Is Weet-Bix Good or Bad?
This is a frequently asked question of mine. First and foremost we need to reframe the question. Where possible I avoid putting foods into 'good' or 'bad'. There is no morality attached to food (we do that!). The question we want to be asking is:
"How much goodness does this provide?"
This question alone will help to guide you but for reference we want to be asking this in relation to the essential nutrients we need to consume each day as humans and especially our core foods.
For babies, one of my key guidelines which I discuss in depth in The Nourished Baby is being careful around the introduction of grains prior to 10-12 months of age. My blog here will give a brief overview to any new followers of my work.
In terms of the core foods for toddlers and above these are:
- A source of healthy fat
- A source of iron
Generally our fat and iron sources are the same, and also provide protein along with B12. You can read a bit more on this blog here which covers core foods and portions.
In short does Weet-Bix provide any of these core foods, let alone in a reasonable amount = no.
While this does not mean we 'should not' eat it at all, this is a very strong consideration in terms of how regularly we do eat it or give it to our children. Often Weet-Bix is given for breakfast between 5-7 days of the week and potentially is not giving enough key nutrients to fuel what our day needs.
There are factors to Weet-Bix outside of it's nutrient density to consider. Out of all cereal options we have, Weet-Bix is very low in sugar. Seems a small miracle given our food industry and specifically the cereals we do have. More over, it can be a fast option along with one that children can learn to do independently. Mornings can be a pressure point for families so this is a consideration. In addition, it can also be cost effective - while we would like nutritious food options to be budget friendly this is rarely the case. As someone taking on the food industry I don't pull any punches here. While we cannot change this beast overnight - allowing yourself some grace to still factor in budget is important.
All or Nothing
In my experience we can get stuck with an all or nothing approach when it comes to food choices. Do not underestimate that even one different breakfast a week can make. This is in terms of repeated exposure for younger children and also habits for older children (and adults!). This is a good place to start, especially if mornings during the week are hectic. Notice how you feel with a different breakfast that includes the core foods. When do you next get hungry? Did you have cravings at 3pm? This will be a good guide in assessing how well your breakfast served you.
Below I have some additions you could add to Weet-Bix to increase the 'goodness' along with some other breakfast options to try out.
- Full fat Greek Yoghurt or Coconut Yoghurt
- Ground LSA (linseeds, sunflower seeds, almonds)
- Desiccated coconut or coconut chips
- Chia seeds (can also soak overnight with Weet-Bix and milk
- Coconut milk (extra fat from dairy milk)
- Other nuts or nut butters (depending on allergen responses and preferences)
Other than simply listing highly nutrient dense options such as eggs, mushrooms, beans, and spinach you might find these helpful for both the big and small humans in your home!
- Breakfast Muffins (link here)
- Breakfast Balls (link here)
- Breakfast Bars (Feed the Tribe)
- DJK Muesli (Toasted or Grain-Free)
- Overnight Chia Pudding (recipes in both Feed the Tribe & Baby and Toddler Cookbook)
-Tiramisu Overnight Oats (Sugar Reduction Guide)
In both my major cookbooks I have a full breakfast section packed full of ideas which would be great to try especially on the weekend and then build into a breakfast mid-week. Keep in mind what I mentioned above, even trying out one different breakfast a week can make a big difference, especially given it's a third of a major meals. Starting small, with exposure for one of these can be a stepping stone into other days.
I answered this question along with other great caller questions on weight training and returning to the work force on the podcast this week! Be sure to tune in each Wednesday when I have a new episode drop each week. If you do have a question you would like answered just hit the contact page!
xxx Dr Julie