Candy & Soda for Breakfast: A red velvet cupcake Pop-Tart contains more sugar than an actual red velvet cupcake!

Eating a healthy breakfast provides energy to start the day and is important for weight control. In children, a healthy breakfast is essential for proper growth and development and is linked to improved attention and learning in school. Breakfast is often thought of as the most important meal of the day, for good reason. Unfortunately, many common breakfast foods are more similar to candy and soda than a healthy meal to start the day.

Some popular breakfast foods targeted at children include sugar-sweetened cereals, pastries, and bars, many of which look like candy or dessert. Pop Tarts and some granola bars are covered in frosting and favorite cereals often contain marshmallows, chocolate, or are shaped like cookies. No surprise that these foods are as high in calories and sugar as cookies or some candy bars!

Red velvet cupcakes


Kellogg’s Frosted Red Velvet Pop Tarts are a perfect example of a breakfast food that looks and tastes like dessert but is intended to be eaten for breakfast. In fact, these Pop Tarts literally have more sugar than an actual red velvet cupcake! Check it out:

A single Frosted Red Velvet Pop Tart has 190 calories, 36 g carbohydrates, <1 g fiber, and 16 g sugar [source: SmartLabel].

By comparison, a single Kimberley’s Two-Bite Red Velvet Cupcakes has 120 calories, 13 g carbohydrates, <1 g fiber, and 10 g sugar [source: WalMart]. And this is for a MINI cupcake!

The serving size for Pop Tarts is one pastry, but they come in a package of two, so it is likely that people would eat both. Doing that would mean consuming 380 calories, 72 g carbohydrates, <2 g fiber, and 32 g sugar.

To be fair, the serving size for the cupcakes is three. That’s 360 calories, 38 g carbohydrates, <1 g fiber, and 31 g sugar. You could eat three actual red velvet cupcakes and consume about the same number of calories and amount of sugar as Pop Tarts that look like red velvet cupcakes.

Based on this, Pop Tarts really have no place in a healthy breakfast. You can probably still eat them, though, after a healthy lunch or dinner…as dessert!

I call this idea that unhealthy food makes its way onto our breakfast table Candy & Soda for Breakfast. And it’s not just breakfast, either. Lunch, dinner, and snacks frequently include foods that look like a healthy choice but really are candy and soda in disguise.


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