All Sugared Up: The Best And Worst Breakfast Cereals For Kids

All Sugared Up: The Best And Worst Breakfast Cereals For Kids

This week is National School Breakfast Week, a time for parents to review their children’s breakfast choices and get them starting the day with a nutritious meal.

Between getting your kids up, dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed and ready for the bus or drive to school, weekday mornings are hard enough on parents that getting your kids to sit down and eat breakfast can be nothing short of a small miracle. But not all breakfasts are made the same, and cereal – a breakfast favorite for many children – can run from a healthy meal to a bowl full of sugar.

The Environmental Working Group recently released the results of its analysis of more than 1,500 adult and kid cereals, and while the results aren’t surprising, the sugar content in kids cereal may be for some parents.

The EWG’s study showed that on average, children’s cereal contained 40 percent more sugar than adults’ cereal. In fact, the average serving of kids’ cereal has as much sugar as three Chips Ahoy! Cookies.

“When you exclude obviously sugar-heavy foods like candy, cookies, ice cream, soft and fruit drinks, breakfast cereals are the single greatest source of added sugars in the diets of children under the age of eight,” nutritionist and EWG consultant Dawn Undurraga, co-author of the organization’s new report, Children’s Cereals: Sugar by the Pound, said.

Of the 181 children’s cereals the EWG tested, just 10 met their criteria for “low sugar.” Among those cereals are:

  • Kellogg’s Rice Crispies, Gluten-Free
  • General Mills Cheerios
  • Post 123 Sesame Street, C is for Cereal
  • Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
  • Kellogg’s Rice Crispies
  • Kellogg’s Crispex Cereal

The EWG also recorded a “Hall of Shame” list of sugary cereals:

  • Kellogg’s Honey Smacks
  • Malt-O-Meal Golden Puffs
  • Mom’s Best Cereals Honey-Ful Wheat
  • Malt-O-Meal Berry Colossal Crunch with Marshmallows
  • Post Golden Crisp
  • Grace Instant Green Banana Porridge
  • Blanchard & Blanchard Granola
  • Lieber’s Cocoa Frosted Flakes
  • Lieber’s Honey Ringee Os
  • Food Lion Sugar Frosted Wheat Puffs
  • Krasdale Fruity Circles
  • Safeway Kitchens Silly Circles

To reduce sugar consumption, EWG recommends reading nutrition labels, buying cereals with no more than a teaspoon (equivalent to 4 grams) per serving, preparing unsweetened hot cereals and eating fruit or other whole foods with no added sugar.

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