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Health Team

Cereal provides healthy option for parents, kids

Posted December 29, 2015

A bowl of cereal with cold milk is the all-American standby for breakfast.

Now, it's on the menu more than ever before, any time of day or night.

As a collegiate athlete, Kym Greene learned the importance of eating a healthy diet. As a mom, she wants to pass along the same lesson to her kids.

"It's very important to me what my kids put into their bodies," Greene said. "So, having them be a part and having choices, healthy choices, is very, very important."

So, Greene is one of a growing number of moms throwing cereal parties.

Instead of giving kids pizza or chips and soda for snacks or sleepovers, Greene sets up cereal bars, which include fresh fruits and whole grains mixed with low-fat milk and yogurt.

Karen Bakies, a registered dietician with the American Dairy Association, said cereal bars add a new twist to an old favorite.

"It's taking that breakfast cereal, that traditional breakfast meal, and making it fun. And making it the way you want to eat it," Bakies said.

Besides being healthy, Bakies said cereal bars can also be educational because kids will often try new foods and learn to take ownership over their diets.

"I think that when we have choices we're more likely to eat the food that we create, when we can make it and design it ourselves," Bakies said.

Cereal, though, isn't just for kids: Cereal restaurants that cater to adults are opening in some cities.

Recipes call for mixing cereals with spices like mustard, garlic and chili powder.

"You can do a hot cereal or a cold cereal and use some different kinds of herbs," Bakies said. "You can use lemon rind, you can use thyme, you can use mint. You can use different kinds of herbs to infuse the different flavors."

It's a concept Greene appreciates not just for the taste, but also for helping kids form healthy habits whether or not they realize it.

"They love it," Greene said. "They love the yogurt, they love milk."

"I want them to know that their bodies are like machines, and if you don't feed your body well it's not going to work good in school and in sports."

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