Friday, September 28, 2012

Morning Routine (Dig 'em)

As we get into the school year, I've been meaning to write more about some of the rituals that help to get us through each day. Naturally, I'll start with breakfast. Although the BG likes a little more variety than her older sister, I think it's fair to say that, like most kids, they prefer predictable and known situations to the unfamiliar and strange. Besides, there is enough stress at school, that seething cauldron of social pressure, authoritarian rule and competition, that I try to do everything I can to make the morning as easy and comfortable as possible. David Brooks' column this morning mentions the influence of childhood stress or trauma on development, and, like anybody, I'm always happy to cite as authority something that confirms my feeling about a particular topic.

Anyway, my approach to the morning means that I let the Gs eat pretty much whatever they want for breakfast. In the early days, I was just concerned about making sure they got enough calories to get them through the morning, but, as they get older, I'm thinking more about nutrition and healthy eating. The OG is--unless I make pancakes--as reliable as the sunrise: Lucky Charms (1% milk) and two strips of bacon, which I make in the microwave. The BG orders a bespoke meal every morning, choosing either Cookie Crisp, Honey Nut Cheerios or Raisin Bran from Column A, and Morningstar vegetarian bacon or sausage (there's a whole other post in there I suspect) from Column B.

Now, presweetened cereals (excluding Raisin Bran) were, to us kids, the ne plus ultra of breakfasts. The combination of seductive advertising (ubiquitous on after school television), enclosed prizes, and parental disdain made the rare bowl of Sugar Smacks (now called "Honey Smacks" although I suspect, otherwise unchanged)  at a friend's house all the more delicious; and, in those rare times when my mother would break down and buy a package of Honeycombs, the contents of the box would be gone the same day, as we raced to gorge ourselves on the forbidden flakes and to get to the loot at the bottom.
But we were allowed to sprinkle a spoonful of sugar on our Cornflakes, and that got me to thinking this morning, about the caloric implications of that largesse. It turns out that a teaspoon of sugar (and I suspect that we were piling a little more on in our youthful exuberance) is about 4.2 grams, and that the Cornflakes themselves contain 2.9, making for a total of 7.1 grams of sugar in a serving at Little D's breakfast table. By contrast, those horrible presweetened cereals have the following sugar content:

  • Honey Nut Cheerios, 9g
  • Cookie Crisp, 9g
  • Lucky Charms. 10g
  • Raisin Bran, 17g

In addition, all of the aforementioned cereals have about 100-110 calories per serving, except for the Raisin Bran, which has 160.
Not a lot of differentiation, really. I should also mention that, after granola appeared in the supermarket, we were also allowed something called Harvest Crunch. It turns out that, despite the wholesome name, the current incarnation of that product has 220 calories and 12 grams of sugar, 20% more than the frosted oat cereal with sweet surprises.

This is not the end of the debate about healthy breakfasts obviously, but weighed against smiles and good cheer around the breakfast table, I'm feeling pretty good about our choices.

No comments:

Post a Comment