Check out these cereal packages showing what’s really in the box

“Mommy, Mommy- I have good news! Trix is part of a balanced breakfast! “. I remember these words like it was yesterday but, in fact, it was many years ago when my older daughter excitedly ran into the kitchen to inform me of this newly discovered information. She had been watching cartoons and saw a commercial about a sugar-laden cereal, one that she had asked me to buy on numerous occasions. She knew our thoughts on the makings of a balanced breakfast but suddenly she had hope that there had been a remarkable turnaround: sugary cereals could now be part of her breakfast menu.

And so began my daughter’s first lesson on food marketing.

Well finally, Health Canada is proposing to make changes which may put a stop to children’s nagging of their parents to buy assorted food products. Read their recently released proposals, the Consultation Report: Restricting Marketing of Unhealthy Food and Beverages to Children in Canada  here. They include a ban on “child‐directed” marketing on television includes all unhealthy food and beverage marketing aired, on weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on weekends between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.” along with “child‐directed” marketing on the internet includes all unhealthy food and beverage marketing on websites, platforms and apps that are popular with children, even when these digital channels are intended for adults as well.

This type of ban has been in place in Quebec for decades and has yielded remarkable results. Kids in Quebec eat far less fast food than youngsters across the country while, at the same time, they’re at a healthier bodyweight and eat more fruits and vegetables than other children across Canada.

You have to wonder why it has taken so long for the rest of Canada. But actually the reasons are pretty obvious. The food and beverage industry has been fighting this tooth and nail. Hopefully as the battle wages, a clear winner will emerge – our kids.

In the meantime,  check out some cereal boxes I recently came across while on holiday. They’re part of  artist Ron English’s series called  Cereal Killers – warnings about the sugar content of these products aimed at children. I would have  liked to say, “Enjoy” but the black humour reveals unfortunate truths.


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Categories: Children's Health, Nutrition News

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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