Cereal is a breakfast staple enjoyed by children and adults alike. While this boxed treat is convenient, it is not always the healthiest of choices due to its high sugar and fat content. If you want healthy cereal options for your family, we explore the 18 unhealthiest cereals to avoid:

Froot Loops

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These brightly colored loops are more like candy than a balanced breakfast, packing a whopping 18 grams of sugar per cup. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 25 grams per day for women and 36 grams for men. Aside from the problematic sugar content, Fruit Loops contain minimal protein and fiber, which are crucial for feeling full and keeping you energized throughout the morning

Cap’n Crunch Original Cereal

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A one-cup serving of Cap’n Crunch contains 17 grams of sugar, which is over 33% of the recommended daily intake. Consuming too much sugar can contribute to weight gain, dental problems, and blood sugar issues, which is why this cereal is bad for children. While it is fortified with some vitamins and iron, it also contains potentially harmful additives. 

Malt-O-Meal Berry Bunch Crunch

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Malt-O-Meal Berry Bunch Crunch contains 18 grams of sugar per cup, which is a cause for concern. While the odd bowl now and again would be ok as part of a balanced diet, sugar can be addictive and children may become too used to overly sweet breakfasts if you bought this cereal on a regular basis. 

Mom’s Best Crispy Cocoa Rice

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This cereal might be budget-friendly, but it comes at a cost to your health. One cup delivers 18 grams of sugar, making it more like a dessert than a breakfast option. There is also an issue with the amount of sodium in this cereal as one portion contains 10% of your recommended daily allowance.  

Honey Smacks

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Honey may be a natural ingredient that is often linked to healthy diets but in the case of Honey Smacks, it is very unhealthy. In one cup of this cereal there is 15 grams of sugar and limited fiber and protein. For a healthier honey themed breakfast you can try natural honey with yogurt and fruit or honey on wholemeal bread. 

Cocoa Puffs

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These chocolatey puffs may be a fun treat for kids, but they contain 14 grams of sugar per cup, so they should be offered sparingly. While fortified with some vitamins and minerals, Coco Puffs likely won’t provide significant amounts of essential nutrients needed for a balanced diet.

Tony the Tiger’s Frosted Flakes

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These frosted flakes contain less sugar than some other cereals aimed at children, but there is still a concerning 12 grams of sugar per cup. There are lots of healthier wholegrain cereals that you can buy easily that are much better for your child’s diet. 

Trix Yogurt Blast Cereal

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Yogurt doesn’t magically make cereal healthy, as we see with Trix Yogurt Blast with 11 grams of sugar per cup. If your family likes yogurt for breakfast, opt for natural Greek yogurt that is low in sugar and high in protein. You can pair with fresh fruit for a better taste and a boost of vitamins and fiber. 

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

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A breakfast that tastes like dessert is bound to have a lot of sugar and with 13 grams of sugar per cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch fits into this category. A better option would be oatmeal with fresh cinnamon and chopped nuts and fruit as this will keep you feeling full until lunch and you are less likely to have a sugar crash

Fruity Cheerios

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While Cheerios are often a healthier choice, the fruity version adds a large dose of sugar at 11 grams per cup. The original wholegrain Cheerios contain 5.3 grams per serving, so it is best to stick to those rather than let your kids be swayed by the artificial coloring on the fruit version. 

Lucky Charms

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Lucky Charms are an iconic cereal that has a reputation all around the world. While they may taste great and offer fun around the breakfast table, your teeth won’t be so lucky after a few boxes. One serving of Lucky Charms contains 12 grams of sugar and 10 grams of sodium.


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While Kix boasts less sugar than many other children’s cereals at around 4 grams per serving, it still contributes to your daily sugar intake. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain, dental problems, and blood sugar fluctuations.

Cookie Crisp

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A one-cup serving of Cookie Crisp can contain around 10 grams of sugar per cup, which is a significant portion of the recommended daily sugar intake, especially for children. It is important to pay attention to the amount of added sugar in packaged breakfast foods, as advertising can be deceptive.


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Like many other “children’s cereals,” the fun, colorful Smacks box draws people in, and parents can often feel guilty saying no. The 12 grams of sugar per cup is a concern as there is little in the way of nutrients to make up for the high sugar levels. 

Boo Berry and Franken Berry

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With ingredients such as modified corn starch, blue food coloring, and corn syrup, as well as 12 grams of sugar per cup, this cereal is frightening in many ways. 

Reeses Puffs

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Peanut butter for breakfast sounds healthy, but these puffs are loaded with sugar at 3 grams per cup and lack the protein punch of real peanut butter. I addition, there is 4.5 grams of fat per serving and just 2 grams of fiber.

Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds

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Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds lead with containing whole grain oats, but that is where the good news ends. A single serving of this cereal has 16 grams of sugar, so it is healthier to source rolled oats and eat with fruit and yogurt for a healthier breakfast. 


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You may be surprised to see granola on the list of bad breakfast cereals, but the truth is many store-bought granolas are packed full of sugar. While granola can be a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, some brands add honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar, which can significantly increase its calorie content.

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