Meredith Magee Donnelly took a critical look at Gerber Graduates Cereal Bars. Looking at the list of ingredients on a box of Gerber Graduates Cereal Bars she was surprised to see high fructose corn syrup listed as one of the first ingredients in both the crust and the filling.
On the back cover of Nutrition Action Healthletter, one of her favorite sources for nutritional information, there is a section called “Food Porn” which highlights some of the worst foods you can eat. She says that If she was to create a list entitled “Baby Food Porn” Gerber Graduates Cereal Bars would be high on her list.
She goes on to talk about high fructose coren syrup. She says that while the effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) remain a controversial issue, some facts are not debatable. HFCS is cheaper than sugar and extends the shelf life of processed foods and is, therefore, popping up in many foods on your supermarket shelves. Right now it is too early to tell if HFCS is any worse than sugar.
"This seems to be a moot point", she says, "Food marketed to children should not have HFCS (or sugar) as one of its main ingredients. HFCS is high in calories and low in nutritional value. According to the Mayo Clinic website, regularly eating food that contains HFCS “has the potential to promote obesity — which, in turn, promotes conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease”. She says that the fact that Gerber is promoting its cereal bars in their campaign “Start Healthy, Stay Healthy” is nothing short of deceitful. Let’s set our children up for success by teaching healthy lifestyles that do not promote foods full of high fructose corn syrup and sugar.
Here are a few snack/breakfast alternatives to Gerber’s cereal bars for children over the age of one that she suggests:
- Whole wheat toast with jam and peanut butter: Look for all natural jams such as Bonne Maman and peanut butter free of hydrogenated oil such as Smucker’s All Natural Peanut Butter.
- Plain whole milk yogurt with maple syrup and wheat germ: Look for organic yogurt whenever possible (tip: large containers are a better deal than the 6 ounce containers). Real maple syrup is a must- brands like Aunt Jemima contain mostly corn syrup. Sprinkle this yummy snack with wheat germ to add a great boost of protein, potassium and iron.
- Whole wheat pasta with marinara and parmesan cheese: Fun pasta shapes like Hodgson Mill’s Whole Wheat Veggie Wagon Wheels make all the difference in this healthy snack! Be careful in choosing a marinara sauce, while high in flavor they can also be high in sodium.
Meredith Magee Donnelly