There’s A Cereal Killer On The Loose

My friend and her very adorable baby were visiting me recently, and when we get together I always learn something new about the wonderful world of parenting.

This tidbit is worth sharing: my friend’s pediatrician has advised against giving the baby Cheerios. I was dumbfounded. I mean, every parent I’ve ever known gives their kids little plastic containers of Cheerios to carry around at all times. Really, I thought that’s what separated us from the lower primates. Whole grains, little Os, what could be wrong with that?

Bowl-Of-Cereal

So you’re going to love this. The problem with Cheerios, according to my friend’s pediatrician, is that they are a “gateway cereal.” Huh? A “gateway cereal?” Yes, apparently Cheerios are just the starter pack; the introductory level to much more serious and dangerous cereals. So one minute your adorable toddler is shoving handfuls of Cheerios into her mouth, and the next thing you know she’s huffing Count Chocula behind a dumpster in a seedy part of town.

From there it’s just a matter of time until your little sugar junkie will be stealing your car keys and peeling off into the night to do some serious Dairy Queen with her friends. I’m talking about that hard chocolate shell stuff, folks. She’ll need a fix, and she’ll need it bad.

Look, I get it. We’re the most obese country in the world; Americans love their sugary, fatty, processed foods. I myself am an enthusiastic consumer of native food such as M&Ms. But I think the Food Police are getting a little out of hand now. I understand moderation in the sense that I’ve seen other people practice it. I’ve also known people who will eat nothing but organic sheafs of whole wheat washed down with kale juice, and they do it with an annoyingly superior attitude. That’s just as extreme as living on milk chocolate and diet soda, right?

As a country, we’ve been through one nutritional fad after another. When I was a kid, everyone seemed to think margarine was the answer to all our problems. Yep, ditch the butter and pick up the poly-un-re-double-saturated dairy-free oil combined with modern chemicals, and bam! Good to go. Well, it turns out nobody knows what exactly is in margarine, but whatever it is, it ain’t good.

Bread has been bad for us, then good for us, then bad, then good again through countless cycles. Now there’s just a complex set of instructions for finding bread that is really made from whole grains. I can’t keep up with it all, so if it tastes good, I assume it’s bad for me. Eggs too were good, then bad, then good again. We thought for a while that soy was the answer to all our problems, but alas the jury is still out on soy. I enjoy almond milk, so there is no question that will turn out to be bad eventually.

And gluten…when did gluten turn in to something bad? I didn’t get the memo. I like gluten, as far as I know. Isn’t that what makes the tasteless cardboard bread at least chewy? Ultimately none of it matters, because we’re all eating genetically modified mutant food that looks like what we used to eat, but isn’t even close.

But this is it. This is where I draw the line in the sand. At Cheerios. Because if good, honest, hard-working Americans can no longer safely feed their children Cheerios, what’s the point of it all?

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16 Responses to There’s A Cereal Killer On The Loose

  1. Julie Hicks says:

    Cheerios a “gateway cereal”? What will they think of next!?! I’m trying to remember if I ever fed my kids cheerios, and I’m thinking “nope, don’t like them myself, so I probably never served them to my babies”. But it had nothing to do with avoiding a “gateway” food. Good for mom’s who can think that clearly when they’re not exhausted from crying babies, chasing toddlers, changing diapers, trying to scrub that kook-aid stain out of the carpet, and all the while dying for 8 hours of sleep!

  2. I love your humor and the way you write! 🙂

  3. Debi says:

    We get a good laugh every night before feeding Olivia her organic avacado by giving her a handful of “junk food” (aka Cheerios)! We actually tried some quinoa, the suggested alternative, and she wanted nothing to do with it. We have already ruined her!

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      When Olivia writes her tell-all book, I’m sure she’ll note that her parents sustained her on nothing but junk food!

  4. Lisa says:

    Sometimes i eat cheerios when i am by myself. Sometimes i eat cheerios before i go out for breakfast. Sometimes i have more than one bowl. I can stop eating cheerios anytime i want, i just don’t want to. I shop at more than one grocery store.

  5. Lisa says:

    I apologize for getting serious on you all, but don’t get in the way of me and my cheerios.

  6. Lisa says:

    I keep trying to think of something clever, but i can’t, Because the idea is absurd. It is true that cheerios, if given to a young child as their first cereal will be, by definition, a “gateway” cereal to every cereal eaten after that (unless no other cereals are given). In the case of jill’s perfect niece and nephews, plain whole oat cheerios were the “gateway” cereal for a lifetime of eating “healthy, non-sugar covered” cereal. I know it’s anecdotal, but that is how it worked out for us. I would not hesitate to give my grandchildren whole oat cheerios. Recently, aubrey thanked me for helping her to establish healthy eating habits by not giving her sugar covered cereal while growing up in our house.

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      I always thought my perfect niece and nephews had the perfect balance of healthy habits without being insanely restrictive. Really if I could live with you for a year either I would lose weight or you would put some on (Isaac’s spoon cake)

  7. Paul S says:

    What a load of crap! Our Moms drank and smoked and look how perfect we are. Don’t get me started on my rant about Pre-natal vitamins. I believe they’re at root cause of everything bad kids are being born with today – ADD, ADHD, and peanut allergies! Seriously, why are all kids today allergic to peanuts? And birthing at 12 lb baby can’t be easy either.

  8. mimijk says:

    Damn….something else for moms of a certain generation to feel guilty about – I turned my kids onto Cheerios!! Oy, the therapy bills are going to be ridiculous. I’m going to eat a Twinkie..

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      Twinkies could be the antidote! Have your boys eat two Twinkies, followed by a Devil Dog, washed down with whole chocolate milk. It’s the old fake-out double reverse undo button!

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