Are Cheerios Healthy?

Whole Grains and Iron Make This a Healthy Breakfast

Sending your kids off to school with a wholesome breakfast doesn't just stave off hunger pangs until snacktime; it will also help them perform their best at school. And while your Instagram feed might be full of superfood-packed oatmeal and meticulously crafted smoothie bowls, the best breakfast is one you have time to get on the table every day. With virtually n0 preparation needed, Cheerios fit the bill – and they're full of nutrients that will benefit your family.

Cheerios: The Nutrition Basics

As an unsweetened cereal, Cheerios are a healthy option that is relatively low in calories. Each 1-cup serving has just 105 calories. As long as you practice portion control, it will be tough to take in too many calories at breakfast. Most of those calories come from carbs – Cheerios have 21 grams per serving – but you'll also get a small amount of protein, about 3 grams per serving. Each serving of Cheerios has less than 2 grams of fat, so they fit into a low-fat heart-healthy diet.

Dietary Fiber for Healthy Digestion

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Cheerios are made using whole-grain flour, which means they're a good source of dietary fiber. While fiber is a type of carbohydrate, it doesn't break down like other carbs – so instead of using fiber for energy like you would sugar or starch, it passes through your system to help with digestion. Eating a high-fiber diet also promotes cardiovascular health, and fiber is also filling, so it can keep you (and your child) from feeling hungry and overeating later. A serving of Cheerios has almost 3 grams of dietary fiber. That's 12 percent of your daily fiber requirements, and up to 16 percent of your children's fiber needs, depending on their gender and age.

Enriched With Iron and Calcium

Cheerios also contain added minerals to make them more nutritious, and as a result, they're a great source of calcium and iron. Calcium is known to nourish your bones, which helps you maintain bone density as you age, and also helps keep your children's bones healthy as they grow. Iron is important for supplying cells and tissues with the oxygen they need to function, and serving iron-rich food helps you have the energy to get through an active day. A serving of Cheerios contains 112 milligrams of calcium and 9.3 milligrams of iron. That's about half your iron requirements and 11 percent of your daily calcium needs, up to 16 percent of your child's calcium needs (depending on their age), and up to 100 percent of their iron needs, depending on age and gender.

Watch out for Added Sugar

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While regular Cheerios should be more than welcome in a healthy diet, the flavored varieties should be eaten sparingly, if at all, due to their added sugar content. Honey Nut Cheerios, for instance, contain almost 23 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of sugar, compared to just 1 gram of sugar in plain Cheerios. Even healthy-sounding Multigrain Cheerios have added sugar, and contain 6 grams of sugar per serving. If your child wants more sweetness with their cereal, use fresh fruit like bananas, apples or berries for flavor – but steer clear of the flavored Cheerio varieties at the grocery store.