Sending our kids to school on a full stomach sets them up well for a day of learning and playing.
Typically, when we think about kids’ breakfast cereal, sugar-coating, chocolate or cartoon-shapes come to mind. As expected, these can be packed with sugar and tend to be low in fibre. But choosing a healthier cereal to eat with milk or yoghurt will provide calcium, fibre and carbohydrates, and many cereals are also fortified with B vitamins and iron – all the right nutrients to get our kids ready for school.
We looked at the range of cereals marketed specifically for kids, and ones we thought our kids would like to eat.
Many cereals targeted at children are heavy on sugar. We found cereals that contained between 1g and 38g sugar per 100g. Eating too much sugar increases the risk of tooth decay and becoming overweight or even obese, all issues on the rise among Kiwi children. As expected, there was more sugar in cereals that contained chocolate or honey. Sugar was also higher in dried fruit cereal because of the natural fruit sugars. But, at least, the fruit also provides some vitamins and fibre. You may add sugar at the table, but starting with a lower-sugar cereal means what you add, and how much, is your choice. We recommend choosing kids’ breakfast cereals that contain 15g or less of sugar per 100g, or 25g or less per 100g, if they contain dried fruit.
Fibre helps our kids stay fuller for longer and can aid healthy digestion. Kids don’t need as much fibre as adults. Pre-schoolers need around 14g of fibre each day; primary school-aged kids about 18g fibre daily; and older kids between 20g and 28g daily. One serve of porridge oats provides 9g of fibre, but rice pops only 1g. We recommend choosing kids’ breakfast cereals that contain between 5g and 15g of fibre per 100g.
Sweet cereals often have added salt. But check plain cereals as they can be high in salt too. We recommend choosing kids breakfast cereals that contain 400mg or less sodium per 100g.
How to choose
Use these criteria to compare kids’ breakfast cereals.
Some of the breakfast cereals we found
Be Natural Organics Golden Whole Grain Bites, Original
$6.55 per 460g pack
Per 100g: 1470kJ, 8.7g sugars, 11.9g fibre, 5mg sodium, $1.42
Delicious dry or with milk.
$5.99 per 750g pack
Per 100g: 1480kJ, 2.8g sugars, 10.1g fibre, 270mg sodium, $0.80
Classic Kiwi kids’ breakfast.
Uncle Tobys Original Oats Quick Sachets
$4.99 per 340g pack
Per 100g: 1600kJ, 1g sugars, 9.2g fibre, 6mg sodium, $1.47
Nice, classic flavours.
Sanitarium Gluten Free Weet-Bix with Coconut and Rice Puffs
$7.99 per 400g pack
Per 100g: 1680kJ, 8.1g sugars, 7.6g fibre, 178mg sodium, $2.00
Tasty cinnamon and gluten free.
Uncle Tobys Cheerios
$5.49 per 320g pack
Per 100g: 1620kJ, 14.7g sugars, 7.3g fibre, 265mg sodium, $1.72
Hubbards Crispy Crunchy Granola
$8.99 per 400g pack
Per 100g: 1930kJ, 21.8g sugars, 7g fibre, 34mg sodium, $2.25
Looks appetising and tastes great.
Kellogg’s Sultana Bran with Oat Clusters
$6.99 per 500g pack
Per 100g: 1460kJ, 28.8g sugars, 14g fibre, 220mg sodium, $1.40
Oat bran clusters add to the sultana bran nicely.
$3.29 per 380g pack
Per 100g: 1550kJ, 7.7g sugars, 4.1g fibre, 525mg sodium, $0.87
Great crunch and not too sweet. Adding fruit will add fibre.