Kids' Cereals Packing Some Nutrition Punch

Cereal boxes on store shelf AP

You probably struggle to find your kids just the right cereal for breakfast.

You don't want a lot of sugar or salt, but you do want lots of nutrition.

"Consumer Reports" has taken some of the guesswork out, by rating 27 popular cereals aimed at kids, and you might be surprised by some of those that got higher scores for nutritional value.

Gayle Williams, deputy health editor of Cosumer Reports, worked on the study, and told co-anchor Chris Wragge about it, on The Saturday Early Show.

She says CR looked at commercials on kids' networks, such as Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network, to see which cereals were most heavily marketed to kids. That's why you don't see cereals such as Raisin Bran or Special K on the list. CR only wanted to consider cereals marketed directly to children.

None of the cereals was considered bad. They were rated very good, good, and fair.
None of them are poisonous; none would make you ill. CR considered sugar, sodium fiber, calcium and iron content.

The ones dubbed fair have some nutritional value; CR isn't saying not to eat them, but don't make them your every day cereal. They may be high in sugar, but some are also high in iron.

The to- rated cereal was Cheerios. It has, Williams said, "very little sugar, and was good in sodium, and did well in fiber, as well. It's a good source of a lot of things that has iron and calcium in it, as well, and it's good cereal for you."

Also rated "very good": Kix which, Williams said, "is a little bit more fun for kids, and also did well in terms of sodium and sugar and fiber. So that rated well."

Lucky Charms and Frosted Mini-Wheats were rated "good."

Rice Krispies didn't do as well as many at home might think. "After all," Williams pointed out, "it's puffed rice, but basically, it has no fiber in it. It didn't have a lot of sugar, but it also has a lot of sodium in it, so if you're watching your sodium, this is not a good choice."

Amolng those that didn't rate well were Corn Pops, Honey Smacks and Golden Crisps. They are, Williams said, "high in sugar, and you can make better choices than those."

Some others that did pretty well included Cocoa Pebbles and Chocolate Crisps. "When you look at the lower sodium and the more fiber in it, that's what made those pretty good choices," Williams expalined.

SOME OF CONSUMER REPORTS' RATINGS

Ranks are in parenthesis next to the cereal's name.

Very Good

Cheerios (1)
Fiber: 3 grams
Sugar: 1 gram

Kix (2)
Fiber: 3 grams
Sugar: 3 grams

Frosted Mini-Wheats (5)
Fiber: 6 grams
Sugar: 12 grams

Lucky Charms (9)
Fiber: 1 gram
Sugar: 11 grams

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -

Rating: Good
Fiber Sugar
Cookie Crisp (7) 1 grams 11 grams
Cocoa Puffs (10) 1 grams 12 grams
Trix (12) 1 grams 13 grams
Cocoa Pebbles (14) 3 grams 11 grams

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Rice Krispies (22)
Sugar: 4 grams
Sodium: 220 mgs

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Rating: Fair

Sugar Sodium
Froot Loops (24) 12 grams 135 mgs
Golden Crisp (25) 14 grams 25 mgs
Honey Smacks (26) 15 grams 50 mgs
Corn Pops (27) 12 grams 110 mgs
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