Choosing the Best Breakfast Cereal for your Kids

Choosing the Best Breakfast Cereal for your Kids

Many of you know our families affinity for cereal!  Although I plan many different breakfast ideas during the week, many mornings, we default to cereal.  Actually, even if I make something.. like pancakes, or waffles, or whatever, Nathan will ALSO eat cereal!  He’s full throttle into the “Eat everything in sight because I’m growing” phase

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There are three things worth considering when choosing a store bought cereal.

  • Amount of sugar (look for cereals with less than 4 grams or 1 tsp per serving)
  • Amount of fiber Kids need 5 grams plus their age in an entire day. So let this number be determined by how many other fiber sources there are.  I like cereals with 3 or more grams of fiber per serving.
  • Presence of whole grains (look for the words whole grain.  If it doesn’t say Whole grain, it is NOT whole grain! Prior post For further discussion of whole wheat labels)

Each is important, and may differ depending on your priorities.

What we choose:  Our priority is low sugar because I feel like we get enough fiber and whole grains from other sources.  We buy lots of Cheerios and my kids love to put plain yogurt and fruit on top rather than milk.

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Consumer reports ranked these cereals as the healthiest:  Cheerios, Kix, Honey Nut cheerios, and Life for being both low in sugar and high in fiber.  Then the article goes on to tell us there is as much sugar in Sugar Smacks as in an entire glazed donut from Dunkin Donuts.  Sugar Smacks and Golden Crisp were more than 50% sugar!  This is a must read article.

A letter I received from the General Mills folks stated 75 % of kids do not get the recommended levels of Vitamin D and calcium.  They have added this to some of their cereals including Kix.  At about 100 calories per serving, they can provide at least 10 of the vital nutrients.

So bottom line is read your labels!! Look for less than 4 grams of sugar, and as much fiber and nutrients you can stuff into your little kids cereal bowls.

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Making cereal delicious:

  • Make Cereal Parfait (as pictured). Cereal, yogurt, berries.
  • Make cereal bars. ( I actually have a “power bar” recipe that uses cereal I’ll have to dig out)
  • Sprinkle soaked wheat on top of cereal
  • Using chocolate milk or other flavored milk
  • Used crushed cereal to add to muffin recipes

Do you have other ways your kids like cereal?

written by
Amy Roskelley

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Comments(12)
Paul says:

I buy a large box of corn flakes or cheerios and mix them with a smaller box of frosted flakes or a cinnamon toast crunch . . . they say they hate it . . . but they do eat it

Amy says:

Dana-
Sorry to laugh, cause I know you are frustrated, but I can’t stop thinking about your donkey routine!! Hilarious!
All I can say is, be the example by eating it yourself. And if it’s something you really want them eating, just keep offering (exposure more than 10 times to get kids accustomed to new foods). Maybe you already have offered it to them that many times. What do they like for breakfast?
I know this is not healthy at all, but I started to like yogurt on my cereal when I was a senior in high school. I ate Captain Crunch with Plain yogurt on top, every single day!

Amy says:

Tia- He still does!
Alisa- It gets expensive, doesn’t it!
Vanessa- really 6 grams! That’s too bad. And actually honey nut cheerios has 9 I think!! Regular cheerios, only 1.
Catherine- I love granola! Plus we have literally 50 lbs of oats!
Christy- I think they are OK for a treat once in awhile. At least they are fortified with some essential vitamins and minerals, so not AS bad as a fruit snack or candy bar!
Julie-anne- you are welcome!

dana says:

i have to tell you that i tried these parfaits for breakfast today! i even did my whole donkey routine from shrek–parfaits may be the most delicious food in the world–they both giggled, said it looked yummy and it was the best breakfast in the world. then they refused to eat it! what gives!? i’m so frustrated with breakfast foods!

Julie Anne says:

Thank you so much for this post!

Christy says:

We eat a lot of cereal in our house. We usually buy Cheerios and Kix, but we do occasionally buy special cereals for snacks. I would not buy them at all, but my husband thinks sweetened cereals are necessary in childhood – this is a battle I can’t seem to win, so they are special treats.

Catherine says:

I also like to make granola (sweetened with honey), as a healthier cereal option. I think it’s cheaper, too, and really easy to make a big batch that lasts a week or two.

Vennesa says:

I try to buy only the healthy cereals, but even some of them have more than 4 grams of sugar. Life has 6 grams. What we do is mix cereals. I’ll let them have Honey Bunches of Oats, but they mix it with another cereal of their choice that’s healthier, like Cheerios. My 5 year old will mix 3 kinds together and then add raisins.

My son’s like that too, he’s too active and eats like a horse. We had to make sure he’s eating right 🙂

Tia says:

Watch out – when Wade went through that phase he would come home and make 4 peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches as a snack!

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