THE BLOG
09/26/2014 03:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Best 'Bad For You' Cereals

Our entire website and book series is devoted to helping you eat better. But we know, sometimes you just want to cheat, or feel nostalgic, over a bowl of sugary, milky Tony the Tiger-approved flakes, shapes and Ohs. Crack open a box of one of these best "bad for you" brands once in a while (emphasis on the once!), and you can satisfy your naughty cravings without blowing your diet. Just make sure you at least choose the healthiest milk.

1. MARSHMALLOW CEREAL
2014-09-22-LuckyCharms.jpg

EAT THIS! Lucky Charms
Per 1 cup serving: 142 calories, 1 g fat, 14 g sugar, 2 g protein
Okay, please remember, these are naughty cereals and I personally don't think the words marshmallow and breakfast should be associated at all. But... if you must indulge in a marshmallowy breakfast cereal, you won't find one with less sugar that Lucky Charms. (But it's still 40 percent sugar by weight per serving).

NOT THAT! Apple Jacks with Marshmallows
Per 1 cup serving: 110 calories, 1 g fat, 14 g sugar, 1 g protein
The tweaked out looking apple on the box should be enough to scare you away from this limited edition cereal, but if you need more convincing: it's 50 percent sugar by weight per serving and the ingredient list looks like a bad chemistry test held together by trans fats.

2. 'FROOTY' CEREAL
2014-09-22-FrootLoops.jpg

EAT THIS! Fruity Cheerios
Per 1 cup serving: 100 calories, 1.5 g fat, 9 g sugar, 1 g protein
Okay, the colors in this cereal are not natural, but, if turning your milk colors is what you're after, this is the cereal for you. Nine grams of sugar is still a lot, but it's 50 percent less than most of the other fruity cereals out there.

NOT THAT! Froot Loops with Marshmallows
Per 1 cup serving: 110 calories, 1 g fat, 14 g sugar, 1 g protein
Ah, Froot Loops. You know when they spell fruit with two o's that something's not quite right. This breakfast cereal is 48 percent sugar by weight with trans fats hiding in the ingredient list. Sorry, Toucan, no can do.

3. HONEY CEREAL
2014-09-22-HoneyBunches.jpg

EAT THIS! Honey Bunches of Oats
Per 1 cup serving: 120 calories, 1.5 g fat, 6 g sugar, 2 g protein
Now remember, the title of this piece is best "naughty cereals." So, while normally I wouldn't be recommending a cereal with 4 different kinds of sugars and the preservative BHT, we're ignoring that and focusing on the fact this this naughty cereal only contains 6 grams of sugar per serving.

NOT THAT! Honey Smacks
Per 1 cup serving: 100 calories, .5 g fat, 15 g sugar, 2 g protein
This cereal should be relabeled "box of candy" because it is 56 percent sugar by weight, and one serving will give you 50 percent of your daily sugar intake. I could get into the fact that there are trans fats hiding on the ingredient list, but really the amount of sugar alone earns anyone who eats this cereal for breakfast a smack across the face (with a white glove, a la perturbed granny). You'd be better off eating one of our best breakfast sandwiches.

4. PUFFED CEREAL
2014-09-22-Kashi.jpg

EAT THIS! Kashi 7 Whole Grain Honey Puffs
Per 1 cup serving: 120 calories, 1 g fat, 6 g sugar, 3 g protein
With only 6 grams of sugar and 10 things on the ingredient list (7 of which are whole grains) this is a sweet cereal that can satisfy your sweet puff craving without putting you at risk for diabetes.

NOT THAT! Golden Puffs
Per 1 cup serving: 100 calories, 0 g fat, 14 g sugar, 2 g protein
I'm not sure what it is about puffed wheat that makes food manufacturers want to drown it in sugar, but here we have another cereal that is 56 percent sugar by weight and 50 percent of your daily sugar intake in one serving. Really? Why is this breakfast?

5. SWEET FLAKES

2014-09-22-FrostedFlakes1.jpg

EAT THIS! Frosted Flakes
Per 1 cup serving: 110 calories, 0 g fat, 10 g sugar, 1 g protein
Yes, you are better off with a bowl of Frosted Flakes (10 grams of sugar per serving) than you are with any of the worst cereals on this list. Plus, you get the chance to say, "They're grrrrreat!" and mean it. Better yet, add some fruits with this color to boost your metabolism.

NOT THAT! Golden Crisp
Per 1 cup serving: 100 calories, 0 g fat, 14 g sugar, 1 g protein
This cartooned cereal boasts that it's not just sweet to eat. "It also has good stuff, like essential vitamins and minerals." Yes, they've added vitamins and minerals to a cereal that is 52 percent sugar by weight and 47 percent of your daily sugar intake in one serving. No thank you.


So indulge! Or better yet, make some amazingly delicious, but somehow nutritious, blueberry pancakes, from our brand new e-book "Cook This, Not That: Greatest Weight Loss Recipes," ready now for download, right to your phone or desktop! It's nostalgia without the guilt.


CLICK THIS, NOT THAT!
For the latest food swaps and weight-loss tips, visit the all-new Eat This, Not That! and sign up for our free newsletter now.

2014-09-17-ETNT_FacebookMain.jpg