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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

20 Best Healthy Breakfast Cereals (2022 Guide)

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Have you looked at the cereal aisle lately? There are literally a million options, many of which claim to be healthy when they’re not. On top of that, how do you know which healthy breakfast cereals actually taste good? This guide will help you to find the best healthy cereals for you and your family — cereals that taste great, will keep you full and satisfied, and are actually good for you too!

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? The good news is, there are actually quite a few healthy cereals made with wholesome ingredients available at most grocery stores!

Read on to find my tips and tricks for finding the healthiest cereal, my top 20 best healthy cereal picks of 2022, and top cereal FAQs.

10 Tips On How To Find The Healthiest Cereals

When looking for the healthiest breakfast cereal, you want a cereal that has:

  1. 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)
  2. Less sugar: You want less than 6 grams of sugar per serving (any more than that and you’re venturing into dessert territory). Watch out for all of the ingredients that don’t sound like sugar on the nutritional label but actually are – including: cane sugar, fruit juice, high fructose corn syrup, barley malt, evaporated cane juice, maple syrup, honey, and sucrose.
  3. Lots of fiber: At least 4-5 grams of fiber per serving
  4. At least 3 grams of protein per serving
  5. No dried fruit added
  6. No soy protein isolate or soy protein added
  7. “Whole grain” or “bran” or “whole wheat” as the first few ingredients
  8. No weird ingredients / preservatives that you can’t pronounce
  9. Ideally organic ingredients, especially due to glyphosate found in most non-organic cereals
  10. No artificial colors or flavors on the ingredient list.

What Is The Healthiest Cereal To Eat?

The best healthy cereal is any cereal that is organic, high in fiber (at least 5 grams per serving), low in sugar (under 6 grams per serving), under 200 calories per serving, and has no preservatives or artificial colors / flavors added.

Is Cereal Good For Weight Loss?

The answer here is: it depends! Depends on the type of cereal you’re eating and how frequently you’re eating it. If you’re just having cereal once a day for breakfast, and you’re choosing a high fiber/lower calorie/low sugar option, then that can certainly be part of a diet for weight loss. On the other hand, if you’re loading up on sugary cereals multiple times a day, that’s actually a recipe for weight gain!

What Cereal Has No Sugar?

There are a few cereal brands that have no sugar added! All of the best healthy cereals listed below are low in sugar, but cereals with no sugar include: plain oatmeal / rolled oats, One Degree Foods Organic Sprouted O’s, Three Wishes Grain-Free Unsweetened Cereal, Nature’s Path Organic Puffed Kamut, and Uncle Sam Toasted Whole Wheat Berry Flakes & Flaxseed.

What Is The Least Healthy Cereal?

Most Kellogg’s breakfast cereals aimed at kids (Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams, Froot Loops, etc.) are super unhealthy because they’re high in sugar (which leads to those sugar highs and crashes), low in fiber, and contain artificial colors and flavors. Any cereal that has more than 8-9 grams of sugar per serving and contains artificial colors, flavors or preservatives is going to be pretty unhealthy for you!

best healthy cereal - healthiest cereals guide (healthiest breakfast cereals) - photo of a cereal aisle at a grocery store

The Top 20 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals

Healthiest O’s, Puffs, Crunchy Cereal, Oats, and Flakes

forager cereal healthiest cereal
Forager Grain-Free Cereal

Forager Cereals might be my top pick for the best healthy cereal on the market today! They are 100% organic, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, low-sugar, vegan and vegetarian friendly. With a super clean ingredients list like navy beans and cassava root, their cereal is one of the healthiest choices you can make! They come in 3 flavors – plain, cinnamon and chocolate (I like cinnamon the best, it reminds me of a healthy version of cinnamon toast crunch). This is definitely my personal favorite cereal, I eat it daily. l1 cup has 110 calories, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, and 4 grams protein.

sprouted o's cereal
One Degree Foods Organic Sprouted O’s

This whole-grain cereal is the healthiest alternative to Cheerios that I have found. It’s 100% organic vegan, and non-GMO, made with sprouted whole oat flour and sprouted chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Sprouting naturally unlocks stored vitamins and minerals and makes this cereal easier to digest. 3/4 cup has 110 calories, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, and 3 grams protein.

puffed kamut cereal - healthiest cereal
Nature’s Path Organic Puffed Kamut

This Nature’s Path cereal has just one ingredient – organic whole grain Kamut Khorasan wheat. Free from artificial flavors, preservatives and colors, Certified USDA Organic, vegan, and non-GMO. 1 cup has 50 calories, 2 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, and 2 grams protein.

barbara's original puffins - healthiest breakfast cereals
Barbara’s Original Puffins

This is my top pick among all of the Barbara’s Cereals line, it’s also one of the most popular cereals I’ve found for kids that’s actually healthy! Non-GMO, crispy and slightly sweet. 3/4 cup has 90 calories, 5g fiber, 5g sugar and 2g protein. Enjoy it with low-fat milk, or your favorite plant based milk.

kashi heart to heart honey oat - healthiest breakfast cereals
Kashi Heart to Heart, Honey Toasted Oat / Honey Nut

USDA Organic Certified. Perfectly sweet, crunchy and packed with whole grains. 3/4 cup has 120 calories, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, and 3g protein.

kashi heart to heart organic warm cinnamon - healthiest breakfast cereals
Kashi Heart to Heart, Warm Cinnamon

USDA Organic Certified. Very cinnamon-y, crunchy and packed with whole grains. 3/4 cup has 120 calories, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, and 3g protein.

nature's path flax plus bran flakes
Nature’s Path Flax Plus Flakes

The best alternative to corn flakes or bran flakes! Organic, Non-GMO, slightly sweet. 1 cup has 150 calories, 7g fiber, 5g sugar and 5g protein.

barbara's shredded spoonfuls multigrain - healthiest breakfast cereals
Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls Multigrain

The best alternative to shredded wheat (especially frosted shredded wheat). Non-GMO, no high fructose corn syrup (frosted shredded wheat does have HFCS), and sweetened with molasses instead of refined sugar. 3/4 cup has 120 calories, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, and 3g protein.

cascadian farms purely o's - healthiest breakfast cereals
Cascadian Farm Organic Purely O’s

The best alternative to regular Cheerios (which is not organic and has glyphosate residue!) This cereal is USDA Organic, crunchy and mild — perfect for a toddler/kid finger food or cereal. 1.5 cups has 140 calories, 4g fiber, <1g added sugar and 4g protein.

uncle sam's healthy breakfast cereal
Uncle Sam Toasted Whole Wheat Berry Flakes & Flaxseed

Only 4 ingredients, Non-GMO, Vegan. 3/4 cup of this low sugar, high-fiber cereal has 220 calories, 10g fiber, 0g sugar and 8g protein! This honestly would be my #1 pick but taste wise, it’s pretty bland. I recommend buying this and mixing it with one of the cereals above (50-50) to bring a little more flavor to your breakfast bowl!

best healthy cereal - three wishes protein cereal box
Three Wishes Unsweetened Protein Cereal

Three Wishes is a grain-free, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, high protein, paleo friendly cereal! It’s unsweetened option has just 4 simple ingredients: chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein and salt. It’s low in carbs, high in protein and high in fiber: 1 cup contains 146 calories, 3 grams fat, 20 grams carbs, 4 grams fiber, zero grams of sugar and 11 grams of protein!

rolled oats container - best healthy cereal
Nature’s Path Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

Oatmeal is definitely one of the best healthy cereals out there. Organic rolled oats especially are low glycemic compared to their instant oats counterparts – which is beneficial in stabilizing blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It’s packed with nutrition and is rich in B vitamins, has a high fiber content, and lots of essential minerals. 1 cup of cooked rolled oats has 150 calories, 3 g fat, 27g carbs, 4g fiber, only 1 gram of sugar, and 5g protein. The first and only ingredient on the nutrition label is organic rolled oats. Top these whole-grain oats with some sliced banana and peanut butter for a filling and complete meal!

Healthiest Granola, Raisin Bran, and Gluten Free Cereal

This next set of cereals is focused on the healthiest granola, raisin bran and gluten free cereal options!

kind granola - healthiest breakfast cereals
KIND Granola Oats & Honey

This breakfast staple is gluten free, non-GMO, slightly sweet and the perfect topping for greek yogurt bowls or smoothie bowls. 1/3 of a cup has 120 calories, 2g fiber, 5g sugar and 2g protein.

bear naked fit granola healthiest breakfast cereals
Bear Naked Fit Vanilla Almond Crunch Granola

These crunchy clusters are non-GMO, with whole grain oats and hearty almonds. 1/4 cup has 120 calories, 2g fiber, 3g sugar and 3g protein. A great choice for a low calorie, low sugar granola.

natures path flax plus raisin bran - healthiest breakfast cereals
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). It is high in fiber and contains healthy fats from the flax seeds. The Nature’s Path version has 168 calories for 1 cup, 7.2g fiber, 10.4g sugar (only 4.8g added sugar) and 5g protein.

purely elizabeth granola
Purely Elizabeth Granola

USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Made with quinoa, amaranth and chia. A great healthy cereal option if you’re looking for a low sugar way to get your granola fix. 1/3 of a cup has 140 calories, 2g fiber, 6g sugar, 3g protein.

Seven Sundays Blueberry Chia Buckwheat Muesli
Seven Sundays Blueberry Chia Buckwheat Muesli

Certified gluten free, made with wild blueberries, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds for more protein. 1/2 cup has 250 calories, 6g fiber, 3g added sugar and 8g protein.

Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal, Original
Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal, Original

USDA Organic, made with sprouted live grains, legumes, seeds and has absolutely no flour! 1/2 cup has 190 calories, 6g fiber, 0g sugar and 8g protein. This would be my top granola pick, but just like the Uncle Sam cereal, it’s a little on the bland side and works well when paired with another cereal 50-50. They have a few other flavors (Almond, Golden Flax, etc.) that are equally good for you!

love grown original power o's
Love Grown Original Power O’s

Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten free and made with beans and lentils! 1 serving size (1 cup) has 130 calories, 4g fiber, 2g sugar and 6g protein.

Barbara's Bakery Puffins Cereal, Honey Rice
Barbara’s Puffins Honey Rice

A great option for a gluten-free cereal that also happens to be Non-GMO and is made with whole grain brown rice and no artificial ingredients. 3/4 cup has 120 calories, 3g fiber, 6g sugar, and 2g protein.

Healthy Cereal FAQs

What Makes A Cereal Nutritious?

Healthy whole grains, plant protein, and a small amount of added sugar makes for a nutritious cereal. When trying to find the healthiest cereal, if you prioritize cereals that are low in sugar (less than 6 grams per serving) and high in fiber (4 grams or more per serving), you’ll likely find a good option that will keep you full all the way until lunch!

And when in doubt, choose organic, gluten free rolled oats and make oatmeal for breakfast – because that is guaranteed to be healthy every time!

Note: If you’re feeding an especially picky eater, I recommend supplementing with an organic kids vitamin along with their breakfast to ensure they’re getting all of the nutrients they need!

Is Raisin Bran Healthy?

Raisin Bran is certainly a popular cereal, but unfortunately the most common Raisin Bran cereal brands (made by Kellogg’s and Post) are not healthy for you. While the name “Raisin Bran” sounds healthy, it’s actually loaded with calories and sugar – because of the amount of raisins included in the cereal. Raisins are dried fruit, and dried fruit overall is concentrated in sugar, since it doesn’t have all of the water that its fresh fruit counterparts contain.

One serving of Post’s Raisin Bran cereal (1.25 cups) contains 210 calories and 20 grams of sugar. Kellogg’s is no better – one serving (1 cup) contains 190 calories and 17 grams of sugar. That’s almost the same amount of sugar in a can of Coke, or a regular sized Snickers Bar! For a healthy Raisin Bran type cereal, try Nature’s Path Flax Plus Raisin Bran instead.

Is Granola Healthy?

Granola typically runs into the same problem as Raisin Bran – way too much sugar and calories packed into a small serving! Making granola at home will result in a healthier granola since you can control the amount of sugar and fat added to the recipe (like this low calorie granola recipe that is super low in sugar!)

If you are looking for a pre-made/store-bought granola, follow the same rules as you would when looking for any healthy cereal (low in sugar, high in fiber). I like KIND Granola, Bare Naked Fit Granola, and Purely Elizabeth Granola. Remember, with granola, portion size matters – you can go overboard even with the healthy granola brands if you eat more than 1 serving per day!

Are Cheerios Healthy?

On the surface, Cheerios look healthy: one serving (1.5 cups) has 140 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein (and they are gluten-free). However, because Cheerios are not organic, they have been found to contain high levels of the carcinogen glyphosate – so I wouldn’t recommend them!

Instead, try One Degree Foods Sprouted O’s or Cascadian Farms Purely O’s.

Check Out These Other Healthy Eating Guides!

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!

62 responses to “20 Best Healthy Breakfast Cereals (2022 Guide)”

  1. Hello –

    I’d be very much interested in hearing your thoughts on the nutritional aspects of muesli.

    Thanks.

    • Hi Mike! Muesli can be healthy, but the store bought versions often have sugar added, or too many dried fruits added, which drives up the sugar content. Homemade muesli made from whole grains, oats, nuts, and a very small amount of dried fruit with no sugar added can be healthy. Hope that helps!

  2. Post shredded wheat biscuits are quite healthy. 2 biscuits are 170 calories and have 7grams of fiber and 0 grams of sugar. Ingredients list says whole grain wheat and BHT for freshness. Old Fashioned Quaker Oats are good as well. 1/2 cup dry has 150 calories 4 grams of fiber and 1g of total sugar. Ingredients are whole grain oats. Nothing else.

    • Hi Pat! Thanks for reaching out! While Post shredded wheat does have some good qualities (no sugar, high fiber, relatively low calorie, only one ingredient). The BHT basically makes this cereal totally unhealthy. BHT is a preservative that’s banned in Europe due to its likely nature as a carcinogen (more details here). Old Fashioned Quaker Oats have a similar problem as shredded wheat — on the surface they look good (low sugar, high fiber, low calorie, one ingredient), but because their oats are not organic, they use glyphosate (a very toxic pesticide) on their wheat crops – and Old Fashioned Quaker Oats were one of the cereals with the highest concentration of detectable glyphosate (more details here). Based on that – I excluded both of these cereals from my list. Hope that helps!

  3. As cited by you under Kellog’s Raisin Bran that it has high sugar due to high proportion of raisins, but does removing those Raisins to reduce sugar be a good tweak?

    I mean to say the existing Raisin Bran products can be modified to achieve low sugar instead of buying an expensive product with no taste. Please confirm my assessment.

    • Hi Harry! I do think removing the raisins from Raisin Bran would be a good tweak. I don’t know how the sugar content breaks down between raisins & the flakes, but removing the raisins would reduce the sugar for sure!

  4. I’m looking for organic Raisin Bran with lowest sugar, also affordable. Nature’s Path Organic Flax Plus Raisin Bran Cereal fits that criteria as per you, but it has 6g of added sugar, when compared to Great Value’s Raisin Bran it is very similar. How is the Nature Path’s option better?

    https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/592b068a-30e4-49fe-bfb2-45fb144d50ae_1.0edc655cf62eb1c54b2aa22261ef6365.jpeg

    Secondly, can you suggest an affordable and organic Raisin Bran cereal with close to zero-sugar?

    • Hi Harry! There are three reasons why I prefer Nature’s Path over the Great Value version. 1) Nature’s Path has only 13 grams of total sugar and 6 grams of added sugar, vs. Great Value having 22 grams of total sugar and 7 grams of added sugar per serving. My guess is that Great Value uses way more raisins than Nature’s Path. And even though the added sugar is similar, the total sugar matters too – since it’s the equivalent of eating a ton of raisins which are still very high on the glycemic index. 2) Nature’s Path has more fiber and protein per serving than Great Value 3) Nature’s Path is organic and Great Value is not. Non organic cereals are made from ingredients that are sprayed with pesticides (notably, glyphosate – which is a carcinogen), and those pesticides do end up being detectable on the cereal.
      To your second question, unfortunately there is no Raisin Bran cereal with zero sugar on the market today! That’s because raisins, inherently, are high in sugar since they are just dried grapes. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Hello Anjali,

        Thanks for your response. Great Value does have Bran cereal without Raisins in Walmart. They are not easy to find since they keep very few stock due to low popularity, but advantage here is they have the least sugar in the Bran cereal category.
        Lastly, I agree Great Value does not have organic cereal. I wished the Bran cereal would have been organic and non-GMO!

  5. Gosh, it’s hard to beat FiberOne but too am very concerned about glyphosate. 18 g of fiber and zero sugar & it tastes out of this world!

    • Fiber One is great from a fiber standpoint, but you are right about the glyphosate! It also has added sucralose which really isn’t good (that’s how it keeps the 0 grams of sugar stat). I’d recommend an organic fiber cereal from your local grocery store if you need something super high in fiber! Hope that helps!

  6. I eat Publix Greenwise corn flakes. They have 150 calories per 1 and 1/4 cup serving. They are organic have only three ingredients: organic milled corn, organic cane sugar, and se salt, they contain 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and only 3 grams of sugar.

  7. Hi Anjali,

    We are using “Nature’s Path Organic Granola Cereal” for quite sometime. Appreciate your inputs on this?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Srikanth! It’s not bad for a granola (since most granolas are pretty high in sugar and calories), but it’s also not great — it’s sort of in the middle. 1 serving of the granola cereal is only 1/3 of a cup which is pretty small. 1/3 of a cup has 140 calories and 6 grams of added sugar. But if you compare that to regular cereal and make it an apples to apples comparison, it’s high in calories and higher in sugar than the other cereals on my list. For example, 1 cup of the granola has 420 calories and 18 grams of added sugar — vs. 1 cup of Kashi Heart to Heart has 160 calories and 6.6 grams of sugar. Hope that helps!

    • Hi Jessie! Plain Cheerios have some good things going for them: whole grains / contains fiber, very low sugar, low in calories. My only issue with Cheerios is that because they are not organic, the toxic pesticide glyphosate is used on the wheat / oats that go into Cheerios. In 2020, the EWG found that levels of glyphosate in Cheerios were 729 ppb and in Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch the levels reached 833 ppb. The EWG considers 160 ppb to be the highest level safe for children’s food. (source) — that’s my main reason for not recommending Cheerios! Hope that helps!

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