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Guest blogger Ellie Holly of Holly Healthcare talks about healthy alternatives to sugary cereals for all the family.

‘There’s a lot in the press lately about the damaging effects of sugar on our health and worse, our children’s health. A high sugar intake is associated with obesity, tooth decay, type II diabetes and a whole host of other illnesses including many cancers, dementia, skin disorders and mental health problems in adults and children including low mood, anxiety, depression, and concentration difficulties.

September is here, kids are starting school and it feels like a great time to take action on our diets.   The government has recently dramatically cut its recommendations for maximum sugar intake. Adults are now advised to consume less than 7tsp (30g) sugar per day – that’s less than the amount of sugar found in one can of coke! Children under 11 years should be having less than this and children under 5yrs should consume under 4tsp (16g) per day. (By sugar, they are referring to added sugar in foods, not the naturally occurring sugars found in fresh fruit).


Jamie Oliver started his campaign against sugar last week by discussing the ‘hidden’ sugar found in ‘healthy’ foods. He showed that so-called healthy breakfast cereals like Bran flakes are 22% sugar. Even Special K is 17% sugar!

However, not only are boxed, crunchy, crispy breakfast cereals generally high in sugar, they are also all created via a process called ‘extrusion’; this involves putting the whole grains under terrific pressure and baking them to very high temperatures. This processing method leads to the production of acrylamides, carcinogenic chemicals within the cereal. It also causes the whole grains to behave like refined carbohydrates when we eat them, giving a sharp rise in blood sugar levels quickly followed by a slump leaving us tired, hungry and often looking for the next quick fix!’

So, if you want to avoid sugary processed breakfast cereals what should we be feeding our kids in the morning?


Here are five healthy alternatives:

  1. Sugar-free muesli served with the milk of your choice and fresh fruit. The wholegrains will provide complex carbohydrates and B-vitamins and the nuts will be a great source of healthy fats and minerals
  2. Wholemeal toast with sugar-free peanut butter and sliced banana. Peanut butter is high in protein needed for growth and development and rich in vitamin E for healthy skin; wholemeal toast provides slow release carbohydrates and B-vitamins
  3. Porridge – oats are rich in B-vitamins and contain minerals such as iron; they are high in soluble fibre which lowers cholesterol levels, and rich in slow release complex carbohydrates, giving a steady supply of energy levels for several hours.  Want it sweet? Add in chopped banana or grated apple, a few raisins or chopped dried apricots before you cook it and then serve it topped with desiccated coconut or berries
  4. Natural yogurt or Greek yogurt with chopped fruit or a handful of berries and flaked almonds. Unsweetened yogurt is a great source of calcium and vitamin A and contains naturally occurring fats which will provide energy over a few hours
  5. Make a big batch of pancake batter the night before and treat your kids to a couple of mornings of pancakes topped with sliced banana, or strawberries, greek yogurt, chopped nuts and a tiny drizzle of honey or simply spread them with a little almond butter. Use wholemeal flour or buckwheat flour to increase the vitamin, mineral and fibre content and make with the milk of your choice – dairy or non-dairy both work well

Visit Ellie facebook page for a recipe to make your own super healthy and delicious muesli https://www.facebook.com/ehollyhealthcare?ref=hl



About Ellie Holly…

Ellie is a highly qualified and experience practitioner of Western Herbal medicine with over 15 years experience seeing patients. She is also a nutritional therapist and is passionate about helping people back on the road to full health. As a holistic therapist Ellie also practises body work – Aromatherapy and Swedish body massage.

Ellie sees patients privately at her Enfield Chase clinic, EN2 and in a clinic in Crouch End, N8. In addition to her private practise, Ellie teaches Diet and Nutrition, Massage and other well-being courses at the City Lit and The Mary Ward Centre in central London. To find out more about Ellie Holly, the courses she teaches or to make an appointment visit: www.hollyhealthcare.co.uk

Ellie offers free 10 minute health consultations so you can find out whether herbal medicine or nutrition can help you. You can call or text Ellie on 07949 463 288