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

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 ewg.org.

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?


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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.