Navigating the Nutrition Maze: Cereal Killers

When I’m hungry for a snack, few things can satiate my hunger like sweet, crunchy breakfast cereal with cold milk poured over the top. Unfortunately, many breakfast cereals that are rich in taste are quite poor in nutrition. In fact, many of them are so awful that it might be more apt to title this post Killer Cereals instead of Cereal Killers.

Cereal Killers | Many boxed breakfast cereals are rich in taste but poor in nutrition. Are there healthy alternatives that rival the affordability and convenience of cereals?

Boxed cereals and nutrition

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 1 cup of any of 3 popular children’s cereals (Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisp, and General Mills Wheaties Fuel) contains more sugar than a Twinkie. One cup of any of 44 children’s cereals (including Honey Nut Cheerios, Apple Jacks, and Cap’n Crunch) contains more sugar than 3 Chips Ahoy! cookies.

Worst Childrens Cereals

Data from

In addition to all that sugar, most breakfast cereals contain food dyes. Food dyes are among the most poorly researched ingredients placed in processed foods today (the FDA does not require manufactures to prove food dyes are safe, they only have to show evidence that establishes with “reasonable certainly” that harm will not result from the color additives). Researchers and health officials are becoming increasingly concerned that various food dyes allowed in foods may be carcinogenic, genotoxic, and neurotoxic (you can read more about these concerns here). The dearth of research on food dyes means these suspicions cannot be conclusively confirmed or denied. What’s irrefutable is this: Food dyes are inessential. They influence the cosmetic appeal of foods, but nothing more.

There are additional concerns associated with the nutritional value of boxed breakfast cereals, but I won’t delve further into them because they have been discussed at length by others (see the two links provided above and visit the Cereal FACTS and Kitchen Stewardship websites for more information).

Affordable, convenient alternatives to boxed cereals

There are plenty of alternatives to boxed breakfast cereals but many of them lack two of the greatest draws of the cereals: convenience and affordability. Generic cereals cost around $0.16 per serving and all the preparation they require is tipping over a box and splashing some milk. Are there affordable and convenient alternatives that can be a death knell for breakfast cereals in your home?




Yogurt, fruits, and smoothies

If you’d like even more ideas, check out OF THE HEARTH’s Pinterest page.

Despite our enjoyment of boxed breakfast cereals, my husband and I have begun using more of these alternatives. Had you considered the nutritional value of boxed breakfast cereals before? Did it surprise you that there’s so much sugar in many of them? What convenient, affordable foods do you serve for breakfast instead of cereal?

Shared on the following link-ups:

Women Living Well, Thrive @ Home, Welcome Home Wednesday, Encourage One Another, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sday & T.G.I.F.


  1. Thanks for including my sweet potato biscuits in your round up– the raw dough freezes well which adds to the convenience. In our house other favorites are slow cooker oatmeal and yogurt with the granola. I love your round up; it’s so full of many other great ideas to try.

    • I was pleased to come across your recipe. Thanks for sharing that the dough freezes well. You’re right–it makes them even more convenient!

  2. What a great collection of healthy breakfast choices. I will need to check out some of the links you included. I agree with you that most cereals are unhealthy too. Thanks for compiling all this helpful info.

    • You’re welcome, Gail. I was in need of more ideas, so compiling the list was helpful to me. I’ve only tried a couple of them, but I’ll be trying more in the coming weeks.

  3. I love this list of healthy breakfasts 🙂

    • I’ve been cooking my way through the list, Rose. Try some, if you haven’t. I’ve enjoyed several of them!

  4. I am so thankful for your post. It is refreshing to see that others are waking up and making changes to their diet. Thank you for these recipes. I can’t wait to try something new!

    • Hi Rebecca,
      Change isn’t easy, but I think we’re actually feeling refreshed as we make the changes. We’re enjoying several of the recipes. I think you will, too!

  5. This is a great post!! Thank you for sharing it with other busy Moms! Also, I am so glad you shared it on the Link-Up at DRAH 🙂 you can’t underestimate the power of information!!!

    • Thanks, Jacqueline. My household is taking baby steps towards healthier eating and we learn something new every step of the way. I am happy to share these things!
      I always learn great things from other posts I see linked at DRAH, too.

If this is your first time commenting or if something in your text triggers a spam filter, then your comment will be held for moderation and will not be visible immediately. It will be visible as soon as I am able to approve it. Thanks for joining in the conversation!


  1. […] you tried any of the recipes featured in the Cereal Killers post? I’ve been trying (and enjoying!) many of them. I don’t always have all of the necessary […]

  2. […] “choose carefully” (here and here) to “cereal is toxic” (here, here, and here).  A Calorie Counter has a page where you can check the nutrition of your favorite cereal.  (This […]

Join the Conversation