Tasty, better-for-you breakfast solutions needed for time-crunched students

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Healthy, tasty breakfast solutions needed for time-crunched students

Related tags Nutrition

Eating on-the-go seems like an obvious solution to the problem of time-crunched children skipping breakfast in order to get out the door and to school on time, but survey results from cereal maker Barbara’s suggests the practice may cause more harm than good. 

According to the survey of more than 1,000 parents nationwide, one in five children miss breakfast at least one day a week. This figure more than doubles to one out of two children skipping breakfast among those who regularly eat on-the-go or in the car – busting the commonly held myth that that multitasking by crunching and commuting at the same time is more efficient.

What’s more, the survey found that when students on-the-go actually eat breakfast, it might not be as nutritious as what those who eat at home or school consume. This is based on the finding that 23% of children who eat breakfast on-the-go or in the car drink soda with breakfast.

This finding suggests there is a gap in the marketplace for nutritious, low-sugar, on-the-go breakfast options that are fast and filling.

More broadly, the study found 71% of children drink fruit juice for breakfast on school days and 95% eat cereal – two categories that have come under fire recently for being high in sugar, although they don’t have to be. Barbara’s touts its cereals are made without refined sweeteners, favoring molasses and evaporated cane sugar instead and options like its Puffins have lower amounts than some competitors.

Given these findings it might not be surprising that 36% of parents are concerned about the sugar content in their children’s breakfast food, according to the survey. However, attempts by parents to buy and feed their children better-for-you options might fall flat with children out right rejecting them – a problem cited in the survey by 35% of parents. In these cases, the survey found parents would rather offer a less nutritious option than have their children go hungry.

Nutritious vs delicious is false dichotomy

But Barbara’s, which makes better-for-you cereals, argues this is a false dichotomy and it has teamed with registered dietary nutritionist Frances Largeman Roth to help parents brainstorm ways of feeding their children more nutritious options.

For example, the company suggests on its website that parents add colorful berries, diced apple and melon or grapes to a serving of whole-grain cereal to add natural sweetness without added sugar and an extra serving of antioxidants and vitamin C at the same time.

Other tips created by Roth and Barbara’s include streamlining the morning by packing book bags and lunches the night before so there is more free time before school the next day. Simultaneously, they recommend parents curb screen time until after breakfast is served. 

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