Did you know Wednesday was National Cereal Day? Pretty sweet, huh! Sorry I didn’t tell you in time to celebrate. Next year…mark it on your calendar.
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But someone’s gotta get the word out.
So here’s the deal. Have your kids ever asked for cookies for breakfast? Or maybe the leftover cake from their birthday party? I’m guessing you said no. But guess what…many children’s cereals have just as much sugar as dessert. And sometimes more!
EWG reviewed 84 popular cereal brands.
Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, at nearly 56 percent sugar by weight, leads the list of high-sugar cereals, according to EWG’s analysis. A one-cup serving of Honey Smacks packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie, and one cup of any of 44 other children’s cereals has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies.
One cup of any of three popular children’s cereals contains more sugar than a twinkie: Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, Post Golden crisp, and General Mills Wheaties Fuel.
One cup of any of 44 children’s cereals – including Honey Nut Cheerios, Apple Jacks, and Cap’n Crunch – contains more sugar than 3 chips ahoy! cookies.
A box of Post Golden Crisp has more than one cup of sugar for 15 servings. A batch of 30 homemade sugar cookies only requires one cup of sugar.
10 Worst Children’s Cereals (based on percent sugar by weight)
Kellogg’s Honey Smacks 55.6%
Post Golden Crisp 51.9%
Kellogg’s Froot Loops Marshmallow 48.3%
Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s OOPS! All Berries 46.9%
Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original 44.4%
Quaker Oats Oh!s 44.4%
Kellogg’s Smorz 43.3%
Kellogg’s Apple Jacks 42.9%
Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries 42.3%
Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original 41.4%
EWG did offer steps on how to get a healthy breakfast into your kids, in place of those sugary cereals.
1. Avoid cereals that don’t meet nutritional guidelines. This can include too much sugar, too much sodium, too much fat, not enough fiber, or not made of whole grains.
2. Choose healthy cereals. Of the big brands, Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats: Unfrosted Bite-Size, Frosted Big Bite, Frosted Bite-Size, Frosted Little Bite
General Mills Cheerios Original, and General Mills Kix Original meet guidelines. Nature’s Path Organic also offers great options such as: Optimum Banana
Almond, Optimum Cranberry Ginger, Corn Puffs, Kamut Puffs, Millet Puffs, and Rice Puffs.
3. Look for three things on cereal labels. Short ingredient list, high in fiber, and cereals with few or no added sugars and colors.
4. Make a good breakfast at home. This can include oatmeal, fruits smoothies, green smoothies, eggs (scrambled, omelet, hard-boiled)
5. Follow three steps for a healthy breakfast. Foods with fiber or protein will sustain your child until the next meal or snack. Include a serving of seasonal fresh fruit or vegetables (frozen works as well). Skip the fruit juice—just eat the fruit!
The take-away? A sugary cereal every now and then won’t kill you. But to be eating that every day can really effect your child’s ability to work in school, stay energized, and have a healthy diet. So be aware of what is that box you pull of the shelf, and consider making some healthy switches.