It’s one of those revelations that shouldn’t be so striking — yet it seems to smack you square in the jaw.

My kid won’t eat “good-for-you” cereal.

You know, the “healthy” bran-filled stuff. I’ve tried them all — and forget it. She feeds it one piece at a time to the dogs. {{Note: our dogs really don’t need to bone up on their fiber.}}

But give her a bowl of Lucky Charms or Fruit Loops and she’ll munch away happily.

With all the media attention over the last year or so, I was just a touch paranoid about having my toddler OD on ‘sugar filled’ cereal. A ‘good’ mom wouldn’t feed her child THAT much sugar, right? So I stopped keeping the fun stuff in the house. Out of sight, out of mind. If it’s not an available option, of COURSE she’ll just settle for the healthy stuff.

Wrong. The Bug just stopped eating cereal all together. So she was missing out on a lot of other nutritional benefits.

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!}}

General Mills commissioned a survey of D.C.-area parents to uncover their children’s eating habits, as well as what they deem important to help ensure their children grow up healthy. 88% of those surveyed said that taste has influence in their child’s willingness to eat breakfast. Cereal was overwhelmingly the most commonly served breakfast among those interviewed.

Cereals — even those with {{gasp}} sugar — are one of the healthiest breakfast options out there. According to CerealBenefits.com, here are some ‘breakfast perks’:

  • Breakfast eaters tend to have better nutrient intakes.
  • On average, breakfast contributes less than 20 percent of daily calories, while delivering more than 30 percent of needed calcium, iron and B vitamins.
  • People who eat breakfast tend to consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber over the course of their day.
  • Nutrients missed at breakfast, namely calcium, fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals, are rarely made up for during the day.
  • Kids who eat breakfast tend to perform better in school and have fewer disciplinary problems. Breakfast also tends to help kids stay alert.

Why, hello Fruit Loops. Welcome back.

General Mills was kind enough to send our family a Cereal Sample Pack, with 10 cereals to try out and a milk pitcher. We’re giving away another sample pack to a (cool) progeny reader! Want to win? Just fill out this form by Thursday, June 9, 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! 🙂