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Beware of high sugar cereals

Has this happened to you yet? You are pushing your grocery cart down the aisle of the supermarket. All of a sudden, your toddler sees a certain brand of cereal. He begins calling out the name of the cereal. He wants you to buy it. You are amazed. You’ve never bought this cereal, and he’s never eaten it. How did he find out about it? He probably learned about it from television.

Toddlers don’t seem to pay much attention to television, but they are often aware of what is happening on the screen. Commercials are very appealing because of the action and the noise. The food most often advertised during children’s television programs is cereal. Some of these cereals are nutritious, others are not. In fact, some of these cereals have more sugar than cereal in them. They are more like candy than cereal.

How can you tell if a cereal is high in sugar? Look for the list of ingredients on the cereal box. They are listed in order of amounts. The first ingredient has the largest amount in the cereal. The last ingredient has the smallest amount in the cereal. If the first ingredient in the list is sugar, there is more sugar in the cereal than anything else. You will want to choose another cereal lower in sugar.

What do you tell your child when you decide not to buy the cereal? Say, “This is not a ‘good-for-you’ cereal. We want to buy a ‘good-for-you’ cereal to help you grow healthy and strong.” Check labels on other cereals and let him choose from the cereals that are low in sugar. If your child is unhappy because you aren’t going to buy the cereal he wants, move away from the cereal display.

Go on and do the rest of your shopping. You can spend time reading cereal labels when you are shopping alone.


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