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The Myth Of The ‘Healthy’ Breakfast Bars & Other Cereals – Are Busy Parents Being Hoodwinked?

Posted: March 24, 2018

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Are breakfast bars healthy? What about your favourite cereal? If not, what is an ideal breakfast during busy mornings? Find out.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As the popular saying goes –  breakfast should be like a king; lunch should be like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Breakfast should be like a king regarding nutritional value, not in terms of quantity and variety.

Morning is the time when our body is in elimination mode; it is best to eat predigested foods. The digestive system is busy removing toxins from our body and needs energy to do that. So, from the time we get up till 11:00 am, sweet and juicy fruits are the best breakfast. Fruits are delicious and are loaded with essential nutrients. It prevents illness. Lots of people around me think that fruits have sugar. The natural sugar in fruits is different from the refined sugar that we find in packaged foods. Fruits alkalize our body. No disease can occur in an alkaline body.

Easy breakfast…

What is the most common and easy breakfast lately? I did a survey amongst my friends and found out that cereal bars, energy bars and cereals like Corn Flakes, Fruit Loops, Rice Crispies, Weetabix etc. with milk or coffee is what most people are consuming every morning. Few of my friends even thought that these are healthy. My close friend admitted, “I thought that this is the trend and that’s what everyone is supposed eat for breakfast.” I was a little shocked when another friend happily admitted that her Weetabix doesn’t taste good, so she thinks it should be ‘healthy’.

One of my new clients from Japan said, “Fruit loops with milk is the only breakfast that my daughter eats happily in the morning before going to the school. It is easy, hassle free and convenient!” A close friend also said that they buy the healthier and non-sugary version. The new concept of oats in breakfast bars is considered healthy.

…but is it healthy?

These fake foods are not healthy and nutritious at all.

I believe, it is the advisement industry that has cannily convinced us to consume sugar laden ‘high fiber biscuits’ and breakfast bars. They have successfully convinced us that these foods are healthy and full of nutrients. On the contrary, it is high in sugar, preservatives, saturated fats and are not easily digestible. All the calories from refined sugar are empty calories and don’t contain any nutrients that our cells need. Refined sugar from highly processed foods is an anti nutrient. It drains away nutrition from our cells. Our cells have great power to take care of themselves unless they are overwhelmed by poor diets.

Two years ago, I too used to eat the breakfast bars post workout. My son’s breakfast used to be cereal with milk. My husband also would have these breakfast bars in between meals. I considered this a regime healthy until I understood what real nutrition is.

Now, I don’t buy or consume these products at all. Only when we are on vacation, and the buffet of the hotel breakfast has an array of these cereals, does my son dig into the bowl of cold milk and Choco Pops. He relishes every bite and teases me by saying, “Mummy, this is the only place where I find my favourite cereals!”

The perfect breakfast

What is a perfect breakfast?

According to Ayurveda, fruits are like gold in the morning and are considered the best breakfast option. So, I consume fresh fruits, dates and figs as the first meal of the day. Fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach. Fruits have special digestive requirements and should be eaten alone. They should not be mixed with any cereals or yogurt. After half an hour, if I am hungry, I eat traditional Ia ndian breakfast. If I am busy, then I eat another round of fruits or my favourite banana and coconut milk smoothie and soaked nuts followed by lunch.

Traditional breakfast that our grandparents used to eat are ideal after consuming fruits. For example, dosa and idlis, poha, eggs, roasted potatoes, miso soup and rice or foul and hummus are few options of nutritious breakfast. Soaked nuts, apricots, figs and dates are few nutritious add on.

So my quick breakfast?

Now, I know the recipe of quick breakfast. Replacing a banana or an apple with a cereal bar is far more nutritious.

Consuming “real” food will lead to more energy through out the day. We should make our children also aware of the food choices we are making. Let them not get fooled by the cartoons and colourful packaging. Small changes in the morning will make the healthier cell and healthier future for our children and us.

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