Look at all those happy, healty kids. The Kellogg Corporation wants you to believe that by eating a processed carb and sugar-laden breakfast, these kids will be more “alert” in school and that their products build optimal nutrition. This is marketing genius at its height, folks. I know my readers will have enough saavy not to be fooled by the claims of such propaganda (which appeared in my Sunday paper this week), but I just couldn’t let this go.
To see the entire “campaign” for Children’s “Nutrition” by Kellogg, you can click through the pages here, but the website doesn’t give justice to the colorful, multi-page insert that came in the paper. The document starts off by showing Tony the Tiger giving a “Thumb’s Up” sign, surrounded by boxes of Frosted Flakes, Apple Jacks, Pops, and Fruit Loops. Yeah, the healthy stuff. They don’t even pretend to promote the Raisin Brain here; it’s straight to the sugar cereals.
Rev up your day with Kellogg’s™ Fuel for School™ program. Starting the day with a balanced, great-tasting breakfast can put you on the fast track to good nutrition. Many kids and adults forget this important first meal. And nutritious snacks from Kellogg allow for easy-to-pack lunches and after-school snacks! So the next time you head to the grocery store, plan ahead and you’ll have the right snacks on hand with the nutrients to balance your family’s diet. At Kellogg, we have great snacking options all through the day.
Ok, let’s examine these “nutritous breakfasts” and their components:
Fruit Loops: SUGAR; CORN FLOUR; WHEAT FLOUR; OAT FLOUR; PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (ONE OR MORE OF: COCONUT, COTTONSEED, AND SOYBEAN) †; SALT; SODIUM ASCORBATE AND ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C); REDUCED IRON; NATURAL ORANGE, LEMON, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, BLUEBERRY, LIME, AND OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS; RED #40; BLUE #2; YELLOW #6; ZINC OXIDE; NIACINAMIDE; TURMERIC COLOR; BLUE #1; PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6); RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2); THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1); VITAMIN A PALMITATE; ANNATTO COLOR; BHT (PRESERVATIVE); FOLIC ACID; VITAMIN D; VITAMIN B12.
† LESS THAN 0.5g TRANS FAT PER SERVING.
Wow, Kellogg. You’ve really outdone yourselves! A bowlful of sugar, processed grain flours, and artificial colors (oh, and don’t forget the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils!) This looks like a really nutritious breakfast for my child!
The website claims that this is a balanced breakfast. Remember when they used to say “this is part of a complete breakfast” showing eggs, bacon, orange juice, and a side of processed cereal? Well, apparently now Fruit Loops is considered balanced all by itself. Nice.
Question: What makes this balanced, again?
Oh, it’s not.
And then, there are Pop Tarts. Do people actually believe these are healthy breakfast options for kids?!?! I’m not trying to be snarky…I’m just really curious. A junky dessert, maybe, but seriously, a breakfast? Really Kellogg’s????
Oh, and don’t forget Eggo waffles! I’ll spare you the ugly nutritional details, but if you are interested, you can see all the ingredients of their products on their product website.
Enough about breakfast. What about snacks?
How about “Yogo’s Bits” or Morningstar Farms “Chik’N Nuggets”. If you ever wondered what a “Chik’N’ looks like, here you have it:
TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN (SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, WHEAT GLUTEN, WATER FOR HYDRATION), WATER, ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR, CORN OIL, CORNSTARCH, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF WHEAT STARCH, SALT, METHYLCELLULOSE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, DEXTROSE, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS FROM NON-MEAT SOURCES, SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, DISODIUM INOSINATE, SOYBEAN OIL, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, ONION, PAPRIKA, DRIED YEAST, INULIN FROM CHICORY ROOT, CARAMEL COLOR, TAPIOCA DEXTRIN, XANTHAN GUM, SODIUM ALGINATE, SPICES, YELLOW CORN FLOUR, PAPRIKA EXTRACT FOR COLOR, ANNATTO EXTRACT FOR COLOR, BAKING SODA, GARLIC, TOMATO POWDER, CELERY EXTRACT, WHEAT FIBER, LACTIC ACID, SAFFLOWER OIL, BARLEY EXTRACT, CITRIC ACID, NIACINAMIDE, EGG WHITES, NONFAT DRY MILK, SUCCINIC ACID, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, IRON (FERROUS SULFATE), THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), VITAMIN B12.
Ok, I have another question processed food manufacturers: Why the heck do you use so many billions of ingredients to make one product???? Is the extra tapioca dextrin really necessary?
So what are the alternatives? Are there ways that busy moms getting kids ready for school can send them off with a nutritious breakfast on the go?
Check out my 5 day breakfast meal plan for busy moms for some kid-tested, real nutrient-dense foods that can be made ahead or on in 10 minutes or less!
Other than making your own food, you can Fight Back against the propaganda by:
1) Ignoring it and making informed choices for Real Foods.
2) Writing to companies like Kellogg’s. Take a moment to let them know that there are consumers who want Real Food. It’s is possible to package and provide nourishing convenience foods, but companies have to know there’s a market for it. I personally wrote to Kellogg’s at what a disgrace I think it is that the food they are promoting for children is linked to childhood obesity, type II diabetes, and weakened immunity.
3) Vote with your dollar and use your hard-earned money to support local farmers and distributors of local organic products for nourishing breakfast foods.