Cookies, chocolate, and frosting, oh my! If you scan the boxes in today’s cereal aisle, you may mistakenly believe you stumbled into the dessert section. After all, why wouldn’t you? These days, there are as many chocolate cereals as there are chocolate chip cookies in the grocery store.
But in our humble opinion, most of those breakfast cereals belong in a cookie jar.
While a single serving of Oreos (three cookies) comes with a whopping 14 grams of sugar and 25 grams of carbohydrates, it turns out that this is actually fewer grams of sugar than those found in many breakfast cereals.
Don’t believe it? We evaluated some of the most beloved chocolate breakfast cereals out there, and we must admit — we were a bit frightened by what we discovered.
10 Chocolate Cereals: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Are you ready to get the cold, hard nutrition facts on chocolate cereals? Sure, it looks a little dismal, but have some hope — there is light at the end of the dark (chocolate) tunnel.
As it turns out, there is one (and only one) chocolate breakfast cereal that’s actually healthy, but you’ll have to keep reading to find out which one it is.
1. Cocoa Puffs
Are we surprised cane sugar is listed as the second ingredient in this General Mills’ favorite? No. Are we still a bit disappointed? Yes, of course. Whoever didn’t indulge on this cereal as a child clearly doesn’t understand the joys of chocolate for breakfast. But with 12 grams of sugar and 30 grams of carbs per serving, perhaps it’s best to waltz straight past this box in the cereal aisle.
2. Special K Chocolatey Delight Chocolate Cereal
Special K, the same cereal that had an entire diet dedicated to its consumption, just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add chocolate to their mix. In their Chocolatey Delight Chocolate variation, you’ll find sugar and chocolate chunks listed as two of the top four ingredients on the label.
If you glance over at the carbs and sugar content, things don’t appear any more promising. With 12 grams of sugar, 34 grams of total carbohydrates, and a mere 3 grams of protein, this “delightful” cereal seems pretty discouraging.
3. Cocoa Krispies
Even if you’re not dipping these Rice Krispies in gooey marshmallows, they’ll still cause you quite the sugar rush. Believe it or not, Cocoa Krispies have 15 grams of sugar and 35 grams of sugar per cup — which is more than Cocoa Puffs, for those of you keeping track.
In the top four ingredients, you’ll get rice, sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, and semisweet chocolate. In fact, there’s not much on their nutritional label we approve of — snap, crackle, hard pass.
4. Cocoa Pebbles
For a chocolaty breakfast cereal, Cocoa Pebbles isn’t...well, that bad. Sure, you won’t find it in our cupboards, but it doesn’t quite earn a place next to a slice of chocolate cake. It comes with 10 grams of sugar per 3/4 cup, which, although high, isn’t as frightening as other cereal brands on this list.
Cocoa Pebbles is gluten-free, which earns a thumbs up from us, but it only contains 1 measley gram of protein (two thumbs down). Although not the worst offender on the list, this chocolate cereal is probably best left on the shelf.
5. Chocolate Cheerios
Say what you will about Cheerios products, but they won’t stop tooting their heart-healthy horn. Right on their product page, they boast that their cereal (even Chocolate Cheerios) is gluten-free, made with no artificial ingredients, may reduce the risk of heart disease, offers a good source of vitamin D, is only 100 calories, and the list goes on.
But if you take a closer look at the cold cereal facts, you’ll see Chocolate Cheerios only provides 10% of your daily value of vitamin D (not exactly a “good source”), contains 8 grams of sugar, only 2 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of protein, and comes stacked with 21 grams of carbs. To top things off, sugar is the second ingredient — now how does that improve your heart health?
6. Chocolate Lucky Charms
When we found out Lucky Charms came in a chocolate flavor, we were a bit… well, terrified, to say the least. We thought milk and rainbow-shaped marshmallows ranked in the bottom of cereal bowls, but apparently there’s a whole other level.
To start, Chocolate Lucky Charms are not gluten-free like other cereals on this list. It contains 10 grams of sugar which, truth be told, is lower than we expected. Still, the top ingredients on the label are corn, sugar, corn meal, corn starch, and corn syrup, to which we’ll happily say, “No thank you.” General Mills, you can keep whatever comes at the end of this rainbow.
7. Chocolate Frosted Flakes
Tony the Tiger, we really expected more from you. In just one cup of Kellogg’s Chocolate Frosted Flakes, you’ll get 14 grams of sugar and 33 grams of total carbohydrates.
If you do a quick scan of the ingredients list, you’ll see sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, and palm kernel oil — none of which we want any part of. Sure, it contains folic acid, B vitamins, and iron, but even with these few benefits, this bowl is anything but grrrrrreat.
8. Cookie Crisp
We had big hopes for General Mills’ Cookie Crisp. Come on — a breakfast bowl full of cookies? It sounds amazing. Could this be real? Yes, it’s real. But unfortunately real doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
With 31 grams of carbs and 12 grams of added sugar, this is one chocolate chip cookie we’ll stay away from. And with sugar, canola oil, corn syrup, caramel color, and brown sugar syrup listed in the top ingredients, we certainly recommend keeping your hands out of this cookie jar.
9. Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites Chocolate Cereal
Friends, we finally have a cereal on this list with more than 3 grams of protein. Sure, their 5 grams is less than a third of what Cereal School’s chocolate cereal brings in, but who’s counting? (Clearly we are.)
Kellogg’s Chocolate Frosted Mini-Wheats bring in 6 grams of fiber, higher than the other cereals previously listed. However, it contains more carbs and calories than any cereal here, weighing in at 200 and 45 grams, respectively. Not exactly a healthy start to your day.
10. Chocolate Chex
Because we’re in the mood to spoon out a compliment, we’ll give one to Chocolate Chex. Unlike many other cereals with a long list of ingredients, this one clocks in with 10 including whole grain rice. Granted, there’s also sugar, canola oil, and molasses, so it’s really only a half-hearted compliment.
This bowl of crunchy cereal delivers 36 grams of carbs, 11 grams of sugar, and packs 180 calories in just one cup. And for what it’s worth, the peanut butter flavor isn’t that much better, weighing in with 9 grams of sugar and 32 grams of carbs.
Cereal School Cocoa Is the Only Chocolate Cereal You Should Be Eating
To all you chocolate lovers out there, we have good news for you. While the chocolate cereals on this list are best avoided, there is one chocolate cereal you can happily indulge in: Cereal School Cocoa.
Cereal School Cocoa is a chocolaty sweet breakfast cereal that contains just 1 gram of total carbs and 0 grams of sugar. How? Because Cereal School cereals are sweetened with monk fruit, a zero-sugar sweetener that doesn’t spike your blood sugar. When combined with real cocoa, you get that sweet chocolate taste you’ve been craving.
All ingredients (8 in total) are non-GMO with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Oh, and it’s gluten-free and has just 100 calories per bag. So go ahead, grab a spoon, and dive right into a bag of Cereal School Cocoa. Yes, you can finally have chocolate for breakfast.