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Cereal offenders; FROM OVERNIGHT OPTIONS, TO QUICK MORNING MEALS PRUDENCE WADE DISCOVERS THERE ARE PLENTY OF HEALTHY WAYS TO START YOUR DAY.

Byline: UDENCE WADE

A NEW report suggests almost all cereals marketed at children still contain high or medium levels of sugar.

As part of the Food Foundation's Broken Plate report, Action on Sugar and Action on Salt looked at 126 breakfast cereals with childfriendly images such as bright colours or cartoons. It found 92% contained high or medium amounts of sugar - an increase from 91% last year - with almost half (43%) containing chocolate.

Nutritionist Dr Kawther Hashem, campaign lead at Action on Sugar, said: "The use of child-friendly packaging makes it hard for parents to make a healthier choice, when companies should be making it easier.

"Whilst we are expecting to see restrictions on online and television advertising for foods high in fat, salt, and sugar, this does not yet apply to the packaging that may appeal to children, which is a huge concern.

Oats "For too long, less healthy food has been in the spotlight. Food businesses should only have childfriendly packaging on their healthier foods and drinks to give them a starring role in children's diets."

Paediatric dietitian Clare Thornton- Wood (claretw.com) says breakfast is important: "Every opportunity that children get to eat is obviously improving their nutrition, and we know a healthy breakfast supports them to be able to concentrate well at school."

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Potential drawbacks to eating a sugary breakfast, she says, include it could impact children's teeth. And she adds: "It doesn't fill them up, it tends to be digested quickly and the child will potentially be hungry again."

So what does Clare recommend children should have for a healthy breakfast?

Cheap and cheerful if money's tight "A slice of toast with egg, or with baked beans," suggests Clare, adding that, for school-age kids, "wholegrain toast would be good".

Fast and easy for busy mornings "Yoghurt with some fruit, and maybe some muesli or nuts in the yoghurt," Clare suggests because it's packed full of the good stuff: "It's giving you calcium, protein from the yoghurt. The nuts have got lots of nutrients, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and then fruit is going to contribute to your five a day."

Breakfasts to prep the night before "Overnight oats is a good one," the dietitian says. "You can involve chilhow dren in making those and you can do all sorts of different combinations. You can have berries, apple" - pimp it to your preferences. Foods kids can make on their own Clare suggests families shouldn't completely shun cereals. "Breakfast cereal with some fruit and yoghurt or milk is still a good choice, it's just thinking about what kind of cereal you're choosing," she recommends picking ones that are low in sugar, less refined and contain more wholegrain ingredients.

"One interesting thing about breakfast cereal is it can play a useful part in children's diets, because a lot of them are fortified with vitamins and minerals," she adds.

Try a weekend family brunch These are for when you have more time. "Something like a breakfast you do all in one tray - say you put mushrooms, tomatoes, lean bacon, eggs, maybe some mini potatoes and you put a little bit of oil in and bake that in the oven, that's quite a good one," says Clare.

"Or make some pancakes and fill those with fruit. I'd serve them with yoghurt and banana or berries, and you could boost the fibre a bit by adding in some wholewheat flour, or maybe putting some seeds in."

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Author:UDENCE WADE
Publication:Paisley Daily Express (Paisley, Scotland)
Date:Jul 19, 2021
Words:584
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