By Nick Katsarelas
I’ll admit that as the family’s grocery shopper, I wasn’t as vigilant as I could have been when selecting cereals. It started out innocently enough, when the kids – who had been on a steady diet of Total and Honey Nut Cheerios – talked me into Frosted Flakes. And Lucky Charms. And Cap’n Crunch. Every so often I’d buy what I thought was the good stuff, like Raisin Bran and Start Smart. But if it didn’t taste like candy in a box, the kids weren’t buying it.
Of the six or seven cereals in our kitchen cabinets, only one – Grape Nuts, which only I eat – is on healthy cereals lists compiled separately by Real Fitness blog, Livestrong.com, and WebMD. Based on calories, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and sugar, one cereal – Go! Lean Crunch – appears on all three lists. Those that were listed by at least one site were, in no particular order:
Rice Krispies Total Fiber One Honey Clusters
Grape Nuts Kix Oatmeal Squares
Puffed Wheat Cheerios Special K Protein Plus
Rice Chex Shredded Wheat Fiber One Bran
The worst in terms of sugar content were Golden Crisps and Honey Smacks, which are more than 50% sugar. Others topping the list were Cocoa Puffs (47%) and Fruit Loops (45%). Compare these figures with Life (19%) and Kix (9%), and Cheerios (4%).
How did my cereals stack up? Raisin Bran and Start Smart were listed among the worst cereals in terms of overall nutritional value and sugar content. And ranking them solely on sugar content, the worst offender was my favorite, Cap’n Crunch, which is 44% sugar, followed by Lucky Charms (43%) and Frosted Flakes (39%). Lowest on the list was Special K at 13% sugar.
So I’ll allow the family to finish off the cereals we currently have. Then I’ll take them shopping with a directive that they can choose among the healthier cereals.
Because we should be eating from cereal bowls. Not sugar bowls.