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Should You Believe Food Health Claims?

I read an article recently about Kellogg agreeing to drop their claim that Rice Krispies are good for children’s immune systems. They’ve had to drop claims about Frosted Mini Wheats too.

Companies love to make claims about foods, especially when children are the target. Parents want the best for their kids, and it’s not always easy to tell what’s true and what isn’t.

What to do, what to do?

My first rule is to be skeptical about the health claims of any processed food. Want your children to have good immune systems? Feed them fresh fruits and vegetables, encourage them to be active, and don’t overuse antibacterial products. Remember a little dirt is a good thing.

When it comes to cereals, take a good look at what they’re really offering in terms of nutrition. Some are much better than others. But also remember they’re still pretty heavily processed for the most part.

My kids love oatmeal. This makes me happy, as it’s a much healthier option. We’re trying to get them over to steel cut oats, but so far that’s a bit too much of a leap for them. But regular oatmeal isn’t a poor choice at all.

I know cereals are a quick and easy breakfast, which is why we don’t avoid it entirely. But there are many other quick ways to have a good breakfast. Oatmeal doesn’t take that long. Homemade fruit smoothies are great, and you can add vegetables to improve the nutritional value. I even put in some cooked oatmeal to make smoothies more filling. Not too much, as you don’t want to ruin the taste, but a little does it good.

I even freeze them into popsicles and allow the kids to have the popsicles for breakfast. They’re the same as they were before I put them into molds and froze them, after all.

Try more cooking from scratch when you can for any meal. It’s wonderful having more control over just what goes into your food, and you can focus on providing highly nutritious meals and know what went into them.

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