It’s time to get wise to the real contents of the cereal you crave. A brand new study from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) looked at over 1,500 cereals, 180+ of which are marketed specifically to children using cartoons and other advertising. EWG uncovered the not-so-sweet truth about what we are serving our kids:
Sugar makes up an average of 34% of the total calories in a serving of popular children’s cereals. In fact, they contain so much added sugar that anyone who ate a bowl a day for a year would end up consuming 10 pounds or more of sugar from cereal alone!
Watching out for added sugars in the cereals you and your family eat is just another important part of being a Sugar Sleuth. So next time you are choosing a cereal,
Cut the sugar: if you are going to keep cold, boxed cereal in your family’s breakfast line-up, look for varieties that are considered “low-sugar,” meaning that they have 1 ½ teaspoons or less of sugar in each serving. You will know you’re good to go if the sugar content reads 6 grams or fewer on the Nutrition Facts label at the back of the box. Bonus: The new Nutrition Facts labels that the FDA proposed in March will clearly show the amount of added sugars in products like cereal and make it even easier to tell how much sugar is too much.
Look up: the most expensive, sugary cereals marketed towards children tend to be placed at their eye level on grocery store shelves. Check out the higher shelves to find where the cheaper, more nutritious cereals are usually hidden.
Go homemade: the simplest breakfasts are often the quickest to cook and the best to eat. If you are on the go, it does not take much longer to make some unsweetened oatmeal or this raisin granola with some chopped fruit than it does to pour a bowl of cereal. The natural sugars that come from fruit provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals that the empty calories of added, processed sugar can’t beat.
Find out more about which cereals are safest for your family and how to whip up a great breakfast at home with EWG’s top 10 tips for a balanced breakfast.