When it comes to nutrition labels and cereal calories, ignorance can indeed be bliss.
We can still remember when we learned how to scan the ingredients list and take note of the grams of sugar on a cereal box. Suddenly, we were faced with the harsh reality that pouring milk over a bowl of marshmallows was far from healthy.
Childhood, ruined. It was like learning Santa Claus isn’t real all over again.
As the cereal fanatics we are, scanning the nutrition label of our former beloved Honey Nut Cheerios and seeing that it contained 9 grams of sugar in just a 3/4 cup serving size was a dagger to the heart.
So we emptied our cupboards, analyzing one box after another and were extremely disappointed in our findings: High calories, high carbs, lots of sugar, and hardly any protein.
To help spread the word — and to educate yourself on your breakfast bowl — we’re taking a peek at cereal calories in some of the most popular choices. You’ll see some obvious offenders (we’re looking at you, Lucky Charms), and a few others that might surprise you.
Cereal Calories: What’s Really in Your Bowl of Cereal
We don't like to be the bearer of bad news (we're really quite joyous people, we promise). So it pains us to print this list. But when it comes to cereal, we don't mess around. We feel it's our duty to tell you just how many cereal calories you're really consuming in your morning bowl.
Calories: 110 per 3/4 cup
Sorry to break it to you, but there’s only a pot of calories at the end of this rainbow. At first glance, the 110 calories per cup of cereal in General Mills' Lucky Charms might look fairly harmless. But if you peruse the nutrition facts, you’ll realize this bowl leaves much to be desired. With 22 grams of carbs and 10 grams of sugar, this box isn’t as magically nutritious as it is delicious.
Calories: 140 per 1 cup
We’re not exactly sure what stunt Tony the Tiger was trying to pull here, but he can’t fool you anymore. With 140 calories, 34 grams of carbs, and a whopping 14 grams of sugar, this bowl isn’t quite the way you want to tackle your mornings. And with the top three ingredients being sugar, corn, and malt flavor, this breakfast cereal is anything but GR-R-EAT.
Calories: 190 per 1 cup
There are two cups of raisins in every box of Raisin Bran, and whew, does that pour a lot of sugar into one little bowl. At almost 200 calories per cup, Kellog’s Raisin Bran clocks in on the heftier side of this list. While the sugar content is a bit lower than the previous two cereals, the 47 grams of carbohydrates will most certainly weigh you down.
Honey Bunches of Oats
Calories: 160 per 1 cup
Where should we start? At 160 calories per cup, the original Honey Bunches of Oats is one of the higher calorie cereals on this list. Scoping out their other varieties, you see that things only get more dismal as you go down the line. Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds tips the scale at 170 calories, French Vanilla Granola comes in at 270 calories (for only 2/3 cup), and Honey Bunches Whole Grain Almond Crunch comes in at 230 calories.
Calories: 100 per 1 cup
Alright Corn Flakes, we see you. We’ll give a little shoutout to Kellogg’s here, since the cereal calories in a bowl of this classic doesn’t look too bad on paper (er, cardboard?).
With only 100 calories and less than 3 grams of sugar per cup, Corn Flakes might seem too good to be true. Which it is. If you take a sneak peek, you’ll see this cereal contains a whopping 24 grams of carbs per bowl. Not exactly the best way to start your day.
Frosted Mini Wheats
Calories: 210 for 25 biscuits
You know, this one hurt a bit. As former fans of anything that comes frosted, we really, really wanted to think better of Frosted Mini Wheats. But at 210 calories per cup (well, per 25 biscuits), they are, without a shredded wheat of doubt, one of the highest calorie cereals on this list. While that might certainly keep you full, it probably won’t keep you focused.
Calories: 400 calories per 1 cup
Not going to lie, this one is surprising. You might have thought Grape Nuts was a healthy cereal, but at 200 calories per half cup (a whopping 400 calories per cup), this is by far the heftiest whole grain cereal on this list. The sugar content is fairly low — coming in at 5 grams — but that’s still 5 grams higher than we prefer.
Calories: 180 per 58 grams
With promises of seven whole grains in every bowl, Kashi Go original cereal (formerly called GoLean) is often considered one of the healthiest cereals on the market. And we’ll give them a small golf clap here — the 12 grams of protein is impressive compared to the other cereals. But at 180 calories and 8 grams of sugar, there’s a better alternative.
Fiber One Bran
Calories: 120 calories per 1 cup
What can we say here? Fiber One is your go-to breakfast when you need your pipes running smoothly. And with 28 grams of dietary fiber in this all-bran bowl, your system is probably working like clockwork. Fiber One is also one of only two cereals on this list that contains zero grams of sugar per serving.
Well done, Fiber One. But you still have those 50 grams of carbs we’re dropping our jaws over, and we’re not too impressed by your measly 4 grams of protein.
Cream of Wheat
Calories: 100 calories per 1 packet (28 grams)
And here you have it — the other cereal with zero grams of sugar. If you look at the nutrition label, and the nutrition label alone, Cream of Wheat is far from the worst offenders on this list. It contains zero grams of sugar, 100 calories, and 20 grams of carbs per serving. It also has almost zero flavor if you don’t add any sweetener, so it might lose you there.
Calories: 110 per 1 cup
You might prefer your Chex roasted, mixed, and tossed with peanuts and pretzels, but we’re talking about breakfast here. At 110 cereal calories per cup, the original Chex isn’t too alarming — it’s just what you get for those 110 calories is a bit lackluster. There’s only 2 grams of protein per cup, which doesn’t exactly make this cereal a powerhouse breakfast that will keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
Cereal Calories That Won’t Bring You Down
If this list just killed your morning buzz, we sympathize completely. Trust us, we know the feeling.
If you're looking for a healthy breakfast, many of your favorite bowls of cereal just don't make the cut. Most cereals in the grocery aisle are high in calories and sugar, while containing few grams of fiber or protein.
And if weight loss is your goal (or you're trying to fit them into a low-calorie diet), things can get a bit discouraging.
That's why we created the first high-protein, low-calorie, totally keto-friendly cereal on the market. Weighing in at just 100 calories per serving, Cereal School is packed with 16 grams of protein, 3.5 grams total fat, one gram of total carbohydrates, and zero grams of sugar.
No, it's not too good to be true. And yes, it's just as incredible as it sounds.
Unlike your grandma's Cream of Wheat or Fiber One, we made our cereal taste good — with flavors like Cinnamon Bun, Fruity, and Cocoa.
There’s no need to pine over your former childhood favorites (Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, perhaps?) because now you can have your crunchy, sweet cereal without any cereal calorie woes.