Will Millennials pass time crunch or breakfast munch on to their kids?

A recent study revealed that some young adults feel that eating cereal for breakfast is too much trouble.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor
Millennials eating and hanging out in a Baltimore cafe, January 13, 2015.

A survey found that Millennials shun the work of making a bowl of cold cereal, so how will they teach their kids to do the work of making healthy eating choices?

Just in time to kick off March as National Nutrition Month, an August 2015 study by the Mintel global market research firm has come back into play for highlighting Millennials' breakfast food choices as hinging more on time savings than nutrition.  

“Almost 40 percent of the millennials surveyed by Mintel for its 2015 report said cereal was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it,” The New York Times reports in a new story about the potential demise of cold breakfast cereal in America.

Also, earlier this month, Kellogg reported a 4 percent decline in its annual US cereal sales and reduced by half its long-term growth projections. Going back further, the sales of Kellogg's morning foods fell 8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, Bloomberg Business reported.

So, would Millennials prefer a breakfast bar or bottled smoothie over doing the dishes? Kellogg has responded with a line of breakfast bars and drinks.

Millennials took to Twitter to debate their choices:

Those seeking to get Millennials and society in general to step up the level of effort being put into consuming a nutritious breakfast view this news as symptomatic of a cascade failing in the generational food chain.

“Society currently stands at a crossroads with two distinct paths facing the next generation. What is going to cause the shift that leads more kids down the healthy path,” asks filmmaker Joe Cross in his new documentary, “The Kids Menu.”

Mr. Cross is screening the new documentary, aimed at Millennials and families, via a series of US appearances starting Monday. A trailer for the film talks about coming to the realization childhood is symptomatic of a lack of knowledge of what healthy foods are; lack of access to healthy, affordable options, “and the influence of negative role models, whether a parent, teacher, or even a celebrity.”

“Millennials aren’t the only ones who prioritize convenience above all else at mealtime,” Cross responds in an email regarding the study. "Everyone is short on time these days and convenience IS a big deal – but convenience food does not have to mean unhealthy food. The trick is making healthy choices more convenient.”

Cross adds, “In The Kids Menu, Dr. Brian Wansink from Cornell University talks about this and shows that having a fruit bowl on the counter makes grabbing an apple more convenient and therefore much more accessible than if it were in a drawer in the fridge, for example."

“Busy parents, harried professionals, sleepy kids – just about everyone is looking for a grab and go solution. However, it doesn’t have to be labor intensive to create a homemade, delicious, nutrient dense meal,” Cross concludes.

Cross offers these tips for fast, healthy homemade smoothies an alternative to bottled, boxed, or bagged quickie breakfasts for all demographics.

“Aim for recipes that aren’t too sweet, with a balance of fruit and veg,” he suggests. “It will take less than 90 seconds to blend up a filling, tasty breakfast (which can also be consumed en route to school or work). Before you zoom out the door, fill your blender with a cup of water, turn it on for 15 seconds and dump it out (or use it to water your plants) before you place it in the dishwasher. That last step will ensure that no handwashing is needed.”

Darya Pino Rose, who has her PhD in neuroscience and is the author of "foodist," writes in an email response, “No matter what the generation, parents need to set an example with their behavior.”

“If a parent gives the impression that it’s too hard to prepare meals, then that's what their children will believe,” Ms. Rose adds. “Parents need to prioritize and demonstrate it’s not too hard to spend time & money on good eating habits. There is plenty of evidence that better eating habits at the dinner table, eating together as a family that they do better in school and life. This habit 100 percent carries on throughout life.”

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