Serving up the truth on breakfast cereals with the Health Star Rating system

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Parents who fear being fooled by clever packaging and baseless nutritional claims can now easily identify the healthiest breakfast cereals to serve up to their kids. A new government-approved rating system is ensuring a quick glance at the front of a cereal box will provide vital information on its nutritional profile. And for those of us feeling guilty, you may be pleasantly surprised at how some of your children’s favourite cereals stack up.

As parents we do carry constant guilt, particularly about what our children do and don’t eat. The start to any day for a child is incredibly important. They need enough fuel to kick start their bodies and minds, and keep them going until lunch. But there’s usually precious little time to whip up what we may deem as the ultimate, healthy, nutritionally-balanced, organic, protein-rich, fibre-dense start to the day. More often than not, we reach for the cereal, and give ourselves a guilt trip. But is all cereal bad for kids? Thankfully, the answer is no.

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A combination of the Australian, state and territory governments, along with the food industry, public health and consumer groups have developed a simple way to decipher the nutritional profile of packaged foods. At a glance you’re able to see how healthy the food product is. In essence, the Health Star Rating system is a simple way to sort the wheat from the chaff (pardon the pun), when it comes to choosing the cereal that best serves our children’s needs. The more stars, the healthier the cereal, based on a rating maximum of five stars.

The system cuts through the scepticism many parents have on the nutritional claims made by some cereal manufacturers. It’s a no-nonsense, one-glance indication of what you are feeding your kids. And one of Australia’s favourite brands, Uncle Tobys, has welcomed the rating system, as it boasts Australia’s largest range of four-star-plus breakfast cereals.

Uncle Tobys has also made it really easy to be prepared before heading to the supermarket. If you’re keen to see what star rating your kids’ favourite cereal is, just head to Uncle Tobys, select the cereal and it will tell you how many stars it has. It’s important to note that the Health Star Rating system, which began rolling out late last year, is voluntary. So brands like Uncle Tobys are putting their claims and reputations to the test.

Under the system, cereal is given its star rating based on energy (kilojoules), risk nutrients (saturated fat, salt and sugars) and positive nutrients (dietary fibre, protein the proportion of fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content).

The Health Star Rating system is a guiding hands for busy parents trying to do the best by their kids – which is pretty much all of us, isn’t it?

(This is a sponsored post for Uncle Tobys)

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