Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Truth Behind the Cereal Bowl *plus* Another Giveaway!

Continuing my passion for one of my favorite foods of all time, I'm writing again today about cereal, and some facts based on the misconceptions people often have.  Sorry this is a wee bit long, but stick around and read to the bottom for another great giveaway!

Samantha does not eat cereal for breakfast.  I mean, she would, but only if it's dry, like a snack.  I have, on occasion, given this to her, as long as she has a big cup of milk to go along with it.  She refuses to eat it mixed with the milk, though.  Until this morning.  Using one of my new cereal bowls and spoons (I let her choose the color) along with some lovely, colorful, Fruity Cheerios (more about these items at the end of the post!), I plopped them down in front of her and watched anxiously to see if she would eat them.  And she did!!  Well, at least she ate 3 spoonfuls before pushing it away and asking for her usual frozen pancakes.  That's a start, right?  (And secretly, I was a bit pleased because it meant I could eat what was left in the bowl myself.)  I've been working on this for a while, and this was the best attempt so far.  

I, on the other hand, eat cereal for breakfast nearly every day.  And I eat cereal for dinner, probably 2 nights a week.  And sometimes for a late-night snack.  Seriously!  And I prefer the sweetened cereals.  I never worry about adding a ridiculous quantity of calories to my body that seriously does not need them, and I always feel good about getting that extra calcium and vitamin D into my diet with the skim milk. 

It always amazes me that the calorie count is so low in cereal.  I was talking to Steve one day about how I felt that giving sugary cereal to Samantha as an afternoon snack was probably not such a good idea, but he was quick to point out that the calories were considerably lower than several of the other options we had been considering.  Really?  And one of the things I always look at when buying cereal is the amount of fiber, along with the vitamin recommended daily allowance percentages, and am usually pleasantly surprised by my findings.

Consider these facts:
•  A 2009 study of children aged 6 to 18 shows cereal eaters have healthier body weights than those who don´t eat cereal, regardless of sweetness level.
•  Cereal eaters consume less fat than non-cereal eaters.
•  Cereal is lower in calories and higher in nutrition than many other breakfast options like bagels with cream cheese and pancakes.

I find this chart, detailing the sources of children's daily intake of sugar, pretty astounding.  Makes me grateful that Sammi drinks skim milk, doesn't drink soda, and that she still accepts super-watered-down juice with absolutely no question...

Now I know why cereal is such a great way to start my day off right, and a great snack for Sammi!

Please take a look at the video below to see how other moms here in the DC area feel about breakfast:

And now for the giveaway portion of this message, along with a challenge to you...

The cereal and gift pack I received, and which one of you will win, were provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.  To be considered for the drawing for a set of 4 Crate and Barrel cereal bowls, spoons (pictured above - the spoons are very cool colors!) and six individual serving packs of cereal, I challenge you to take a look at the at the Nutrition Facts on the side panel of a box of cereal, and compare those details with the details on other breakfast foods you may eat every day.  Tell me, in your comment, what cereal benefits surprised you the most, and/or what did you learn?

A random commenter will be chosen on Monday. 

And tomorrow, back to our regularly-scheduled program.


my family said...

wow didnt realize the caloricin take was so low...and I have guilt when then kids eat cereal for dinner, maybe not such a bad thing after all :)

doozee said...

God, how I love you Becca! You never fail to crack me up! Thank you! Who else would make a GIVEAWAY educational?!!!!!!!!
I'm still laughing. Right into my coffee.

OH - and I LOVE your photo by the way - that's such an excellent shot.

Back to your question though. We tend to hand make low-fat yogurt (both "fresh" and then double-skimmed for Greek, which we like better), then give it to Micah for b'fast, along with fresh fruit and sometimes a dash of agave syrup. He's been eating that since, well, forever.

He does eat cheerios (plain) or oatmeal (either baked or slow cooked, with flax, agave syrup, soy milk, raisins and almonds), and I know the oatmeal is really good for him. The cheerios too. I kind of just thought that they were on par with the yogurt/fruit and to shake it all up, every other day for each other.

Fruit loops!!!! Ha! You know, my Mom let me have ONE food item, whatever I wanted, for my birthday every year before we moved to Fiji (and after we came back). I chose Fruit Loops. Every year. Love that stuff, 'birthday cereal' :)

Cathleen said...

I LOVE cereal too, but my problem is: I can't stop eating it! If we have boxes in the house I will literaly eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snack. Actually, it is really healthy though - for my wedding I did a 2 week "cereal" diet where I ate ceral for breakfast and lunch and ate a normal dinner and lost 5 pounds. :) I'm always amazed though how many nutrients are stuffed into a bowl of cereal, it's so good for you!

Lilly is not a fan of cereal. She ate it dry until we moved to New Zealand and they didn't really have cereal, at least the way we know it. So, a year without it made her not a fan, wet or dry. But at school last year occasionally she'd eat it for breakfast when the class did. Now, though, she's such a bagel head in the morning due to NYC influence - although occasionally I can get her to eat flax seed waffles, french toast, or scrambled eggs. It's all good though - I'll eat enough cereal for both of us!

I'm surprised Sammi drinks skim milk - I haven't tried it for Lilly yet (although I love skim). She drinks 1 percent - did you have any issues switching? Any downside? Lilly hates juice in any form, which is fine with me. She does like an occasionally sip of coffee in the morning... :)

Anna said...

You make me laugh. (LOVE the photo too!)Lil G eats cereal most every morning. She doesnt like it with milk either so we take plain yougurt, tsp no sugar added jam/ preserves and sprinkle 1/4 cup grape nuts on it. She loves cheerios as a snack and I add them with raisins and peanuts. ( to help with ahem... slow digestion!)

Zoey's mom said...

I SO do not like cereal.One of the few things I won't eat.But my kids will and so I buy it and try not to pay attention to the wet smell ... weird uh?I prefer to whip up pancakes and waffles...We are healthy food fanatics here and at one time my older ones complained about "why they couldn't be like the rest of the kids" but now,I have 3 adult children that are grateful for my craziness.

By the way... loved all the graduation pictures.Stunning little Sammi.Love that girl.

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

I LOVE CHEERIOS! my fav is cinnamon...I eat them everyday with Maddie...we also dig chocolate cheerios...I eat it for dinner when I have to cook for the kids but not chad...because it is just good and nice for the thighs! I am so going to look for fruity cherrios..the other day on Yahoo they had a link about the decline in cereal and consumption..not sure where they are living! smiles

Michelle said...

We are BIG cereal eaters in this household! That's pretty much what we eat every morning, except usually on Sun - Joe will cook up breakfast. So I don't really have anything else to compare too. I've always looked at the sugar content in the cereal and try to stick to 10 and under; haven't really paid attention to the calories before, so that was news to me.

We also eat a lot of GM cereals here; 1) because of their line of GF-chex cereals for Kayla and 2) Lucas eats up all the different varieties of Cheerios!

Than4Keeps said...

Wow ~ this is great! I love the fact that I'm not the only person who loves to have a bowl of cereal in the middle of the night as my "special treat".

Rochelle said...

Alayna, is the exact opposite of Sammi. She will eat 2 or sometimes 3 bowl of cheerios each morning and often requests them at dinner if we are having something she doesn't like. We eat cereal all the time too. You crack me up.

Crazy Beautiful Love said...

Just wanted to tell you....
I'm healthy cerel is not so healthy. Just read my Special K box (the chocolate one).
I'm a boderline diabeic ( a real thing) so I have to watch it. But mainly, our designer gene kiddos need to really watch their sugar and weight.
Have a great weekend Becca. Love the pic. Good color selection!

Crazy Beautiful Love said...

This part was left off...
Since my "healthy" cerel is about the same as the sugary stuff, I feel less guitly about giving Emma her cerel. Great debate in our house is the "cerel for breakfast is okay or not". Ummm, I win. It's good for dinner sometimes too. Just sayin. -erin

Bethany said...

I love cereal and practically live off of it right now for medical reasons. I have been surprised by how low calorie and low fat cereal is while still providing at least some of the key vitamins and minerals.

Lesley Mitchell said...

I looked a cereal box label and I was surprised that there's more fiber and less sugar than I thought!

Anonymous said...


I was surprised to read all the different vitamins they offer and how much lower in sugar they are compared to other breakfast choices.