Not every food that sounds healthy for a child is as good as it appears. By Carolyn Williams, M.Ed., R.D.
It’s hard to find a cereal today that doesn’t have the words “whole grain” printed front and center in bright letters. But adding some whole grain flour to chocolate puffs and rainbow-colored loops doesn’t make the cereal a nutritional all-star. Many cereals actually only have a small amount of whole grains in them and still contain the same amount of added sugar that they’ve always had. So how do you decipher what’s really a nutritious breakfast choice? First, look at the ingredient list. You want whole grains like whole wheat flour, oats, rye, or barley to be among first few ingredients listed. Make sure that sweeteners like sugar, corn syrup, and honey are towards the end of the list. Next, look at the nutrition facts. Try to choose a cereal with less than 3 grams of fat and at least 3 grams of protein and fiber per serving.