By Kiera Butler and Brett BrownellMother Jones

We’re told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For many of us, it’s also the most rushed. Convenience foods like frozen waffles, toaster pastries, and cereal are quick, comforting, and often nostalgic. (I will always associate Lucky Charms with Girl Scout camping trips.) But how healthy are they? We decided to find out:

Our analysis of the nutritional labels yielded some surprises. For example: Quaker Apple Walnut Oatmeal contained more sugar (22 grams) than a S’mores Pop-Tart (19 grams).

For each category, we tried to choose at least one product whose packaging suggested it was a healthy alternative to traditional breakfast convenience foods. The comparisons were sometimes surprising. For example: Eggo’s Nutri-Grain waffle had more sugar than its buttermilk version.

Nutritionally speaking, the Nature’s Path Wildberry Acai toaster pastry was almost identical to the S’mores Pop-Tart. The only differences were that the Wildberry Acai pastry contained slightly more calories and saturated fat, and only one gram less sugar, than the S’mores version.

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Here’s a comparison of the nutritional labels of each product by category:

Cereals

Breakfast Pastries

Waffles

Oatmeals

Cinnamon Breads

This article was written by Kiera Butler and Brett Brownell and published in Mother Jones on April 15, 2013.  Photo by Emily Weisbrot/Flickr.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. This doesn’t surprise me one bit! I’m gluten intolerant and must pay attention to ingredients which means I also pay attention to the nutritional value. I noticed years ago that many items that are gluten free are higher in Carbs and Calories, often because it takes more ingredients to make the product than just using wheat flour. The fact that instant oatmeal which is flavored and sweetened is the same as a Pop Tart is also not surprising,…just because it says “natural” or has oats doesn’t mean it’s healthy!!!

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