr. Cara: Any food that is high in sugar, high in sodium, low in fiber, and low in protein probably doesn't qualify as "healthy." This study compares cereals marketed specifically to kids, (for instance with recognizable characters on the box) to adult cereals, and finds that kids' cereals are significantly less healthy. Two-thirds of the kids cereals studied had so much sugar that they failed national nutritional standards.
Momlogic: What's a healthier alternative?
Dr. Cara: If your child is a cereal-lover, try adult-style cereals with less sugar and artificial ingredients. Oatmeal is another good alternative, but make sure you are not giving a brand that is just as high in sugar as the dry cereal.
Try offering completely different foods. Eggs are a great source of protein, and for the kid with no time to stop and eat, a hard-boiled egg can be taken on the go. Yogurt with fruit is another healthy start. The yogurt gives protein and calcium; the fruit adds fiber and satisfies the sweet craving. Again, for kids on the go, you can blend it into a portable smoothie. If your child is a bagel-lover, top the bagel off with cheese or peanut butter to get some additional protein.
Momlogic: Should kids eat adult cereals?
Dr. Cara: There is nothing in an adult cereal that is bad for a child. Quite the opposite. This is true of a wide variety of foods, from yogurt designed for kids to kiddie snack foods. Children have been carved out as a very powerful brand--there are entire aisles in the supermarket dedicated to what kids will want to buy. But just because they want it doesn't mean they need it.
What do you think: Are kids' cereals fine or total crap?