Cheerios are a standby for many moms when it comes time to give their babies a finger food that they can pick up easily and mush up without much trouble. Perhaps you yourself have them in a sandwich bag in your diaper bag for a quick snack time treat. But are they good for your baby?
It can be very confusing, because they’ve got a lot of icons on the label that make it seem like a healthy choice. One of them is a big red heart from the American Heart Association. And while this might make it seem like a heart-healthy food would be good to give your baby, it’s not exactly the best choice on the market.
One claims the classic cereal used to make was that it’s clinically proven to reduce cholesterol, but the FDA cracked down on that. They boast that it’s a good source of fiber, that there’s only 1 gram of sugar, and that there’s only 100 calories per serving. It’s also part of the General Mills family, so they’re not using whole grains in all of their brands.
Can I Give My Baby Cheerios? Answer: Better Options Exist
Many moms and doctors say that Cheerios can be given to babies that are ready from the 6 month mark on, but there are better options than the Cheerios brand when it comes to giving your baby ring-shaped oat cereal. Big food conglomerates should never be responsible for feeding your young one, and General Mills is all about producing their products with the lowest expense, and the biggest profit.
Since there are organic alternatives readily available, you should opt for those. That way you get the same convenience and benefits that Cheerios provides, but you hold off on all of the additives and preservatives that are prevalent in every processed food provided by Big Food. Luckily Cheerios can’t patent the ability to produce ringed oat cereal, so simply switch to a brand that focuses on organic and all-natural ingredients and you’re all set.
If you read the recent study that tried to debunk organic foods as not being any more healthy for you than conventional foods, keep in mind that no one ever claimed that organic foods contained more healthy things in them, the big reason to go organic is because of what it leaves out of your food. Ask yourself if you really think that the grains General Mills uses are free of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals to get it to grow.
The Ingredients, Please
The first ingredient is whole grain oats, which may sound healthy enough, but General Mills is going to buy these oats from the cheapest producer available, and then process them until they don’t look like oats anymore. The next ingredient is Modified Corn Starch, with most in agreement that this is likely not bad for you, but also serves no benefit. Next we have sugar, but this is industrial-grade sugar, and nothing like pure sugar cane.
Then there is oat bran, which sounds healthy enough but again what sort of quality are you getting. Next is another processed food staple, tripotassium phosphate. It finishes with some ordinary corn starch and some wheat starch, and then goes into how many synthetic vitamins and minerals they’ve added to it in order to make it seem healthier.
Here are the ingredients for Organic Purely O’s from Cascadian Farm: Organic Whole Grain Oats, Organic Whole Grain Barley, and Sea Salt, among others. The big thing that’s missing from the list are a bunch of preservatives and additives, as well as industrial grade sugar and salt. These or something like them would be a much better choice for your baby’s snack time, and the cost difference is negligible when you consider your baby’s health is in question.
Cheerios Says that Cheerios is a Healthy Snack
It’s all about who you ask really, and of course the Cheerios website says that Cheerios is a healthy snack, and even shows a parent holding their child that apparently is eating a Cheerio. But it’s well-documented that these food companies will use clever wording and do their best to stay just within the legal limits of what they can say about their product, including sneaking in additives but referring to them as “natural flavoring”.