Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pour Some Sugar On Me

ahhh, the '80s. Def Leppard (I am proud to say I owned "Pyromania," and yes, I know the title of this post was not on that album -- and it was an album, just to date myself). Graduating high school. Off to my first big city (Philadelphia, see yesterday's post) and the rest of my life. Actually, the song reminds me of frat parties (one in particular and it was around Halloween, how apropos) and Henry Carter Brogden Franklin (who was a hero in a half shell that year, yes the Ninja Turtles, how funny they reemerged as toys for my son's generation).
Sorry, getting sidetracked (as if you couldn't tell by all the parentheses). The point of the sugar reference is to cereal. Yes, cereal. I love cereal and can eat a box at a time, I'm afraid. I eat completely childish breakfast foods and am not afraid to admit it. Sometimes I eat oatmeal (steel cut -- the microwaveable kind by Silver Palate or McCanns -- plain or with craisins) but a lot of times I eat kids' cereal ~ and not even necessarily my own kids. Sometimes I buy a sugar cereal that is just for me.
We all love Frosted Flakes so that is hard to keep in the house. My son and I love Fruity Pebbles (he mixes them with Cheerios, which redeems me somewhat, no?), and my daughter and I can inhale Cocoa Pebbles by the box. We all like Corn Pops, Apple Jacks. They go for Froot Loops and Trix sometimes, which I am immune to, no temptation there. Same with Lucky Charms (although it's really only my daughter who asks for it and then only to pick out the marshmallows).
To prevent sharing, I just recently struck upon Reeses Puffs because I am really the only one in the house who eats or likes peanut butter (aside from allergic kids, are there really other children in America that don't eat peanut butter? I still love a PB&J for lunch, and have one often. I guess I eat a lot of child-like meals ... help Larissa! STAT! check out
So it was with much chagrin that I read telling me that all of these cereals are the worst in terms of lack of nutrition and being marketed to kids (sadly, Reeses Puffs was number one!). Not surprised. Is anyone really falling for the "Smart Choices" marketing campaign?
Well, maybe. A related post to the one above tells about a California woman who actually sued Cap N' Crunch for misleading consumers. She thought crunchberries were real fruit. Really. You can't make this stuff up ( Luckily, the FDA is on the case and recently observed that some of the products bearing the "Smart Choices" label are almost 50 percent sugar (,0,1713245.story).
So? I mean, really. What else are my kids eating for breakfast? Well, actually they are not even the ones eating this cereal for breakfast. They stick to mini pancakes (the frozen kind) or waffles (again, frozen). Sometimes there are leftover made-from-scratch-by-mom chocolate chip pancakes, but is that really any better than the frozen stuff they consume? Marginally, perhaps, and it still has sugar.
No one has time to feed their kids a sensible breakfast of eggs, fruit and OJ -- or whatever a fictitious sensible breakfast is supposed to be. No one has time to do battle over every decision of every day (although it feels like we do that anyway, doesn't it?) so what is the big deal with breakfast as long as it's something? And what if it's not and the child first eats at snack? I mean does all of this really matter? Do you know your child is eating any of the healthy stuff you try to send for lunch anyway? (As a substitute lunch aide in an elementary school -- again, another post -- I can tell you that, no, your child is not eating much of what you send, the garbage can is.)
I always plan to make healthy breakfast bars or muffins or some such thing, but only my daughter would really eat them. And she would still probably eat some handfuls of dry sugar cereal as well, so what's the point? Overall, I color myself lucky that my kids eat certain vegetables and fruits without too much resistance and call it a day.
The reports won't really prevent me from buying or eating the bad stuff. It's all about choices. That's what we teach our kids, isn't it? Good choices. Bad choices. Empower them with the ability to choose at all (probably at the root of a lot of behavior problems in kids today). So, I choose a big, fat bowl of cereal. Want some sugar with that?

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