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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Cereal: It's What's for Breakfast!

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I am a big cereal eater. My husband eats cereal EVERY morning for breakfast. We love it! My two year old started his cereal eating career with Cheerios. I remember cutting them in half when he was first starting out and now he shoves a fistful in his mouth at a time! They do grow up fast, don't they???

My husband and now my 2 year old love Lucky Charms. You may think that it is quite odd that a dietitian is allowing her family to eat sugary cereals, but I find that there is not as much sugar added to these cereals as you may think. Plus, they are a great way to get vitamins, minerals, fiber (depending on the variety you choose), and they are vehicle for nutrient dense milk.

Cereal is actually lower in calories than many other food marketed toward kids for breakfast. Some studies back up the health benefits of cereal for breakfast.
  • Kids who frequently eat cereal for breakfast have healthier body weights, have better nutritional status, and are less likely to have weight gain during adolescence.
  • Cereal is a lower calorie breakfast choice compared to many other foods at only 110-130 calories/serving (and that includes pre-sweetened cereals).
  • Cereal is nutrient dense and provides a good or excellent source of at least 10 key nutrients and very few calories.
  • Overall, cereals—including presweetened cereals—provide less than 4% of a children’s sugar intake.
  • A study of cereal eaters determined that relatively little sugar in children’s diets comes from cereal (0.4% - 4.0%), regardless of how much sugar the cereal contains. Children consuming all cereals, including presweetened, have significantly lower BMI and lower waist/height ratios than children who do not consume cereal. Children consuming all cereals have higher intakes of vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin C, calcium, iron, zinc, carbohydrates and sugar, and less fat, cholesterol and sodium in the total diet compared with children who consume no cereals.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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