Nutrient-Free Breakfast Anyone?

Breakfast Cereal Take-Over.  Picture courtesy of abc news

Breakfast Cereal Take-Over. Picture courtesy of abc news

From an early age we are taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and constantly bombarded with advertisements of kids performing better with a bowl of Weet-Bix under their belt. Even now my mum still regularly cites the ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and dinner like a pauper’ routine.

Take a look at the layout of most supermarkets and you’ll notice the breakfast cereal aisle comes about a third of the way in (not as prominent as ‘confectionary’ but better than boring neccessities like toilet paper and soap) and takes up one whole side. Gone are the days when there was just oats and one or two other cereals. Now there is everything from Fruit Loops, to Cocoa Pops, to Nutri-Grain, to Weeties.

Anastacia Marx de Salcedo labels the breakfast cereal as the ‘characteristic carb’ of America, in comparison to China’s rice and Egypt’s bread. In her article, The breakfast liberation front, which featured in US online publication, Salon, Marx de Salcedo states,

“For almost half a century, the American public has been happily chowing down out of boxes, cans, pouches and bags… Cold cereal is our lodestar, our old faithful, our most quintessential food.”

Despite the claims, not all breakfast cereals are nutritional, with many having a very high sugar content. And as obesity is still on the rise in many Western countries, the problem in America may have something to do with the fact that “ready-to-eat cereal… is the No. 3 supermarket top-seller, ringing up about $9 billion in annual sales.” And with the ever increasing advertising targeting children, these sales of sugar-rich cereals aren’t likely to fall.

Next time you find yourself a third of the way in, surrounded by brightly coloured boxes of cereal claiming to be nutrient-rich, take a moment and think about what your actually eating.

A Nutritous Breakfast?  PIcture Courtesy of BBC News

A Nutritious Breakfast? PIcture Courtesy of BBC News

Here’s one to try at home:

“Test-drive this cuddly recipe, home bakers: Take oat flour, corn starch, sugar, salt, vitamin E, trisodium phosphate (also used to prep wood for painting), calcium carbonate and that old food-industry standby “Natural Flavors” (not!). Mix with water to form a slurry (a sticky paste)and ram into a narrow chamber with a long, twisted screw, until it shoots out an O-shaped orifice at the other end. Slice into toroids(that’s doughnut shapes to you), load into puffer and explode under 200 psi. Voilà! Cheerios!” – Anastacia Marx de Salcedo,


4 responses to “Nutrient-Free Breakfast Anyone?

  1. Ash,

    Good point on potential obesity re: breakfast cereals.

    It is not only the choice of brands that amazes me, but the variety of those specific cereals themselves.

    So many cereals are not only produced in their standard variety, but in a range of offshoots as well.

    Instead of boring old plain, why not try the “choc” version? Or the “honey nut” version? Or for you health nuts, the “berry” version (with berries about as real as Bert Newton’s hair).

    I can’t imagine the amount of sugar they load into these bite-sized chunks of goodness, conveniently sold to mothers as “energy food”.


  2. Ash: I totally agree! It’s ridiculous how many different types there are, it’s overwhealming going to the supermarket!

    One of my friends went on a diet a few weeks back and, when looking at the back of cereal boxes, she was amazed at how much sugar they all have… and i don’t just mean the obvious fruit loops!! there’s sugar in weetbix (and can i mention SO many carbs), and even oats -yes oats!

    no wonder (like you say in a more polite manner) our kids are turning into fatty-boombas!

    florencia xoxo
    ps: tom is so right about bert newton’s hair and berries!

  3. these terrible excuses for cereal!! i am a supreme weet-bix fan (still waiting for an autograph from it) as it has a fair amount of iron and lots of fibre. but cheerios? and coco-pops? and…FRUIT LOOPS? wtf? if i want confectionary i’ll just go down the lolly aisle. these sorts of things can be misleading and pander to parents who want their kids to eat something in the morning that starts with ‘c’ and ends with ‘l’.

  4. Hi Ash

    I agree wholeheartly. Gee! so much choices that I get so confused I usually stick to the same old trusty weetbix.

    Take a walk down every irle of every supermarket in Australia and you will see that it is not confined to just breakfast cereals but everything today in buy has so many to choose from.

    One day I read the back of a very popular childrens cereal and nearly fell of my chair when I read the suger content. To think parents today are feeding their children so much suger. Not good!

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