Who eats dessert for breakfast? Imagine the scenario, the kids roll out of bed, don their uniforms and make their way downstairs. I have the breakfast ready - apple pie for the boys and chocolate fudge cake for my daughter as she’s not a big fan of the apple pie. They gobble up their meal, brush their teeth and head out the door for school …..


Sounds a bit mad alright. And school mornings are bad enough (hitting your brother with the handle of a scooter anyone?) without throwing all that extra sugar in as well. But just how much sugar is in that bit of cake? And how does it compare to some breakfast cereals that children may eat regularly before school? 


A slice of apple pie has 19.6g of sugar or 5 teaspoons approximately (about 16g per 100g). A slice of chocolate cake has 40g of sugar per 100g or 10 teaspoons. Bearing in mind that the World Health Organisation have recommended that children should stick to about 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, eating dessert for breakfast means there’s not much, if any, sugar left for the rest of the day.


So let’s feed them something else for breakfast - cereal perhaps. A much better option surely. But hold on, let’s have a closer look at cereals. That childhood favourite, Coco Pops, has 36.5g of sugar per 100g, not too far off the chocolate cake. I certainly wouldn’t be giving my children chocolate cake for breakfast but very occasionally, this type of cereal appears either at a birthday or Christmas.


Let’s look at a different cereal and see how it stacks up. Crunchy nut cornflakes anyone? These have a similar sugar content to Coco Pops (35g per 100g). How about Nestle Almond Oats and More? They sound healthy what with the oats and all? In fact this cereal has almost 7 teaspoons of sugar per 100g (27.5g). 


Moving on down the cereal aisle or should this be called the dessert aisle? How about multigrain Cheerios? They have 21g of sugar per 100g while the honey version has 24g per 100g. Rice Krispies weigh in at 10g of sugar per 100g and even cornflakes clock in at 8g per 100g (or two teaspoons per large bowl). 


The best cereals, in terms of sugar content, are porridge, Weetabix with 4.4g per 100g and Shredded Wheat which has a minimal sugar content.


So instead of dessert for breakfast, much better to choose a cereal with a lower sugar content and keep the high sugar cereals for special treats! These lower sugar cereals will help keep your children feeling full for longer, help regulate their blood sugar levels and protect their teeth from decay. And as for the chocolate cake …..!!!

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As a mum of 3, I know how difficult, challenging and difficult (worth saying twice!) it can be, feeding them a healthy, balanced diet. A couple of years ago, I left my full-time job and retrained as a Health and Nutrition Coach - much to the disgust of my children. My goal is to teach children about the joys of healthy eating (so yes, I know how difficult it is!) through my business, The Cool Food School (www.thecoolfoodschool.ie). I also like to run, drink coffee and ignore the housework.

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