Worried about sugar and salt in breakfast cereals? Read this!

PicMonkey CollageWe all eat to much salt and sugar. It is in the headlines every day. As a mum, it worries me on a daily basis.

I watch the amount of sugar and salt Boo eats regularly and try and stick to fruit as the most sugar she eats. However she is three so ‘choc’ does feature quite a bit in the things she asks for.

Likewise with salt, I don’t add any extra in my cooking and I do tend to cook everything from scratch.

To me, the problem isn’t the odd bit of chocolate or packet of crisps that I give Boo myself, it is the hidden sugar and salt in many of our favourite foods-even the types you think are healthy.

I have health concerns myself and, as you are probably aware, I am trying to loose weight so any reduction in the amount I eat will be for the better.

My biggest bugbear in my fight against sugar and salt however, is breakfast cereals. Have you spent time in the cereal aisle of the supermarket recently?

It is a minefield of sugar and salt.

Even the types you think are healthy-wheat biscuits and their branded-alternative contain added sugar and salt. This was my biggest surprise because they don’t taste sweet at all. Indeed, many people sweeten this type of breakfast with something extra whether it be sugar or a sugar alternative like honey or syrup.

As part of my quest to find out why manufacturers put added sugar and salt into foods, I emailed the press office at Weetabix and asked them why they put it in. This was their response:

“We add sugar and salt for taste and to help processing. This produces a cereal that is acceptable to the consumer.”

I didn’t really think this answered my question. I like cereals like Weetabix for myself as there is no issue in portion size. It is so easy with pourable cereals to add a bit extra. I once measured 30grammes of cereal and was surprised at how much more I usually ate. Products like Weetabix and shredded wheat are fool-proof when it comes to portion  size (as long as you don’t have 32, obviously).

Boo loves Weetabix but I do usually but yoghurt on it (which has sugar in it) or puréed baby fruit which has naturally occurring sugars- but the are still sugar.

Sometime however, she likes a change. She likes cornflakes. I thought they were a healthy cereal. Most cornflakes are fortified with vitamins and iron and they have very little fat.

I found the truth about this out when I was pregnant with Boo. I had gestational diabetes and, every time I had cornflakes for breakfast, my blood sugars would go through the roof. When I told the diabetic nurse, she told me cornflakes were the worst cereal to have because of the amount of sugar added to them. So it was back to the drawing board.

After extensive research, back in the supermarket, the only cereals not to contain added sugar and salt are porridge oats and shredded wheat.

I do make porridge. It is a cheap and filling choice for children and porridge oats have many other health benefits such as lowering cholesterol.

I know there a lot of mums out there who stick to this daily. Porridge for everyone for breakfast and I wholeheartedly salute you.

If I could go back in time and not introduce chocolaty cereals, I would, but I can’t. Boo loves chocolaty cereal and, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the worst thing she could have as long as the rest of her diet is balanced. Every time I reached for the chocolate cereal in the supermarket though, I feel a pang of guilt and hide them under the rest of my shopping-you know like when you buy 17 chocolate bars and tell the cashier ‘they’re not for me,’ yet she looks at you like you’re mad and would have thought nothing of you buying the chocolate if you hadn’t said anything. That.

I am therefore so happy that I have found a child-appealing cereal that has no added nasties. To make it even better, they are made by a brand you will have heard of and, they growl.

Bear may have been known in the past for their imaginative sweet treats that contain no added sugar or salt. Their yoyos, nibbles and paws are either one or two of your five-a-day, are suitable for vegetarians and vegans and, most importantly, are attractive to children.

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So these clever people have only gone and invented two breakfast cereals that have no added sugar or salt.

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Alphabites are sweetened with coconut blossom nectar, a type of natural sugar that has been used in Asia for thousands of years.

It has a low glyceimic index so it is perfect for diabetics or pre-diabetics.

Alphabites look good and are educational. I have tried to spell out Boo’s name several times on top of her bowl which she thinks is very funny.

Obviously it would be no point serving Alphabites up for breakfast if Boo didn’t enjoy them but I think you’ll agree, this face and, almost empty bowl says it all.

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Why not try them for yourself? Alphabites are available direct from Bear‘s website but supermarkets like Waitrose  and Sainsburys stock them and I have also seen them in my local Asda too.


*Please note: The lovely people at bear supplied me with a box of cocoa Alphabites and a box of multigrain Alphabites but I would have blogged about them anyway as they are such a great idea.


Family Fever


  1. I will be hunting these down! I find breakfast quite a tricky meal to keep ‘healthy’. I love making pancakes & cinnamon French toast (I don’t add sugar to these) but I can’t do it everyday. Georgina had brioche with jam & lemon curd this morning – sugar on a plate :/

    1. I know it is so hard. Don’t beat yourself up, a bit of sugar is ok. I think Bear need to invent sugar free chocolate 😉

  2. I m diabetic and am always looking for “no added sugar”. I m so pleased to have found a cereal that fits this and is palatable! Don’t stop at children s cereal. Be the first to make an adult version …….there are millions of diabetic people out there so you would be doing them a great service.

  3. Having read up on coconut blossom sugars I m now not so pleased with Alpha bites. It seems it is only slightly less bad for you than normal sugar. So not such a wonderful cereal . Back to the porridge!!!!

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