News of high levels of added sugar in the cereals we feed our children has put parents on high alert. While there’s no need to chuck out all your packets just yet, it’s time to start making better choices.
Ditch the high sugar packets, which are usually the ones specifically marketed at children. Instead, go for lower sugar cereals fortified with iron and B-vitamins, as they make a positive contribution to children’s health. Lower sugar cereals also tend to be higher in fibre, which is important for bowel health.
Added sugar guidelines for children
‘Free’ or added sugar is granulated white or brown, syrups, nectars or honey. One level tsp of granulated sugar weighs 4g, the same as 1 cube of sugar. The maximum amounts given below are based on this figure.
* 4-6 years – no more than 19g of sugar (5 tsp) each day
* 7-10 years old no more than 24g per day (6 tsp)
* Children over 11 years old no more than 30g sugar (7 tsp)
What to buy?
Below are my go-to cereal choices. The top six are low in sugar (less than 5g sugar per 100g). The rest are a little higher in sugar, the highest being 15g sugar per 100g, so keep these for treats. Add milk or yogurt and sliced pear/banana for a healthy balanced breakfast for your child. Both dairy and fruit contain sugar, but this is naturally occurring, so does not count towards the daily totals above.
1. 30g portion of porridge oats – 0.3g sugars
2. 2 biscuits of Shredded Wheat – 0.27g sugars
3. 27g packet of Oat So Simple Original – 0.3g sugars
4. 30g Lizi’s Low Sugar Granola – 1.1g sugars
5. 2 biscuits Oatabix – 1.5g sugars
6. 2 biscuits Weetabix – 1.6g sugars
7. 30g Cornflakes – 2.2g sugars (1/2 teaspoon)
8. 30g Rice Krispies – 3.7g sugars (1 teaspoon)
9. 30g Kellogg’s Bran Flakes – 4.2g sugars (1 teaspoon)
10. 30g Shreddies – 4.5g sugars (1 teaspoon)
When reading labels look for cereals lower in sugar using this guide:
High sugar more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g (red traffic light)
Low sugar 5g of total sugars or less per 100g (green traffic light)