• Rayne Roberts

Over half of kids' breakfast cereals are "unhealthy"


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?


For some it may well be, and eating breakfast has been associated with improved cognitive performance (1-4), with potential implications for children's attainment at school.


Over 75% of British children eat cereal at breakfast (5) and for many this is a key source of B vitamins and Iron. But over 50% are deemed to be unhealthy, with a lack of fibre and high levels of added sugar (6). The problem here is that children can feel hungry before lunch and/or experience a drop in blood sugar levels which may impact their concentration. Not every parent or carer is able or willing to make a nutritious breakfast each day (porridge, eggs etc) and breakfast cereals can be cheap, palatable and quick to serve.


With this in mind, this Nutty Granola recipe aims to provide the convenience and familiarity of a breakfast cereal, but with added extras to keep kids' hunger truly locked up until lunchtime alongside foods that the brain loves.

 

Nutty Granola (approximately 12 portions)


Ingredients

35g coconut oil

35g honey or maple syrup

200g oats

100-150g mixed nuts (unsalted)

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

50g pumpkin seeds


Method

Preheat the oven to 140°C

Gently melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan with the honey or maple syrup

In a large bowl mix all the other ingredients apart from the pumpkin seeds

Pour the warm coconut oil and honey or maple syrup into the bowl and mix well

Transfer the granola to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through

Remove from the oven when dark golden brown and leave to cool on the baking sheet

Add the pumpkin seeds, mix thoroughly, and transfer to an airtight container

Serve with milk, natural yogurt and berries or chopped banana





References

  1. Moore GF, Murphy S, Chaplin K, Lyons RA, Atkinson M, Moore L. Impacts of the Primary School Free Breakfast Initiative on socio-economic inequalities in breakfast consumption among 9-11-year-old schoolchildren in Wales. Public Health Nutr. 2014 Jun;17(6):1280-9

  2. Hoyland A., Dye L., Lawton C.L. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutr. Res. Rev. 2009;22:220–243

  3. Benton D & Parker PY (1998) Breakfast, blood glucose,and cognition. Am J Clin Nutr 67, issue 4, 772S–778S.17.

  4. Benton D & Sargent J (1992) Breakfast, blood-glucose and memory. Biol Psychol 33, 207–210

  5. Hoyland A., Dye L., Lawton C.L. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutr. Res. Rev. 2009;22:220–243

  6. Chepulis L, Everson N, Ndanuko R, Mearns G. The nutritional content of children's breakfast cereals: a cross-sectional analysis of New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Canada and the USA. Public Health Nutr. 2020 Jun;23(9):1589-1598

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