Chocolate Cheerios, Chocolate Formula, Chocolate ... Broccoli?

Suzanne Murray

chocolate cheeriosI'm not a big fan of cereal in general, but Cheerios have always had a special place in my heart since I ate them as a kid. Plus, it's one of the only popular, processed cereals you can buy that doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup (the majority of kids and even "healthy" adult cereals like Special K do).

So I don't have a complete nervous breakdown when someone offers my toddler a few Cheerios -- seems like they're the "official snack of toddlers everywhere," and I'm cool with that.

Why Chocolate Cheerios? I was shocked to see an ad for them the other day. And it seems I'm way behind the times (obviously I don't frequent the cereal aisle) -- General Mills also sells Frosted Cheerios, Berry Burst Cheerios, and other "fun flavors."

But it's not the only company that's taken a somewhat healthy product for kids and made it um, worse.

Enfamil is now selling Enfagrow toddler formula in chocolate and vanilla flavors. Seriously. According to the site, "As your your child grows from an infant to a toddler, he's probably becoming pickier about what he eats."

On that logic, moms should lace their picky eater's food with chocolate -- chocolate-covered broccoli, chicken and chocolate chips, peas covered in hot fudge.

Sounds ridiculous doesn't it?

Not least because there's a major obesity epidemic in this country (childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years). Health officials and First Lady Michelle Obama are trying to come up with new programs, such as the Let's Move obesity plan, to help kids eat more healthfully and exercise. School lunches are being revamped in many places, fast food toys have been banned in others, and school gardens are cropping up everywhere.

In short, there's a movement underfoot to get our kids to a healthier place, so why are some companies going backward?

Does your kid eat sugary or chocolate cereal? Would you consider adding chocolate or sugar to his veggies?

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