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Eating has more choices but healthy is not more is better

Growing up, what our food looked like both on the plate at home and in the grocery stores was completely different. The cereal aisle is a classic example. Not only were there fewer choices (it was more like a section rather than an aisle), but there is now a ridiculous assortment of fu-fu cereal that contains a ridiculous amount of sugar in it. In our house back in the day, it was Shredded Wheat and Cheerios; then Fruit Loops came along and introduced the sugar rush. At least that's how I remember it.

But a quick Google of the history of breakfast cereal says different. According to a real-news article from The New York Times called "A Short History of Breakfast Cereal," it all started in the late1800s with granola appearing as the first breakfast cereal. Then, about a decade at a time (no rush, seemingly, to come up with something new), there came Corn Flakes, Wheaties, and Rice Crispies. In the 1940s Cheerios made its debut, then came the rapid evolution of the unhealthy stuff: Frosted Flakes and Cap'n Crunch, and by the 1970s all the crazy sugar cereals broke through, like Count Chocula, Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Puffs.

Ironically, right around the time the sugar movement was hitting it big, a naturalist named Euell Gibbons was encouraging us to buy Post Grape Nuts and  if we dared  to eat a pine tree. Many parts are edible, ya know. Too little, too late, Euell. The sugar movement had to play out, until folks started noticing obesity rates going up and diabetes and heart problems on the upswing. Of course, the fast-food movement has played a role in all that, as well.

According to another real-news article from the Los Angeles Times dated October 2016, the sale of breakfast cereals is down 17 percent from 2009, although still a $10.6 billion industry.

So back to the grocery store. I remember when I first started shopping  late '70s, early '80s  you could buy a can of whole wheat biscuits. I haven't seen one of those in decades.

Back when my kids were little, I used to buy them strawberry Pop-Tarts. No frosting. They were prominent on the Pop-Tart shelf, and an easy grab. Now the frosted Pop-Tarts are the ones in the big box, and you have to really look for the ones with no frosting.

It's the "more is better" mentality.

Parents really need to pay attention to what eating habits they're creating for their children. When my kids were small, I used to cringe at the amount of sweets we parents would compile for their classroom parties. I would always try to take a fruit tray, but it was no competition for the cupcakes, soda and candy that were there for the taking.

Now my kids are saying they'll never give their kids sweets. Yeah, right. That is much easier said than done. But hopefully by the time they have kids, there will be more options and cooperation from every activity those kids participate in, and every commercially sponsored holiday like Valentine's Day, Easter and Halloween.

It would be lovely if school systems would come up with a reasonable plan to limit those sweets in the classroom. It's not like they don't have their hands full already. Perhaps the PTA could be more vocal in that issue.

It is a conundrum. Toast in the Easter basket doesn't quite have the same effect as a chocolate bunny. Perhaps the key is that less is indeed better than more.

The Lawton Constitution

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