You wouldn’t give your kids a bowl of cookies for breakfast, right? Well, that might be more of a reality than you think.
Some common breakfast cereals contain up to 50% sugar. Of the 27 breakfast cereals tested by Consumer Reports, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks and Post’s Golden Crisps were rated the worst. Honey Smacks contains 15 grams of sugar-the same amount of sugar as 5 Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies and 3 more grams than a Dunkin’ Donuts glazed doughnut. Golden Crisps also contained more sugar than the glazed doughnut, with 14 grams per 3/4 cup serving.Ironically, General Mill’s Cookie Crisp cereal was ranked “Good”
“Very Good” choices were low in sugar and sodium, had some fiber, were high in iron, and were good sources of calcium. The top 4 picks were:
- Cheerios: 1 gram of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 190 mg of sodium
- Kix: 3 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 210 mg of sodium
- Life: 6 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber, and 160 mg of sodium
- Honey Nut Cheerios: 9 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 190 mg of sodium
15 of the cereals were rated as “Good” but it was also noted that there was room for improvement in either their sugar or fiber content. A few from the middle of the pack:
Frosted Flakes (regular and reduced-sugar variety)
Golden Graham’s Honey Graham
Americans are consuming about 15% more added sugars than they did 25 years ago. Over that time period, the percentage of overweight or obese adults has grown from 47% to 66%. During roughly the same time the number of overweight children in the U.S. has doubled.
Consuming sugary breakfast cereals can lead to excess sugar intake and an increase in overall intake. A Yale study showed that children eating low-sugar cereals consumed about 35g per serving on average, where as those consuming high-sugar cereals consumed 61g per serving. Those in the high-sugar group not only consumed more cereal at one time, but consumed almost twice the amount of refined sugar (24.4 vs. 12.5g) in total.
Maybe it’s time to take a second look at your favorite breakfast cereal.
Tips for building a better breakfast:
Power Protein– will help you stay full, focused, and energized until lunch
Whole Grains– the fuel your body and brain need. Whole grains will digest more slowly and also help keep you full and energized longer.
Add some fruit or vegetables– perfect time to get your fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Very easy to grab and go.
Plan ahead– This will reduce the likelihood of grabbing a last-minute unhealthy option
A Few Healthy Options:
- Whole grain english muffin or waffle topped with peanut butter and banana or apple slices
- egg scramble with cheese and your favorite veggies.
- oatmeal made with low-fat/ skim milk and topped with fruit. Add a touch of maple syrup or a pinch of brown sugar to sweeten
- low-fat yogurt (greek yogurt packs more protein) topped with fruit and granola or cereal
- Whole grain muffin, milk, and piece of fruit