Select content that is important to you from the menu below.
Click on a category, then drag and drop the daily article news feed that interests you into the area below.
View previously published articles with the most recent shown first. Filter the articles by clicking on the category title, Health, Family, Lifestyle, or Nutrition.
The 20 Cereals That Are Actually Healthy (and How to Pick 'Em)
03/12/2014 - 1:00pm by Kissairis Munoz
Cereal: What used to be just a kid’s meal is now America’s favorite breakfast. And it makes sense. Cold cereal makes for a fast, easy, and inexpensive meal or a quick and easy snack.
Still, cereal sometimes gets a bad rap for being packed with sugar, low in protein, and generally lacking nutritional value (Hint: If it has marshmallows in it, it probably isn’t good for you—sorry, Leprechauns). But the abundance of choices in the supermarket aisle means there are some healthy options hiding behind Toucan Sam. While these cereals might not have a prize in the box, they’ll fuel you up to start your day off right.
THE 20 HEALTHIEST CEREALS AROUND
Each cereal chosen is nutritionist-approved and contains a whole grain as the first ingredient, less than 10 grams of sugar per serving, and at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Oh yeah, and they’re delicious. Check out our favorite picks (ranked in alphabetical order) to get your day started right:
1. Barbara’s Original Puffins
This cereal has a lot going for it, and we’re not just talking about the adorable puffin on the box. Crunchy, dairy- and wheat-free, only lightly sweetened, and relatively high in fiber, this is a solid morning option.
2. Barbara’s Cinnamon Puffins
With a little more sweetness than the original Puffins, these corn pillows are a good option for those with a sweet tooth who are still trying to watch their sugar intake. They’ve got 6 grams each of fiber and sugar, so they taste great while keeping you full.
3. Barbara’s Snackimals Vanilla
While they’re probably meant for someone a lot younger, we won’t tell if you eat these tasty little animals straight out of the box. These adorable critters make for a sweet, crunchy, low-cal breakfast or snack.
4. Bob’s Red Mill Crunchy
Thanks to its combination of rich, wholesome flavors—such as molasses, coconut, sesame seeds, and vanilla—this is the perfect cereal to snack on sans milk. It’s also packed with healthy fats courtesy of the coconut.
5. Cascadian Farms Hearty Morning
Granola, bran, and whole grains pack this cereal with 8 grams of fiber, which should keep you full straight through to lunch. Top with your favorite fruits or nuts to add extra flavor.
7. Cascadian Farms Purely O’s
Extremely similar to another brand (cough, Cheerios), this version boasts mainly organic ingredients for a slightly different spin on an old-time favorite.
8. Erewhon Raisin Bran
Loaded with just five ingredients and a whole lot of taste, this organic take on an old classic relies on raisins to add just the right amount of sweetness. With 6 grams of fiber and five grams of protein, this bran should keep you full until lunch.
9. General Mills Cheerios
This American classic is a kitchen staple for a reason. It lists whole grain oats as the first ingredient and boasts 3 grams of fiber per serving. With just 1 gram of sugar per serving, it’s the perfect cereal to top with your favorite fruit. (Just note that Cheerios are pretty low in protein, so it might be worth adding in a tablespoon of nut butter or some plain yogurt.).
10. General Mills Kix
Kid-tested, nutritionist-approved, this childhood fave is low in calories and sugar but has a surprising amount of fiber for a cereal made from whole-grain corn.
11. General Mills Total
This decade-old variety is a workhorse with 100-percent whole grain flaky goodness—and it’s packed with vitamins, to boot. Bonus: Crush this cereal and use it in place of breadcrumbs as a healthier breading in your favorite recipes.
12. General Mills Wheaties
Breakfast of champions? You bet. With just 4 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber, eating these whole grain wheat flakes will certainly make you feel like a champ—even if your face doesn’t grace a Wheaties box.
13. Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Whole Wheat Biscuits
Though it’s made with only four ingredients, this cereal packs a punch. The crunchy biscuits are made from whole-grain wheat and are loaded with 5 grams of fiber per serving. Bonus: With 6 grams of protein per serving, a bowl of this in the morning can reduce hunger long after breakfast is over.
14. Kashi GoLean Vanilla
Not only does this vanilla-sweet cereal have a whopping 9 (!) grams of fiber and less than 10 grams of sugar per serving, its 11 grams of protein up the ante big time (The average cereal has just
15. Kashi Heart to Heart Honey Toasted Oat Cereal
They’ve done it again at Kashi. This good-for-you cereal is loaded with 5 grams of fiber, just 5 grams of sugar, and whole oat flour, making it a great bet for your morning.
16. Lydia’s Organics Berry
A healthy gluten-free option, this cereal is a fruit lover’s dream come true, thanks to a whole lot of berries. It also provides a huge protein punch, with 11 grams per serving, and healthy fats in the form of sunflower seeds.
17. Peace Cereal Goji Berry
These flavorful clusters are mixed with goji berries, which are packed with antioxidants, and topped with protein-rich chia seeds (a superfood in our book!) to keep you satisfied.
18. Peace Cereal Wild Berry
These whole-grain oat clusters are loaded with antioxidant-rich blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. They’re perfect for eating with milk or as a topping for yogurt.
19. Post Foods Grape-Nuts
The story goes that Sir Edmund Hillary, the first climber to reach Mount Everest’s summit, munched on Grape-Nuts during the trek to fuel himself to the top. Even if you’re not climbing mountains, one serving provides you with 100 percent of your daily whole grain needs, 7 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein to help you conquer that project or midterm exam.
20. Quaker Honey Nut Oatmeal Squares
With a slightly sweet honey flavor and a crunchiness that won’t quit (even after adding milk), this cereal is relatively high in protein and serves as a good base for your favorite fruit and nuts. It also goes well thrown into a healthy trail mix.
How to Pick a Better Cereal: Your Action Plan
Ready to tackle the cereal aisle? Three key factors go into selecting a cereal that will offer the best nutritional bang for your buck, says Tina Gowin, RD, CDN: sugar, fiber, and whole grains. And don’t forget about ever-important portion sizes. When choosing a healthier cereal, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Limit sugar. Less than 10 grams of sugar per serving is ideal for satisfying your sweet tooth without turning breakfast into dessert. This is particularly important if you want to avoid a sugar crash later — and the headache, irritability, and anxiety that can come with it (as if you needed something else to worry about!).
- Embrace fiber. To feel fuller longer, look for at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. A diet high in fiber will help digestion, making sure your body er, relieves itself, on a regular basis. It can also reduce cholesterol levels, keep those tricky blood sugar levels steady, and even improve physical performance ((Association between dietary fiber intake and physical performance in older adults: a nationwide study in Taiwan. Wu, IC, Chang, HY, Hsu, CC, et al. Public Library of Science, 2013 Nov 11;8(11):e80209.))
- Don’t skip over the ingredients list. The first ingredient should be a type of whole grain — whether it’s whole wheat, whole oats, or whole barley, whole grains can help promote heart health ((Major cereal grain fibers and psyllium in relation to cardiovascular health. Bernstein, AM, Titgemeier, B., Kirkpatrick, K., et al. Nutrients, 2013 Apr 29;5(5):1471-87)). Also look for ingredients you can recognize and pronounce, rather than processed ones.
- Power up with protein. If you want to bulk up on protein during breakfast, which can help curb overeating later, look for brands with more than 5 grams of protein per serving. Does your favorite cereal fall short? Pair it with an egg or yogurt to round out your morning meal.
- Keep portions in mind. It’s easy to forget that cereals have a suggested serving size — and it can be a lot smaller than what we’re pouring straight from the box. Gowin suggests measuring out the serving as a start to see what it actually looks like and whether more is really necessary. Bulking up cereal with chopped nuts or a piece of fruit, like a sliced banana or a handful of berries, are easy ways to make your bowl more filling if that one serving just isn’t cutting it.
And there you have it: Your guide to navigating the breakfast aisle with ease. Happy munching!
Thanks to nutritionists Jessica Garay Redmond, Tina Gowin, and Lindsey Joe for their contributions to this piece.
Whether it’s during breakfast or as a snack, what’s your favorite healthy cereal to chow down on? Share in the comments below, or get in touch with us on Facebook!