Food Showdown: Battle of the Breakfast Cereals


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  171 comments   :  49,490 Views

When I was growing up, my parents kept our pantry stocked with at least five different kinds of cereal, and I spent many a Sunday morning eating it out of a bowl the size of my head while reading the comics. I got smarter about portion control in college, but cereal remained my favorite sweet and crunchy breakfast and late-night studying snack. I would try to gravitate toward healthier, whole-grain varieties, and two of my favorite old standbys were Kashi GoLean Crunch and Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins. These seemed to be good choices, as both of them boasted all-natural ingredients and whole grains. However, despite the health claims that these two cereal boxes tout, both of them still contain some sugar—and one contains much less than the other. Out of these two seemingly healthful cereals, which one is the ultimate low-sugar winner?

The Winner: Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins!


(Source: Flickr)
Despite the healthy-sounding name of the cereal, just one serving of Kashi GoLean Crunch contains 13 grams of sugar—that's over three teaspoons! The Peanut Butter Puffins come out on top with just 6 grams of sugar per serving. However, Kashi GoLean Crunch does have some redeeming qualities: it has 9 grams of protein and 8 grams of dietary fiber, whereas the Puffins only contain 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. For a cereal with maximum protein and fiber with just a touch of sweetness, try Kashi GoLean Original (6 grams of sugar, 13 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fiber per serving). For a high-fiber choice with virtually no sugar, dig into a bowl of plain Shredded Wheat (0.5 to 1 gram of sugar per serving and 6 grams of fiber, depending on the variety).
What's your favorite healthy cereal?

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  • 121
    I don't like sweet cereal. I like the taste and texture of whole grain without any sweetening. Most cereal has sugar hidden in it, but there are a few that don't. - 4/23/2012   7:18:33 AM
  • 120
    I love oatmeal!!! I spice it up with ground cinnamon, add some Chia seed and ground flaxseed and fruit of choice. I also love Shredded Wheat and Cheerios. - 4/23/2012   6:44:53 AM
  • 119
    I vowed I would never eat oatmeal again, after gagging on it thru my childhood. Love dry cereals and feel that Cheerios are not too bad for ya... - 4/23/2012   1:34:32 AM
    Favorite cereal - it's a tie between steel cut oats and shredded wheat! - 4/23/2012   1:28:44 AM
  • 117
    I like the Bob's Red Mill seven grain hot cereal with flaxseed which has one gram of sugar, 6 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein. There are no other added ingredients to these grains. Not even salt. So you probably guessed it no sodium. Great for a heart healthy meal.
    - 4/23/2012   1:24:05 AM
  • 116
    My favorite is Kashi GoLean Crunch, it does help me feel fuller, longer. - 4/23/2012   1:08:12 AM
    My absolute favorite cereal is plain (no sugar) Cheerio's, however, Aldi's Millville Oats are just as good, I think! - 4/23/2012   12:29:49 AM
  • 114
    My favorite cereal at this point is steel cut oatmeal. I add raisins, flaxseed, and molasses to the bowl. - 4/22/2012   9:35:52 PM
  • 113
    This is a very delicious cereal and filling. - 4/22/2012   7:57:00 PM
    I cook oat groats and add a touch of brown sugar for taste and then blueberries or some other small berry or else maple syrup I make myself. - 4/22/2012   6:30:46 PM
    I love just about any cereal, but my favorites are Honey Nut Cheerios and any Special K flavor.
    - 4/22/2012   5:57:48 PM
  • 110
    I personally love cheerios or corn flakes with fresh fruit :) yuuum! - 4/22/2012   4:39:45 PM
  • 109
    I don't have cereal too often.
    But days when I want a bit more to my breakfast, I like bite-size with apple and sultanas. There's really very little fruit, even tho it says apple and sultanas, so I chop my banana through it, or a pear or kiwi or chopped pineapple, AND a serving of dried fruit, like dried tart cherries, or dried cranberries, whatever so long as it's something I won't be eating some other how (so not raisins). - 4/22/2012   4:32:20 PM
  • 108
    I love grapenuts but you can't get them in France. So I have bran flakes or Weetabix. Cereal is also great for a light supper if I've had a big lunch. - 4/22/2012   4:19:15 PM
    I love McCann's Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal. I make a big batch on Sunday. Portion it out into ziploc bags and have enough for 5 days. If I don't have time in the morning before leaving for work-I just grab a bag and pop it into the microwave about 45 seconds to a minute.

    - 4/22/2012   2:22:58 PM
    I recently tried some cheerios,lightly sweetned and like them very much,not sure of the sugar content. - 4/22/2012   1:52:36 PM
  • DBAILEY607
    I like Kellooggs mini-wheats.....5 points on WW for a 1 cup serving - 4/22/2012   1:48:33 PM
    Probably 5 mornings a week I eat old fashioned rolled oats (Oatmeal) with nuts and add either a banana or blueberries. I eat at 7:30 am and frequently am not hungry for hours--have to remind myself to eat lunch at 1:00. - 4/22/2012   1:35:23 PM
  • 103
    I love PB Puffins, especially with chocolate Soy Slender "milk." - 4/22/2012   1:30:28 PM
    Greek yogurt w/ 1 cup of Total +Omega 3 or the yogurt w/ 1/2 cup original Fiber one. Either one, I figure, I'm getting some proper nutrition and essential vitamins and/or fiber. - 4/22/2012   1:06:47 PM
  • 101
    I don't do cereal and don't consider any of it healthy. I've reversed my prediabetes by eating a largely Paleo diet with little to no grains and legumes. - 4/22/2012   12:59:35 PM
  • 100
    fiber one (aldis has a generic brand) - 4/22/2012   12:41:10 PM
  • 99
    Shredded Wheat with skim milk and berries! - 4/22/2012   12:27:45 PM
  • CATHY27518
    Love Special K Vanilla Almond about 1/2 cup on top of fat free yogurt and fresh berries...yum, yum. 2nd favorite is steel cut oatmeal cooked with a cut up apple (skin and all) and a little nutmeg and Splenda. - 4/22/2012   12:11:41 PM
    I want Cap'n Crunch original, 44% sugar, pure 'n' simple... - 4/22/2012   12:03:21 PM
  • 96
    My favorite morning cereal is original Fiber One with berries and unsweetened almond milk. - 4/22/2012   11:41:23 AM
  • 95
    I rarely eat cereal but on the rare occasion I do, I *love* Nature's Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Plus Granola & Bob's Red Mill Muesli!! - 4/22/2012   11:28:11 AM
    My favorite cereal is Multi Grain Cheerios. I was never a Cheerios person before but now I love the new one. I used to have Special K with strawberries all the time. Since I was told to have more fiber in my diet, I switched. - 4/22/2012   11:23:07 AM
  • 93
    I do love my Cheerios, but want to become a regular eater of oatmeal. I like it a lot, I just don't take the time to make it. - 4/22/2012   11:01:03 AM
    Fiber 1 Original version for me. Half a cup (29 grams) has 100 calories, 56% of daily requirement of fiber (14 grams), ZERO sugar, sweetened with sucralose (1.7 mg/29 g). - 4/22/2012   10:54:45 AM
  • 91
    I don't do the cereal with milk thing for breakfast very often, but I love dry Life and Rice Chex as a snack. I get a satisfying amount and that crunchy texture I love in a snack without all the calories of chips and such or the temptation to eat the whole thing that I get from pretzels. - 4/22/2012   10:17:10 AM
    I avoid Boxed anything... so I make my own granola & sprinkle it on the top of cooked steel cut oats, millet & buckwheat. I then top it off with Chia & Hemp seeds........ good to go for hours.... even working out.
    Oh & a good cup of java..Americano. - 4/22/2012   10:09:04 AM
  • 89
    I miss the Nutri-grain biscuits that were like mini shredded wheat, they had ONE ingredient, "Wheat." No added ANYTHING! - 4/22/2012   10:00:59 AM
  • 88
    grapenuts and all-bran combined with a little raw milk, a touch of raw sugar and some fruit. my boys call it ambrosia, food of the gods.
    the raw milk has some fat, of course, and i like a little sweetener. but a very very small portion of this cereal goes a long way. and it makes you feel like a powerhouse! - 4/22/2012   9:57:31 AM
    I have oatmeal and fruit or cherrios and fruit - 4/22/2012   9:55:27 AM
  • 86
    Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran with almond milk. - 4/22/2012   9:51:58 AM
  • 85
    Steel cut oats, Trader Joe's High Fiber cereal are my cereal choices. I add fresh fruit and skim milk. Great way to start the day! - 4/22/2012   9:41:55 AM
  • 84
    Cheerios - 4/22/2012   9:41:55 AM
  • 83
    For hot cereal I would say oatmeal is my choice. For cold cereal I generally like Cheerios. - 4/22/2012   9:29:16 AM
  • 82
    Spoon Sized Shredded Wheat...I let the little biscuits soak up the milk for a little while before I dig in! My kids were 10 or 11 before they realized people put sugar on their cereal! - 4/22/2012   9:26:03 AM
  • 81
    Steel cut oatmeal is my favorite - and NO added sugar! - 4/22/2012   8:36:16 AM
  • 80
    Very interesting! I have never heard of Puffins and am not a fan of peanut butter (but I'm learning)... I do like Kashi Go Lean, but eat it VERY seldom. I've been trying very hard to follow the Smart nutrition plan, but it's hard!!! Not happy with the choices! - 4/22/2012   8:34:57 AM
  • CRAGUN47
    Most boxed cereal is simply air and sugar. When you eat it, there is little satiation.

    For real food, eat a cooked cereal such as oatmeal or cracked grain cooked cereal.
    - 4/22/2012   8:31:31 AM
  • 78
    just a quarter of a cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch in my 0% Fage plain yogurt, with fresh fruit (today it's mango and strawberries) for my sweetness AND some crunch - 4/22/2012   8:03:39 AM
  • 77
    I've tried the featured peanut butter flavored cereal: definitely an 'acquired' taste! - 4/22/2012   7:51:44 AM
  • MAUR88N
    I love Nature's Path Organic cereals especially Optimum Slim which has for one cup 210 calories, fat 2 g, carbs 40 g, sugars 7 g and 9g protein. I used to eat Kashi GoLean, but read awful things on how they grow their grains. - 4/22/2012   7:38:10 AM
  • 75
    I like to swap and chang my cereals for breakfast or have a cooked one for a change ,its good to fool the body i have been told or it gets in a rut. never had oatmeal, do you cook it? - 4/22/2012   7:34:30 AM
    Oatmeal, plain Cheerios, plain spoon size Shredded wheat or puffed wheat. Oatmeal with nothing on it, cold cereal with 1/2 cup of 1% milk. Add some fresh fruit, that's about it! - 4/22/2012   7:14:28 AM
  • JMS53189
    If I eat a cold cereal for breakfast it would usually be either plain bran flakes or cheerios (often generic) and sometimes a small/medium banana cut up; always warm milk. Most often though, I start the day with eggs, 2 yolks & 4 whites sunnyside up with pan spray. - 4/22/2012   7:03:53 AM
  • 72
    I was raised on boxed cereals (I am a binge eater and sometimes I would down an entire box at once). I have discovered over the years that for some reason boxed cereals trigger some kind of starvation signal in my brain, making me feel that I have to keep eating more and more. I really dislike that starvation feeling because it kind of takes over. I now only eat oatmeal because I find it has the opposite effect; it satisfies my hunger. Go figure. Boxed cereals have gotten too expensive as well around where I live. - 4/22/2012   6:33:55 AM

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