Best & Worst Children's Cereals

Kids ™ Cereals Pack More Sugar Than Twinkies and Cookies

Parents have good reason to worry about the sugar content of children's breakfast cereals, according to an Environmental Working Group review of 84 popular brands.

Kellogg's Honey Smacks, at nearly 56 percent sugar by weight, leads the list of the 10 worst children's cereals, according to EWG's analysis. In fact, a one-cup serving of the brand packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie, and one cup of any of the 44 other children's cereals has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies.

What?!   And my kids think I’m mean for telling them they can’t have cookies for breakfast!

Studies suggest that children who eat breakfasts that are high in sugar have more problems at school. They become more frustrated and have a harder time working independently than kids who eat lower-sugar breakfasts. By lunchtime they have less energy, are hungrier, show attention deficits and make more mistakes on their work.

She Is Dallas Info: The research and analysis stated here was performed by the Environmental Working Group.   They compared nutrition labels for 84 children’s cereals.   Check out the full report for a list of all cereals analyzed in this study.

10 Worst Children’s Cereals (Percentages next to cereal name show the percent sugar by weight)

  1. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks 55.6%
  2. Post Golden Crisp 51.9%
  3. Kellogg’s Froot Loops Marshmallow 48.3%
  4. Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s OOPS! All Berries 46.9%
  5. Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original 44.4%
  6. Quaker Oats Oh!s 44.4%
  7. Kellogg’s Smorz 43.3%
  8. Kellogg’s Apple Jacks 42.9%
  9. Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries 42.3%
  10. Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original 41.4%

Best Children’s Cereals

All cereals on this list pass proposed federal guidelines on sugar, sodium, fat and whole-grain content. They are free of artificial flavors, colors and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose.

  • Ambrosial Granola
  • Go Raw
  • Grandy Oats
  • Kaia Foods
  • Laughing Giraffe
  • Lydia’s Organic
  • Nature’s Path Organics


6 Good Big-Brand Children’s Cereals

These meet nutrition guidelines and are easy to find but may include ingredients that are genetically modified or grown with pesticides:

  • Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats:   Unfrosted Bite- Size
  • Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats: Frosted Big Bite
  • Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats: Frosted Bite-Size
  • Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats: Frosted Little Bite
  • General Mills Cheerios Original
  • General Mills Kix Original


Some cereals are better than others. Nutrition expert Marion Nestle recommends:

  1. Cereals with a short ingredient list (added vitamins and minerals are okay).
  2. Cereals high in fiber.
  3. Cereals with little or no added sugars (added sugars are ingredients such as honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, brown sugar, corn sweetener, sucrose, lactose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup and malt syrup).

Among the best simple-to-prepare breakfasts for children are fresh fruit and high-fiber, lower-sugar cereals. Better yet, pair fruit with homemade oatmeal.

And save the Honey Smacks for their dessert if they clean their dinner plate!


  1. Wow! I had no idea that Honey Nut Cheerios had so much sugar. Thanks for the info!

  2. I have to admit- (although I know it’s bad) that I’m glad that Frosted Flakes didn’t make the list. My kids get to pick out one “bad” cereal before Christmas break and before summer and they always want that.

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