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Kid's Cereals: A Sugary Explosion!

by ADMIN on MAY 23, 2012

Last year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) came out with a report on the amount of sugar in children’s breakfast cereals.

Of course we all know that there is sugar in those dyed, sugary grains… but the numbers are simply staggering!

The Culprits


Topping the list of cereal misfits is Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, which is about 56 percent sugar by weight. That means over half the cereal is made of sugar!

In fact, the EWG states that a one cup serving of Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisp, or General Mills Wheaties Fuel has more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie.

We could be feeding our kids the equivalent of a Twinkie for breakfast! Insane.

One cereal that really took me by surprise is Honey Nut Cheerios. It has more grams of sugar than 3 Chips Ahoy cookies (12g vs 11g). As does Apple Jacks and Cap’n Crunch.

If you want to see the top 44 sugar-laden cereals to avoid, check them out here.


Sugar isn’t the only problem with kid’s cereals. It turns out that these breakfast foods are a hidden source of sodium as well. Some brands have more added salt than a serving of potato chips!

One cup of General Mills Wheat Chex has 252 mg of sodium, while 1 serving of Fritos has 110mg of sodium. Both Ruffle’s and Fat Free Pringles Original have 160mg.

Better Choices

So what should you look for when choosing a good-for-you cereal?

  1. At least 3 grams of Fiber per serving (but more than 4 grams is best!)

  2. Cereals with whole grains as the first ingredient

  3. Less than 8 grams of sugar per serving (but less than 5 grams is best!)

  4. Few or no added Sugars, including honey, brown sugar, brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrate, molasses, sucrose, corn sweetener, malt syrup, and especially no high fructose corn syrup!

  5. 30 grams of Total Carbohydrates or less

Many of these cereals that fit this criteria are found on the top shelf of the cereal aisle. And are typically less expensive. Score!

These healthier cereals may not be as appealing as the more sugary ones, so here are some ways to jazz them up:

  • Mix a healthy cereal with a ‘yummy’ one: 75% healthy, 25% yummy

  • Add sliced banana or strawberry with a dash of cinnamon

  • Add frozen blueberries or raspberries for delicious, purple, icy milk

  • Eat the cereal dry with 6oz Greek yogurt mixed in and chopped fruit

  • Mix 1/3 raw rolled oats into a fruit smoothie: 1/2 cup frozen berries, 1 banana, 3/4 cup skim milk

Remember: Starting your day without breakfast is like rolling up to the Indy 500 without fuel in your tank… pretty soon you’ll be running on fumes!


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