Leslie Beck's best and worst breakfast food list
Published Wednesday, September 8, 2010 8:12AM EDT
Worst kids breakfast cereal: General Mills Reese's Puffs
The label my say "whole grain" but don't let that fool you. One cup has 16 grams of refined sugar -- 4 teaspoons worth -- and only 1 gram of fibre. And the whole grain the label is referring to is corn -- not nearly as nutritious as whole wheat or brown rice.
Smarter pick: Barbara's Bakery Puffins Peanut Butter
There are number of kid friendly cereals that score better on the nutrition front. This one is lower in fat and sugar and has more fibre. A one cup serving has half the sugar as Reese's Puffs -- 8 grams or 2 teaspoons worth -- and 3 grams of fibre. What's more, the ingredient list is much shorter -- it lacks the numerous chemical additives found in many kids' cereals.
Worst fruit snack: Betty Crocker Fruit Gushers
Fruit snacks are popular snacks for recess or as an addition to a school lunch. But these fruit flavoured snacks are nothing close to fresh fruit – their number one ingredient is sugar. It's listed numbers times as sucrose, corn syrup solids, corn syrup and fructose. One package of Fruit Gushers has 90 calories, 12 grams of sugar -- 3 teaspoons worth -- and zero fibre.
Smarter pick: Del Monte Mini Fruit Twists
These fruit snacks are made with real fruit and have no refined sugar added. One package has 60 calories, 12 grams of natural sugar and 1 gram of fibre. It's not like eating a piece of fresh fruit but it's a much better choice than other sugar laden fruit snacks.
Worst school lunch kit: Schneider's Lunchmate Hot Dogs
Inside this kit you'll find 3 mini hot dogs, mustard, ketchup and Humpty Dumpty potato sticks. This is basically a concoction of refined flour and chemical additives. It does not deliver on nutrition.
Each hot dog kit has 310 calories, a quarter of a kids' days' worth of saturated fat and here's the kicker 990 milligrams of sodium! Almost an entire days worth packed into a measly 310 calories. Keep in mind that kids aged 4 to 8 need only 1200 milligrams of sodium per day; older kids need 1500 milligrams.
Smarter pick: Clover Leaf Tuna Salad Kit
This is definitely a better choice. Each kit contains a tin of tuna salad and 6 crackers. It contains more protein, only 1 gram of saturated fat and considerably less sodium -- only 250 milligrams. This can be given to kids as part of their lunch or as a snack.
Worst drink box: Sunny Delight Smooth
This drink does supply a full day's worth of vitamin C but it's drowning in sugar. Each 250 ml serving delivers 22 grams -- 5.5 teaspoons. Refined sugar appears before real fruit juice on the ingredient list -- which is long and lists many additives. This beverage also has 180 milligrams of sodium per serving -- something you wouldn't expect in a fruit drink.
Smarter pick: Minute Maid 100 per cent Orange Juice
There's nothing but 100 per cent pure juice in this drink box. And as you would expect it contains only 15 milligrams of sodium – an amount that's naturally occurring in the orange juice.
Worst granola bar: Nature Valley Sweet & Sour Dark Chocolate
Granola bars are usually an after school snack since most contain nuts and can't be brought to school. This Nature Valley granola bar made my worst list. Each bar delivers 9 grams of fat, 20 per cent of a day's worth of cholesterol-raising saturated fat and 3 teaspoons of sugar. In fact, corn syrup is the second ingredient after peanuts.
Smarter pick: Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bar
This granola bar has one-third of the fat and saturated fat and half the sugar as the Nature Valley bar. It also has less sodium.
Worst cookie: Mini Oreo Snack Packs
Don't let their small size food you. One package of these mini Oreos supplies 140 calories, 6 grams of fat and 3 teaspoons of sugar along with 170 milligrams of sodium.
Smarter pick: Annie's Chocolate Bunny Grahams
One serving of Annie's Bunny Grahams has half the fat, half the sugar -- only 7 grams -- hand no saturated fat. They even contain 2 grams of fibre per serving. If you compare ingredient lists you'll also notice that unlike the mini Oreos, this product contains only natural ingredients; there are no artificial additives.