Sweetened Kibble

When I am teaching and lecturing there are often questions about milk.  Many people believe it is better to drink soy milk. Is it?  Lots of parents worry about giving their kids whole milk fearing weight gain.  Most believe milk is a necessity.  I sort of like Marion Nestle’s (What to Eat) take on milk – it’s just a food.  Not magical or better than other foods, not worse or more evil than other foods.  When I express this point of view at parent groups I invariably get a sad face exclaiming, “But what will my kids eat on my cereal?”.  I respond with another question – “Why are you eating cold cereal? More importantly why is it a staple for your children?”  It is, after all, refined, manufactured, usually sugarcoated, mostly empty carbohydrates.  The lifeless stuff does not resemble its once-alive natural source (compare oat groats to Cheerios). And it’s dry – can’t be choked down without something wet on it.  Once when I was talking to a grade school parent group a large serious man raised his hand and said – the difference between dog food and cereal is that the cereal has sugar.  That was funny.  And pretty close to the truth.  Are you cuckoo for cocoa puffs?

14 thoughts on “Sweetened Kibble

  1. I think this is an interesting way to look at it. Here I am buying “healthy” cereals that now could be considered very kibble-y in this light.

    Milk hasn’t been a cereal issue with us, since my kid (5yo) eats her cereal dry with a drink on the side (even more kibble-y!). She will however gladly eat “hot cereal” which is plain oat bran cereal (sorry! I have not converted to steel cut oats yet!) so long as it is loaded with brown sugar. So which is better? Or are they equally bad? :-P

  2. I sort of detest cold cereal, but my husband loves the convenience of it. Why else did it ever become popular? (Besides the sugar coating…) I absolutely will not buy the ones that resemble breakfast candy, so choices are still limited. The nice thing is that my family also loves hot breakfast, so I can easily break up the week by preparing oatmeal, toast and eggs, Zoom (rolled wheat), rice with milk, rice pudding, etc. They all love all those things as well as cereal, so I don’t feel dependent on cereal, and it’s no emergency when we have none, or when we run out of milk.

  3. Oh, that just reminded me, you know how the commercials always say that, “Cocoa Puffsis part of this complete breakfast” and then they show the milk, juice, and toast? I’ve always giggled at that, since the complete breakfast is there before you add in the cereal.

  4. I was part of the generation that switched from a real breakfast (hot cereal, eggs, toast, fruit) to Tang and Rice Crispies (yep raised in the 50′s and 60′s) and I’ve got the fillings to prove it. I do believe that a warm breakfast of real, not manufactured, food gives your body more sustained and steady energy. Seems like we are stuck in the paradigm of cold cereal and milk thanks to brilliant advertising. Other cultures provide more interesting choices. One of my favorites – Be Bim Bop (Korean dish).
    Wendy – not sure what is in Oat Bran cereal. What’s in the list of ingredients?

  5. I remember Tang commercials!

    Oat bran is just oat bran, Bob’s Red Mill. I get it in a bag at T&C. I started with it as something for our toddler to eat, a nonwheat option, and then just kept eating years later. For some reason, my kid likes it better than our excellent, homeground oatmeal. Typical. :)

  6. We were never allowed to eat sugary cereals while growing up, but I certainly had my fair share of Raisin Bran, Wheaties and Cherrios. One of my least favorite breakfasts was hot Nine Grain Cereal with a little swirl of honey. Ack! too healthy. Strangely enough however, now that I’m 30, I’d much rather eat a warm bowl of Nine Grain before any type of cold cereal. It’s much more filling and provides all the energy needed to get me through the first part of the day – a perfect start to cold winter mornings. :)

  7. I used to eat Lucky Charms for breakfast every morning up until a couple months ago (and I’m 45!). I wanted to stop this habit, since I’m a type 1 diabetic and the Lucky Charms shot my blood sugar way up. I recently decided to start eating whole foods, and now I don’t feel like I’ve had breakfast until I have my morning bowl of steel cut oats. I wouldn’t touch Lucky Charms with a 10-foot pole!

  8. I grew up “not allowed to have” sugared cereals. My sister and I felt so deprived as children, and we resented the twigs (bran cereal) and roughage (oatmeal) that my mother provided for us. Today, I have not introduced processed cereal (Cheerios, sugared, or other types) to my toddler son. He’s had puffed kamut as a snack, but otherwise hasn’t had cereals. I intend to keep our grocery bill lowered, keep whole foods on the breakfast table, and avoid providing milk into a water substitute by keeping breakfast cereals out of our household. Life is too short to feed your kids kibble, and I will be forever thankful that my dear mother didn’t raise me to be ‘cockoo for cocopuffs.’ Great post and comments here! (Yeah, Cynthia: milk is a FOOD and that makes complete and utter sense to me! Thank you for that epiphany!!)

  9. Hi

    Are steel cut oats a good source of the antioxidant avenanthramide? I know they are in the minimally processed oat groat but i am not sure what an oat groat is exactly…?

  10. An oat groat is a whole oat with the seed removed. Steel cut oats are sliced oat groats. So YES, they would be a good source of avenanthramide – which apparently can cut down on the risk of heart disease by inhibiting vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and enhancing nitric oxide production..
    Another great way to handle steel cut oats is to soak them overnight. They cook much faster and with less heat if you do. Quick heart-healthy breakfast!

  11. My favorite breakfast is leftover tossed salad from the night before. Haven’t eaten traditional breakfast foods in years.

  12. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

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