We all do it. But we may not all know just how often we're doing it.
Many parents make the mistake of giving children sugary foods for breakfast, which could play a role in developing serious health problems down the road. The crazy thing is that most parents may not even realize they're doing it.
According to research from Public Health England, the recommended maximum daily sugar intake for 4 to 6-year-olds is five cubes of sugar, and 7 to 10-year-olds should get no more than six cubes.
However, children less than 10-years-old eat half their recommended maximum daily intake of sugar at breakfast, and by the end of the day have had more than three times the healthy limit.
According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, children have the equivalent of three cubes on average, which is about 11 grams of sugar before school. Most of their meals include sugary cereals, drinks and spreads. To make matters worse, researchers say that 8 out of 10 parents believed their children’s breakfast was healthy.
Even though this study is based in the United Kingdom, parents should be just as concerned here in the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
Rather than serve children sugary drinks in the morning, choose water instead.
That said, there are steps parent can take to ensure their kids stay fit. Here are a few healthy breakfast ideas any parent can easily incorporate:
Don’t serve syrup with pancakes
Syrup often contain high fructose corn syrup, which can lead to cancer, heart disease and other ailments. If your kids enjoy pancakes, try eliminating the syrup all together. Adding fruits with natural sugar like bananas and blueberries, which are rich in potassium and antioxidants, allows them to enjoys sweets without sacrificing health.
Stick with sugar-free cereals
Whether served hot or cold, cereals are a great way to go. But, skip the sugar all together. Fortunately, there are cereals on the market that are loaded with fiber and other nutrients that will give your little ones the energy boost they need for the day.
Check the sugar content in dairy
I was shocked to learned about the high sugar content in some yogurts. Plain greek yogurt may be a be better choice, as it contains very little sugar. You can always add a little fruit to sweeten it up a bit. Experts also suggest avoiding chocolate milk. A cup of chocolate milk can have up to 14 g (3.5 tsp) of added sugar.
Make an omelette
If you have extra time in the morning, whip up an omelette loaded with peppers, tomatoes and other healthy options. Feel free to serve it with whole grain toast or baked sweet potatoes.
Skip sugary drinks
Rather than serve children sugary drinks in the morning, choose water instead. Warm tea or homemade veggie and fruit smoothie are other healthy options. Combine kale, banana, and a few berries for healthy breakfast treat.
So when it comes to preparing your children’s breakfast in the morning, go easy on the sugary stuff. Also, pay close attention to food labels and opt for natural sweeteners whenever possible. For these tips and your little ones are well on their way to a healthy future.