Thursday, January 12, 2012

Step Away From the Cereal Box

Cereal is a tough one to give up.  The thing is, cereal is so processed that the end product is practically unrecognizable when compared to the original ingredients.  How do we get from this,

To this?

Well, the answer is we process the heck out of it.  Most cereal is ENRICHED.  We read it on the boxes, the manufacturers write on the packaging, "enriched with 12 vitamins and minerals", so we think it must be good for us.  Do you know what enriched means?

When a food is excessively processed, it is stripped of all its nutrients and minerals.  Manufacturers will then add nutrients and minerals back in to compensate for the loss of the original nutrients and minerals (the ones that Mother Nature intended to be there!)  Enriched does not mean that extra nutrients have been added, it means that food product is so overprocessed it needs to be "fixed" before it can be sold!

So, you've got to throw out your cereal.  While you're at it, throw out any instant oatmeal you have too.  When it comes to breakfast, we need to come up with other options.  And, just a warning, you will probably have to turn your stove on in the mornings.  The first thing I suggest you try is incredible and edible...that's right, you guessed it....

We eat eggs nearly every morning in our house.  Do you know that egg whites have the biological value of 100, which means all the nitrogen absorbed from the egg protein is retained and incorporated into your body tissue protein?!?!  Have no clue what that means?  Eat eggs, they're good for you!  We ALWAYS have hardboiled eggs available for snacks in our house.  Throw some eggs in water, bring to a boil, turn off heat, sit covered for 12-15 minutes, rinse in cold water.  My kids love hardboiled eggs with fruit for breakfast.  We love using this to slice them:

And amazing mothers have these that they use to mold their kids' hardboiled eggs.  I strive to be amazing, I'm not there yet.  So sorry, mini're settling for sliced eggs!

If you don't like hardboiled, you can always scramble them.  If I scramble I always add in diced bell peppers and spinach.  Fancy people call that a fritatta.  I call it eggs with veggies.

Another good breakfast option is oatmeal.  We can't use instant, flavored oatmeal, but we can make our's tastier anyway!  My kids love steel cut oats, so try those or you can stick with rolled oats too.  Make the oats following the directions on the package.  It basically is adding the oats to boiling water (I use milk) and stirring occasionally until oats are done.  Once the oats are done, the fun begins!  The possibilities of are endless, but ideas to put into your oats are:
  • fruit
  • nuts
  • honey
  • small amount of brown sugar
  • small amount of 100% maple syrup
Stove top oatmeal has a different texture than instant oatmeal.  So, your kids will probably protest because kids (and men) don't like change.  I would suggest calling stovetop oatmeal "hot cereal".  That way your kids aren't expecting their typical oatmeal only to be disappointed by the healthy, good stuff.  Or, you could always make a batch of stovetop and a batch of instant oatmeal and make a 50/50 mix.  Gradually, decrease the amount of instant until it is 100% stovetop.  Or, you could make the stovetop, plop it in front of your kids, and tell them breakfast is served, you get what you get and you don't throw a fit.  That always goes over well too.

Other options are homemade whole wheat pancakes, waffles, or french toast, homemade whole wheat muffins, homemade granola with milk, plain greek yogurt with fruit and homemade granola, toast (homemade whole wheat bread).  Recipes for all of these will be coming soon, I will share them as we try them!