Last week, I shared my cereal conundrum. The Bug just won’t eat the ‘healthy good for you stuff.’ You know — the stuff that doesn’t taste good but we force ourselves to choke down anyway. {{Or maybe we develop a taste for it once we deprive ourselves of Honey Nut Cheerios?}}

So we chatted (and perhaps debunked?) the sugar debate. From last week’s post:

All of the fuss on sugar in cereal might be misguided, or rather misdirecting the public. According to my interview with child nutrition expert Dr. Keith Ayoob, a child actually gets less than 5% of their daily sugar intake from cereal (even though it gets 95% of media attention!). Dr. Ayoob cited that children are far more likely to get high doses of sugar from their favorite drinks or juices. {{Watch my interview with Dr. Ayoob over on KneeBlogger!}}

So what are some of the nutritional benefits of cereal? Let’s take a look at Honey Nut Cheerios. Calriecount.com names these benefits:

No saturated fat
No cholesterol
Very high in iron
Very high in manganese
Very high in niacin
High in riboflavin
Very high in thiamin
Very high in vitamin B6
Very high in vitamin B12
Very high in zinc

What benefit am I adding? No artificial colors or preservatives (For me, this is a HUGE advantage with a growing toddler. I’m sure you’ve all heard the news. There is research that suggests artificial colors and preservatives may be linked to ADHD).

Downside? It has 9.6 grams of sugar. But let’s take a look at overall sugar intake for children ages 4-12.
In the scheme of things, breakfast cereal probably isn’t where I should be focusing sugar policing. Beverages… yikes. That combined with milk and milk products is 51% of a child’s sugar intake.

So, my take away from this little cereal learning jaunt? Take in and evaluate the whole nutrition label. While 9.6 grams of sugar may glare at you, if you’re child is drinking mostly water or severely watered down 100% juice like our Bug, you might need to be so concerned about cereal sugar. And some of the vitamins and minerals in the cereal might just win out. Not to mention it’s so darn convenient on those frenzied mornings.

For the record, we will not be forgoing milk or yogurt consumption in our house for fear of ODing on sweet stuff. All in moderation.

General Mills was kind enough to send our family a Cereal Sample Pack, with 6 cereals to try out, four Crate and Barrel cereal bowls and four Zak designed spoons. We’re giving away another sample pack to a (cool) progeny reader! Want to win? Just fill out this form by Friday, June 17, 2011.

This post is part of a four-part series on cereal, sponsored by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. I did not receive any compensation to participate in this blog campaign — but have received product samples and information from General Mills. Of course, I’ll always disclose that to you! In truth, I’m using this opportunity to educate myself and taking (cool) progeny readers along for the ride. Hold on tight! 🙂