10 Worst Breakfast Cereals for Kids

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, making sure kids get a healthy start is a priority. Today’s breakfast cereals run the gamut from heart-healthy, high-fiber bran, to sugary treats that could be called dessert. Did you know that some popular kids’ breakfast cereals are almost 50% sugar? A close look at the nutrition facts of General Mills and Kellogg’s cereals reveals some startling numbers. Here are some of the worst* breakfast cereals for kids:

*“Worst” for this analysis is classified as cereal with more than a 30% sugar content and less than 3 grams of fiber per serving.

#10: General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch: 34 % sugar
Over a third of this popular kids’ cereal is made entirely of sugar, which means kids are eating about 10 grams of sugar and a measly 1 gram of fiber per ¾ serving. This breakfast cereal is available in a reduced sugar version that clocks in with just 2 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber, but is heavily sweetened with Splenda artificial sweetener which may not be healthy for kids with food sensitivities or allergies.

#9: Frosted Rice Krispies: 39% sugar
Made with rice, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup, Frosted Rice Krispies will deliver an instant energy boost followed by a major crash. Kids are getting 12 grams of sugar from a ¾ cup serving, and zero grams of fiber. While the cereal will definitely wake them up in the morning, it offers very little nutritive value.

#8: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes: 39% sugar
This popular sugar-topped cereal contains 11 grams of sugar per serving, and is made with high fructose corn syrup which is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and may be linked to hyperactivity. While Frosted Flakes are fat free and low in sodium, they only contain 1 gram of fiber and 1 gram of protein. Ultimately, this cereal is just plain carbohydrate from corn and sugar.

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#7: Reese’s Puffs: 40% sugar
A ¾ cup serving (smaller than your fist) of this chocolate-peanut butter treat contains 12 grams of sugar and is made primarily with real sugar, corn and peanut butter. It’s not a healthy choice for kids who need to keep fat at a minimum, because the ¾ cup serving also contains 3 grams of fat (0.5 grams of which are saturated fat). Even though the puffs are made with corn, there are also traces of wheat in this product, so they are a definite ‘no’ for kids with wheat allergies.

#6: General Mills Apple Cinnamon Cheerios: 42% sugar
One serving of Apple Cinnamon Cheerio’s contains 12 grams of sugar and just 1 gram of fiber. Even though this cereal is made with heart-healthy whole grain oats, it also contains corn syrup, brown sugar and white sugar. A healthier option would be plain oatmeal topped with real cinnamon and a few chunks of fresh apple mixed in.

#5: Kellogg’s Apple Jacks: 42% sugar
It’s flavored with apple juice and cinnamon, but Kellogg’s Apple Jacks is also chock full of sugar. The first ingredient in this cereal is sugar, followed by corn flour, wheat flour and oat flour. One cup of Apple Jacks contains 12 grams of sugar and 0.5 gram of fat. It’s also low in fiber and protein.

#4: Trix: 43% sugar
Trix are for kids…on their way to poor nutrition. Those fruity flavors are made entirely out of whole grain corn, sugar and corn syrup, and 1 cup of the sugary cereal contains 12 grams of sugar. The low fiber count and 1 gram of protein per serving offer little nutritive value for kids who need a more substantial breakfast.

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#3: Kellogg’s Smorz Cereal: 43% sugar
Graham cracker pieces, marshmallow bits and chocolate sound like an ice cream concoction, and dessert may be just what kids are getting when they reach for a serving of Kellogg’s Smorz One cup of this cereal contains 13 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fat.

#2: Kellogg’s Froot Loops: 45% sugar
The first ingredient is sugar because nearly half of the cereal is made of the sweet stuff. Kellogg’s Froot Loops contain 12 grams of sugar per one cup serving, and have less than 1 gram of fiber. They may be a sweet start to your kids’ day, but the sugar high will only last a couple of hours before they’re hungry again.

#1: General Mills Cocoa Puffs: 47% sugar
Perhaps one of the worst of the pack, General Mills Cocoa Puffs cereal is almost 50% sugar. This chocolaty treat may belong on the dessert table with its empty calories and low nutritive value. Each ¾ cup serving contains 12 grams of sugar and 1.5 grams of fat. The cereal is made with whole grain corn, sugar, corn syrup and cocoa, and is sure to put your kids on the sugar rollercoaster in no time flat.