The Picky Eater’s 10 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on July 24, 2012

We’ve all been there.

The cereal aisle.

Rows and rows of colorful boxes with labels like “whole grain” and “all natural” and “organic” – but which one is actually the healthiest?

I literally used to stand in the cereal aisle forEVER – trying to see past the packaging and find the “truth” about which cereal was the healthiest for me.

The husband once got so bored of me standing there, that he pulled out a book and started reading. No joke.

What, specifically, was I looking for in the cereal aisle? I was looking for a cereal that aligned with all of my “healthy cereal” criteria.

So, before I get to my list of the top 10 healthiest breakfast cereals, here are my Healthy Cereal Rules: 

  • No more than 150 calories per 3/4-1 cup serving (note: for Granola or Raisin Bran type cereals which tend to be denser, you want no more than ~200 calories for 1/2 cup serving)
  • Less than 8g sugar per serving (although 5-6g of sugar is ideal and what I strive for)
  • At least 4-5g fiber per serving
  • No dried fruit
  • The first few ingredients should say “whole grain” or “bran” or “whole wheat”
  • At least 3g protein per serving
  • No weird ingredients / preservatives that I can’t pronounce
Recently, on my Facebook Page, Mona asked for some recommendations for healthy breakfast cereal. So here goes: The Picky Eater’s 10 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals – some of these I eat on a daily basis!
.
Healthy Cereal #1: Barbara’s Original PuffinsI love Barbara’s Cereals – not only are they crunchy, tasty and hearty, they contain NO artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, refined white sugar or hydrogenated oils. The Original Puffins have 3/4 cup has 90 calories, 5g fiber, 5g sugar and 2g protein.
.
Healthy Cereal #2: Kashi Heart to Heart, Honey Toasted Oat CerealLightly sweet, it’s a combination of honey toasted O’s made with whole grain oats. Think of it as a higher fiber and better tasting alternative to Honey Nut Cheerios. 3/4 cup has 120 calories, 5g fiber, 5g sugar, 3g protein.
.
Healthy Cereal #3: Nature’s Path Flax Plus FlakesWith the added healthy fats from the Flax seeds in this cereal, you really can’t go wrong. I like to sweeten it with a bit of stevia since this cereal is particularly low in sugar. 3/4 cup has 110 calories, 5g fiber, 4g sugar, 4g protein.
.
Healthy Cereal #4: Kellogg’s All Bran Original CerealThis cereal is packed with fiber. 1/2 cup has 80 calories, 10g fiber, 6g sugar, and 4g protein. I like mixing it in with other cereals – it bulks up the bowl without adding a ton of calories.
.
Healthy Cereal #5: Kashi Go Lean Original: This cereal is great for people who are ok with eating soy protein, and who want a bit of a protein kick in the morning. This cereal tastes great too, and is a mix of  “crunchy fiber twigs, crispy soy protein grahams, and honey-toasted Seven Whole Grains & Sesame puffs.” 1 cup has 140 calories, 10g fiber, 6g sugar, and 13g protein.
.
Healthy Cereal #6: Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls MultigrainThis is a great alternative to shredded wheat, especially frosted shredded wheat. Barbara’s cereal has no high fructose corn syrup (like frosted shredded wheat does), and is molasses-sweetened which makes it much better for you! 3/4 cup has 120 calories, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, and 4g protein.
.
Healthy Cereal #7: Cheerios: Now, while I would never pick this as my primary cereal (it’s not hearty or filling enough), it’s a good alternative if you have limited options (because you can pretty much get Cheerios everywhere). Keep in mind – you have to stick with the original, since new versions are candied up with sugar and calories. 1 cup has only 110 calories, 3g fiber, 1g sugar, and 3g protein.
.
Healthy Cereal #8: Nature’s Path Flax Plus Raisin Bran: While it’s slightly higher in calories, this is a great alternative to traditional Kellogg’s Raisin Bran (which has tons of sugar – 18g per serving). The Nature’s Path version has 190 calories for 3/4 cup, 8g fiber, 12g sugar and 6g protein. If you want a version with even less sugar, try the Whole Foods 365 Raisin Bran – that cereal has only 8g sugar!
.
Healthy Cereal #9: Bear Naked Fit Vanilla Almond Crunch GranolaGranola in general is higher in calories than most other cereals, but if you really are having a granola craving – this is the healthiest, all-natural, lowest in sugar variety I could find. 1/4 cup has 120 calories, 2g fiber, 4g sugar and 4g protein.
.
Healthy Cereal #10: Gluten-Free Barbara’s Puffins Honey RiceFor those who are looking for a gluten-free option, I like this cereal better than most gluten-free cereals because it’s higher in fiber and low in sugar. 3/4 cup has 120 calories, 3g fiber, 6g sugar, and 2g protein.
.
I hope this list helps you to pick out a great and satisfying cereal – it’s the perfect excuse to make a healthy start to your day. Just make sure to stock up on milk :) Enjoy!
.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings July 25, 2012 at 5:20 am

Besides for Cheerios- I haven’t tried any of these…going to add some to the grocery list- thanks!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 25, 2012 at 7:50 am

Oh yay! I’m so excited for you to try some of these – they’re all such great options for a hearty start to the day. Let me know which one ends up being your favorite!

Reply

Kaleigh July 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Just added this list to my grocery list. Thought I would have seen Fiber One cereal on here. Would it qualify as an honorable mention? Looking forward to trying some of these new ones! Thanks for posting.

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 25, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Thanks Kaleigh! Regarding Fiber One – I actually left it off the list because it has Aspartame and artificial colors added to it – so All Bran is actually a healthier version of Fiber One :) Hope that helps – and can’t wait to hear how you like some of these cereals!

Reply

Aimee & Simon July 26, 2012 at 3:46 am

This is a great list which we will be adding to our phones so we have it at the market! Thanks for the great tips!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 26, 2012 at 7:59 am

Yay! So glad it’s helpful :) And hopefully it will save you time when you’re in that looong cereal aisle! Happy shopping!

Reply

Anita at Hungry Couple July 26, 2012 at 6:47 am

I’ve also stood in the cereal aisle forever making lists of healthy cereals. :) Number 2 on your list is my favorite and the one I eat every day. I usually look for as much fiber as possible but some of the higher fiber cereals are just inedible. The cardboard packaging would probably taste better. :)

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

Omg I know – isn’t Kashi Heart to Heart the best? I eat that + Barbara’s Original Puffins + Nature’s Path Flax Plus Flakes every day (yes – I’m one of those weird people that combine cereals :) ). I totally agree that most of the super high fiber cereals are inedible – and honestly 5g fiber + fruit in the morning is a good amount of fiber to start your day. The only high fiber one that I find to be pretty good is All Bran, especially if you mix it with Kashi or one of the others on the list. Interested to hear what you think if you end up trying that one of these days!

Reply

Anthony July 29, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Instead of going straight for the Kellogg Special K or the Cheerios, I am 100 % going to check these cereals out! This information was extremely useful for someone like me who needs to start the day in a healthy way. Loved the Healthy Cereal rules too! Thanks Again!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 30, 2012 at 7:52 am

That’s so great! I’m so excited for you to try some of these cereals – they’ll keep you feeling full much longer than something like Special K will (more fiber/protein in these options). Enjoy – let me know which one you end up choosing! :)

Reply

Janet August 19, 2012 at 1:20 am

I love your breakfast cereal collection here. Delicious and healthy. Great for a complete and energizing breakfast.

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 19, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Thank you so much Janet! I’m so glad it’s helpful – let me know which one’s your favorite after you try some of them!

Reply

Sens November 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Hi,
Many many thanks for the breakfast cereal collections…

Kellogs cornflakes are good but I was looking for some change and landed on your page… Will look and try some new ones :)

Thank you

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Oh great! I’m so glad this list is helpful for you! You’ll have to let me know which cereal you end up trying :) Have fun exploring at the grocery store!

Reply

Sens November 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Yes sure…
I will go for barley or oats this time :)

Thank you

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Awesome! Enjoy!

Reply

Palak March 4, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Have you tried the Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted cereal? The almond flavor added with a little bit of a natural sugar and warm milk is just divine!!! Also, half a cup has 8 grams of protein and about 200 calories. I eat this cereal the days I am in a rush, its super filling too!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 4, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Hi Palak! You know, I haven’t tried it – but it honestly sounds amazing and that it would totally make my list! Thanks for the tip! :)

Reply

mase June 6, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Uncle Sam Original? I remember it being high fiber(flax seed) and ultra low sugar (like 1g) Both kinds of fiber too.. and relatively inexpensive.. nice list

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Thanks Mase! That’s a great point! Uncle Sam’s Original is an awesome cereal as well – consider it #11 on this list :)

Reply

Frank N. October 30, 2013 at 12:23 am

I am very glad to see another stand in the cereal aisle reading labels, of course I stand in all the aisles reading labels.
Thanks for your suggestions, I will follow up on it.

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater October 30, 2013 at 10:07 am

So glad you found this helpful Frank!

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: