Friday, September 24, 2010

Part Of A Balanced Breakfast

by Dick Mac

My 6-year-old daughter was staying home from school because she was sick. It happens. She asked to watch television and when it was powered-up, the first sentence heard was: "Froot Loops With Sprinkles, part of a balanced breakfast."

I started wondering: what is a balanced breakfast?

My breakfast habits are terrible. The combination of taking a medication one-full hour before eating, getting my daughter to school, followed by a seventy-five minute subway commute means that I would have to finish breakfast by 7:30 A.M. in order to get to work on time. This hasn't worked out for me, because I don't get up and at it until 6:30. So, I eat in the city and I generally have more fat and carbohydrates than I should. In my defense: I always have a piece of fruit!

I know that my small black coffee, bagel and cream cheese and apple is not a terrible breakfast; but it could be better. It's about 450 calories with not much nutrition.

Although I am not a scientist or a nutritionist, I suspect that what I eat in the morning is better because I do not include Froot Loops with Sprinkles.

This got me thinking about how we define a balanced breakfast and I started searching. I didn't find as much as I expected. I thought Google would return a list of sites with concise listings of suggested menus. Sadly, the results were a bit of a disappointment.

At, I found this list of Low Calorie Breakfasts

•One serving of whole grain cereal like Cheerios or Wheaties with one-half cup non-fat milk, one teaspoon sugar, one hard-boiled egg with a glass of water. 270 calories

•One slice of whole grain toast with two tablespoons peanut butter with a 10-ounce glass of non-fat milk. 375 calories

•Omelet made with two eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, green onions, peppers and one ounce of shredded cheese with an apple and a glass of water. 410 calories

The site offers Eating balanced breakfast smartest start to your day:

•One-ounce equivalent of grains, such as one slice of 100 percent whole grain bread, 1 cup of cooked oatmeal, 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal, half an English muffin, one mini-bagel, one (4 1/2-inch diameter) pancake, or small (2-1/2-inch diameter) muffin.

•One cup equivalent of fruit or vegetables, such as a half-cup of fruit or vegetables and a half-cup of fruit or vegetable juice.

•One cup equivalent of milk or calcium-rich foods, such as one cup of milk, one cup of yogurt or 1-1/2 ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese.

•One-ounce equivalent of protein, such as 1 ounce of lean meat, poultry or fish, one egg, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, one-quarter cup cooked dry beans or a half-ounce of nuts or seeds.

An article about advertising standards for children's foods in the UK provides a scorecard about cereals, Part of a Balanced Breakfast:

The Guilty Parties
It should come as no great surprise that the companies we're talking about here are Kellogg and General Mills. Those two together are responsible for Tony the Tiger, the silly Trix rabbit, and pretty much everything else except for Cap'n Crunch. Quaker owns Cap'n Crunch (their only child brand). I have complaints about what they do to oatmeal, but at least nobody is advertising artificially flavored sugary instant oatmeal using obnoxious cartoon characters.

Please note that Froot Loops do not qualify for advertising in the UK.

I couldn't find Froot Loops recommended at any site I visited.

Are Froot Loops part of a balanced breakfast? Are Froot Loops part of your breakfast?

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