Kristina Swanson, RDN, LDN, offers a word of caution on...

Added Sugars in Breakfast Foods

When it comes to breakfast foods including cereals, granola, packaged oatmeal, toaster pastries and granola bars, a common ingredient many foods have is added sugar. Look at cereal, for example: A cup of a healthier cereal choice can still range from about 8 to 15 grams of added sugar with little protein. The Dietary Guidelines for 2020-2025 for Americans recommends keeping added sugars below 10 percent of your calories. For someone following a 2,000-calorie diet, that is a recommendation of under 50 grams total of added sugars per day.

Research is showing more and more negative implications of having a diet with higher added sugars. If we can slowly reduce our added sugar intake in each food we eat throughout the day, we can make a drastic impact on our health. Think about all the foods we eat in a day. If we can subtract even 2 or 3 grams of added sugar in some of those products, that can be a huge win.

There are a few ways to reduce added sugars, such as using artificial sweeteners or adding a source of natural sweetness from fruits. Try getting a lower-sugar, whole-grain cereal and adding fruit on top, or mix in your favorite cereal with a lower-sugar option to expand the volume of the bowl. Another tip I recommend to clients is to add in a protein source with their carbohydrate-based breakfast. Protein helps us feel more full and satisfied, so having something like eggs with your pancakes or simply drinking the milk with your cereal can help you feel fuller for longer.

When we build a breakfast, we want to make sure to include a protein source, carbohydrates that contain fiber, and a source of healthy fats. For example, one of my favorite breakfast options for on-the-go is plain Greek yogurt, granola, a little bit of nut butter, and berries. Starting the day with a balanced breakfast can help us feel more energized, focused, and can manage blood sugars from a balanced plate.

I love the simple ingredient list and low-sugar content of Gustola Granola. One-third cup of this granola contains only 4 grams of added sugar (lower than so many other options), 4 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and is also a low-sodium option. I like to mix it up by putting granola on not only yogurt, but also with milk, cottage cheese, smoothie bowls and even salads for an extra crunch!


Kristina is a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee in the Twin Cities. Working in a grocery store, she helps customers find foods that are healthier options while also accommodating different health concerns like diabetes, heart health, food allergies and general wellness. To schedule a free virtual grocery store tour on topics including diabetes, general wellness, heart health, gluten-free, sports nutrition, or eating better on a budget, email Kristina at


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