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reader’s happy ending to sugary cereal quandry…

Posted by on Mar 6, 2012 in Blog Posts | 5 comments

Here is a great story from a reader. I love how she dealt with this tricky cereal situation! It can be extra hard when parents have different ideas about what to serve. Notice it took a year, but D trusted her boys, did her job of providing balance and not fighting the battles…

What are your success stories?

A happy ending to my sugar cereal woes. . . Background: hubby eats sugar cereals for breakfast and buys them regularly for our boys, who were turning up their noses at everything else. Their favorites were Peanut Butter Crunch and Lucky Charms (the worst! They’d skip the cereal and just eat the marshmallows). Hubby was not open to the idea of not buying the crap on a regular basis. My strategy: serve boys something else tasty but healthier for breakfast before they had a chance to request sugar cereal (peanut butter and bananas on toast, oatmeal with a little brown sugar, dried cranberries and walnuts, and plenty of milk, Rice Chex with blueberries and a sprinkle of table sugar). My boys would complain that they wanted PB Crunch instead, I’d simply say “OK,” and serve that, too. No lectures about sugar crap and no comments, even to hubby. Gradually, they started eating both options instead of just the PB Crunch, and then they started eating what I served instead of asking for the sugar cereal. Now, they will ask for oatmeal or or toast or Chex or Cheerios with fruit instead of the crap. They’re eating the sugar cereals now about once or twice a week and usually only a few bites in addition to something better. I am very happy with this result- no forbidden fruit aura about the crap and boys who are full and happy until lunchtime thanks to some fiber, protein, and fat in their breakfasts! It took about a year to get to this point (probably because of my own early mistakes in preaching about how sugar cereals don’t make you full).

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  1. Ines

    This is interesting, Katja. Very interesting. I think in general I am more relaxed about these issues, as you know. I don’t ever buy super sweet cereals (nor does my husband who does most of the shopping. BTW, I didn’t know Ellyn’s cut off was 6 grams of sugar, I learned something new!). And, my children are not sweet seekers, either, so this doesn’t come up in my life at home. So, perhaps my take is not unbiased as I don’t have a child who naturally prefers sweets over other foods. Although, my son did go through a period of Oreos-at-all-time and a lot, but it passed (perhaps it lasted more than 6 months?). At that time I did snacks with Oreos and milk and continue matter of fact with meals at regular times.
    That being said I don’t ever allow parents or children, for that matter, in my office (my presence) to identify any food in any derogatory manner (‘crap’ included). I feel it is important to acknowledge that all foods have nutrients and can be eaten at different times. Of course, I don’t get to change or dictate how people feel about specific foods, but I just prefer they don’t call food ‘crap.’

  2. Ines

    This IS a great story, Kajta. Thank you for sharing. The part I don’t like is referring to food as ‘crap.’ Food, even cereal with sugar, are not crap.

    • Ines

      OK, there is a typo. Sorry, I meant to say Food, even cereal with sugar, IS not crap. 🙂

      • Kate

        I second Ines. The references to “crap” seems anathema to what Ellyn teaches. At least it did to me.

        But I am happy that the method pays off, and I can attest, it works for adults.

        • katja

          I agree, and I don’t use those terms, but many readers who get it do, so I let it slide. If the understanding is there, and folks are applying the model and succeeding, and not calling it “crap” in front of the kids, then that is working for them. What words would we use to compare the cereals, Ellyn recommends less than 6 grams of sugar, so the “crap” would be out. I guess I am struggling now in different realms, in the ED world, in the HAES world, when we are getting stuck on semantics. More later, I suppose 🙂
          So, yes, It’s best to think of all foods in a positive way, but we do make distinctions, and I think terms like “growing” food, or “real” or “processed” are problematic, but I don’t want to get hung up on that. This mom gets it, don’t you think? If we use “lower sugar” or “less processed” is that better? I don’t know the answer, but it comes up a lot. If your child asked why you can’t have Choco Bombs for breakfast, and it doesn’t pass Ellyn’s test, what would you say? Tricky stuff, and thank you for writing. I caught it too, but decided to let it slide…