When I posted 10 Breakfast Cereals to Avoid I seemed to have suffered a sugar flashback; and the 1970s-swank, Henry Mancini jingle for Pink Panther Flakes has been stuck in my head ever since. The fuchsia frosted flakes were painfully pink and shamefully sweet, and thankfully, haven’t been seen for several decades–but what an enduring testament to marketing for kids and the girl-pleasing power of pink sugar! Today’s sock-it-to-you-with-the-sweet cereals aren’t much better, as evidenced by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity’s report on cereal nutrition–but at least some healthier options do exist.
Reading the report’s list of most nutritious cereals, I didn’t expect to find products made by the same companies responsible for some of the shady cereals which ranked as most egregious, but sure enough, there they were. Which goes to show that some of these companies are indeed making healthier options, they’re just not pushing them as diligently. Cereal companies spend more money than any other packaged food category in marketing their products to children ($229 million in 2006), which is why we may be more familiar with Post Fruity Pebbles, one of the worst offenders, than Post Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Wheat ‘n Bran, one of the best cereal choices.
Although within each brand there is a wide range, Kashi ranks as the best brand overall in terms of ingredients, according to the report. If you don’t see a cereal you eat in this list (number 1 being the healthiest), you can check the Rudd Center’s database.
10. Nature’s Path: Synergy 8 Whole Grains
Nutritional Score: 78
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Artificial Food Dyes: No
Sugar Content: 13%
Fiber Content: 17%
Sodium (Mg per 100g): 0