fbpx

10 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals for Kids

|

When I posted 10 Breakfast Cereals to Avoid I seemed to have suffered a sugar flashback; and the 1970s-swank, Henry Mancini jingle for Pink Panther Flakes has been stuck in my head ever since. The fuchsia frosted flakes were painfully pink and shamefully sweet, and thankfully, haven’t been seen for several decades–but what an enduring testament to marketing for kids and the girl-pleasing power of pink sugar! Today’s sock-it-to-you-with-the-sweet cereals aren’t much better, as evidenced by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity’s report on cereal nutrition–but at least some healthier options do exist.

Reading the report’s list of most nutritious cereals, I didn’t expect to find products made by the same companies responsible for some of the shady cereals which ranked as most egregious, but sure enough, there they were. This goes to show that some of these companies are indeed making healthier options, they’re just not pushing them as diligently. Cereal companies spend more money than any other packaged food category in marketing their products to children ($229 million a year), which is why we may be more familiar with Post Fruity Pebbles, one of the worst offenders, than Post Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Wheat ‘n Bran, one of the best cereal choices.

Although within each brand there is a wide range, Kashi ranks as the best brand overall in terms of ingredients, according to the report. If you don’t see a cereal you eat in this list (number 1 being the healthiest), you can check the Rudd Center’s database.

10. Nature’s Path: Synergy 8 Whole Grains

Nutritional Score: 78
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 13%
Fiber Content: 17%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

9. Kashi: Shredded Wheat – Autumn Wheat

Nutritional Score: 78
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 13%
Fiber Content: 11%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

8. General Mills: Fiber One – Original (bran)

Nutritional Score: 78
Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 0%
Fiber Content: 47%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 350

7. Uncle Sam: Uncle Sam

Nutritional Score: 78
Artificial Sweeteners:  No
Artificial Food Dyes:  No
Sugar Content: 2%
Fiber Content: 18%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 245

6. Kellogg: Mini-Wheats – Unfrosted/Bite Size

Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners:  No
Artificial Food Dyes:  No
Sugar Content: 2%
Fiber Content: 10%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 17

5. Post: Shredded Wheat – Spoon Size Wheat ‘n Bran

Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners:  No
Artificial Food Dyes:  No
Sugar Content: 2%
Fiber Content: 14%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

4. Kashi: Puffs – 7 Whole Grains Puffs

Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners:  No
Artificial Food Dyes:  No
Sugar Content: 0%
Fiber Content: 5%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

3. Barbara’s Bakery: Shredded Wheat

Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 0%
Fiber Content: 12%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

2. Post: Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Original

Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners:  No
Artificial Food Dyes:  No
Sugar Content: 0%
Fiber Content: 12%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

1. Post:  Shredded Wheat Original

Nutritional Score: 82
Artificial Sweeteners:  No
Artificial Food Dyes:  No
Sugar Content: 0%
Fiber Content: 13%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0

Do you eat cereal, and if so, is yours on the list? If you don’t eat packaged cereal for breakfast, what do you eat? Share in the comments.

Homemade Granola Recipe

I never really considered myself the type to make food gifts, until I started a mental inventory of the kind of gifts I have given as an adult. Let’s see, there was the year of the red and green star-shaped ravioli, then there was the fancy fetuccine, followed by an array of mustards, flavored oils, herb and fruit vinegars, hot sauces, brownies, barbecue sauces, cookies, candied flower petals, vanilla extract, preserved lemons, flavored sugars, pestos, flower-infused honeys, spiced nuts, etc.–so, yeah, 15 years, at the very least, of homemade food gifts.

Some of them were great (I think) while some of them were misses (I know). Some of them were not well-planned (the shipping cost for the big jars of juicy preserved lemons was so outrageous that I scrapped the plan and ate preserved lemons with everything for months). I still find some of the gifts (blueberry vinegar, Tahitian vanilla extract) lurking in the back of my mom’s pantry when I’m cooking at her house. Some of them have undoubtedly ended up in the garbage, while recently a friend told me that his mom still has the unopened hot pepper olive oil decoratively on the counter by her sink–the same place it’s been for the past 14 years. But I think (hope) for the most part, the gifts have been consumed.

Which is one of things I love about food gifts–even if the recipient doesn’t jump up and down about it, the gift usually gets used, and it’s almost always appreciated (or so it seems). And worst case scenario, they dump out a dollar’s worth of food, keep the nice jar, and know that I put some time and love into their gift.

So what am I (not the type to give homemade food gifts) giving for presents this year? (Spoiler alert.) Homemade granola. I don’t know if everyone loves granola–but if they don’t, they should. (So there.) I’ve adapted a Nigella Lawson recipe that she borrowed from a Connecticut shop called The Pantry.

I have bought a pack of tin tie, one-pound, airtight, craft paper coffee bags (only 18 cents each!) to house it in. (If you’re not shipping them, recycled glass jars are a nice choice as well.) I’ll make labels, pack them up cutely, and send them off. And maybe I’ll find a bag of it in the back of my mom’s fridge next visit–but at least I’ll know that it meant enough to her that she didn’t toss it in the garbage, and I’ll have something to eat for breakfast. So here’s the recipe.

INGREDIENTS
4.5 cups rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cups white sesame seeds
3/4 cups apple sauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey (or agave syrup for vegans)
3/4 cup organic light brown sugar (or Sucanat)
2 cups whole almonds
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 cups dried cherries (I’m using a mix of Bing and tart)

1. Preheat oven to 325F. In a large mixing bowl, mix everything together except the cherries.

2. Spread the mixture out on two large baking sheets and place in oven.

3. Several times during baking, use a spatula to stir the mix around to ensure even baking.

4. Bake until granola is evenly golden–anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes, depending on your oven.

5. Let cool, stir in cherries, and store in airtight bags or containers.

Makes approximately 10 cups.

Previous

10 Breakfast Cereals to Avoid

How to Remove Urine Stains & Smell from Mattresses

Next

Leave a Comment