Even in my healthy-eating family, sugar cereal has been the subject of controversy. My husband loves sugar cereal and wanted to share this with his oldest daughter, now 15, as a special treat on Saturday¬†mornings during her toddler years. Despite my warnings, he insisted on including her in his tradition. It took only 3 or 4 Saturdays before he stopped. After breakfast on Saturdays, my daughter turned into a monster. At first, he thought it might be just typical toddler behavior, but then I suggested that we eliminate the sugar cereal. She was a different, calmer child — and that was the end of that tradition.

To this day and 2 more kids later, IF we have sugar cereal in the house, it is eaten as a special dessert. Food with that much sugar does not lead to a good start to the day and does not deserve a place at the breakfast table.

Why? Experts recommend that kids and teens consume no more than 4-6 teaspoons of added sugar per day. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams, so the maximum a child should eat per day is between 16-24 grams of added sugar. Look at the list of sugar cereals below. Many of these cereals exceed the recommended maximum allotment of sugar for one day in one serving!

To choose a healthy cereal, read the label. Kurbo recommends cereals that contain 6 or fewer grams of sugar per serving. 6 grams of sugar is still 1.5 teaspoons, so watch your serving size as well!

The following cereals are great choices for those on the Kurbo program and for good health*:

  • General Mills Kix: 3 grams of sugar per serving = .75 teaspoon
  • General Mills Cheerios: 1 gram of sugar per serving = .25 teaspoon
  • Kellogg’s Rice Krispies: 4 grams of sugar per serving = 1 teaspoon
  • Kellogg’s Special K: 4 grams of sugar per serving = 1 teaspoon
  • Quaker Oats Life: 6 grams of sugar per serving = 1.5 teaspoons
  • Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls: 5 grams of sugar per serving = 1.25 teaspoons
  • Post Honey Bunches of Oats: 6 grams of sugar per serving = 2 teaspoons

(*note: these are Kurbo-approved as listed, but the nutrition values change if you switch from Kix to Kix Honey, for example, or from Special K to Special K protein — so read the label and make sure your choice remains fewer than six grams per serving!)

We also want to point out cereals that you may not know are not good choices as well as ones that are known poor choices:

Tricky Business – Examples of sugar cereals you may think are healthy, but are not:

  • Cascadian Farms Oats & Honey Granola: 14 grams of sugar per serving = 3.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios: 9 grams of sugar per serving = 2.25 teaspoons of sugar
  • Post Grape-Nuts Fit: 9 grams of sugar per serving = 2.25 teaspoons of sugar
  • Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries: 9 grams of sugar per serving = 2.25 teaspoons of sugar
  • Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats Bite-Sized: 11 grams of sugar per serving = 2.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Kellogg’s Cracklin Oat Bran: 14 grams of sugar per serving = 3.5 teaspoons of sugar

No Brainers – Examples of sugar cereals you already know to avoid:

  • Kellogg’s Honey Smacks: 15 grams of sugar per serving = 3.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original: 12 grams of sugar per serving = 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Kellogg’s Smorz: 13 grams of sugar per serving = 3.25 teaspoons of sugar
  • Kellogg’s Apple Jacks — 14.7 grams of sugar per serving = over 3.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Post Golden Crisp: 14.55 grams of sugar per serving = over 3.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original: 12 grams of sugar per serving = 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Quaker Oats Oh!s: 12 grams of sugar per serving = 3 teaspoons of sugar

Eating too much sugar raises your risk for known health conditions like diabetes, so it’s a no-brainer to start your day in a healthful way by avoiding a sugar overload. Read, read, read labels to make the best choices!


Kurbo provides the first mobile-based health coaching and weight management program for kids, teens, and their families. See whether Kurbo is right for your child, try a Kurbo coaching plan for free today!