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 Puffins:
I 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 Cereal:
Lightly 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 Flakes:
With 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 Cereal:
This 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 Multigrain:
This 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 Granola:
Granola 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 Rice:
For 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!