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Kids Who Often Eat Cereal Weigh Less

Cereal Eaters Have Less Body Fat Than Kids Who Skip Breakfast

Cereal, Milk, and Breakfast continued...

When kids or adults eat cereal, Bonci points out, they aren't eating doughnuts or sweet rolls -- which are little more than sugar and fat. Are there better things to eat than ready-to-eat cereal? Sure. But taken together with the facts that 1) it's breakfast, and 2) it's got milk, cereal looks pretty darn good.

"Without a doubt, by eating cereal for breakfast you are jump-starting the body and making it burn calories all day long, which keeps weight down," Bonci says. "And most kids aren't eating cereal out of their hands. They are taking it with milk. So now there is protein on the meal, and you are sitting down to eat. The body finds that more satisfying than grabbing a breakfast bar or Pop Tart and running out the door."

Making Kids and Parents Feel Better

But don't kids like those awful kinds of cereal that are full of bad stuff? Actually, Albertson says, kids like variety. She says General Mills' research shows that the average household with kids stocks about a dozen different brands of cereal. Not all of the favorites are super sugary.

"I talk to a lot of parents and they say, 'How can I put sweetened cereal on the table?'" Bonci says. "I say, well, you want your kids to eat breakfast. They like taste and fun. We can have best of both worlds: Mix plain cereal with sweetened ones. Sweet cereals still have the grain and nutrition and protein from milk."

Albertson agrees that kids' No. 1 choice for breakfast is, hands down, ready-to-eat cereal.

"I have three kids ages 9, 11, and 15. If I can send them out the door with a cereal breakfast, I know I have done a good thing," she says. "Kids who skip breakfast don't make up those nutrients later in the day. If their favorite brand of ready-to-eat cereal makes them eat breakfast, that is a good thing."

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