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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!

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

  1. Hi! Could you please give me a review on Kellogg’s All Bran Natural Nutri Fiber Cereal? I’ve been eating this one and I’d like to consider your opinion. Thanks!

    • Hi Kate! What do you mean by “instant cereal”? Do you mean instant oatmeal? If so, I don’t recommend instant oats at all because they are high-glycemic. Instead, I recommend rolled oats or steel cut oats and cooking them in the microwave or on the stovetop!

  2. I eat Red River breakfast cereal which has steel cut wheat, steel cut cracked rye, and whole flax. I recently read that most wheat now grown has been modified and is not good for you. Your opinion, please.
    Thanks, Frank

    • Hi Frank! The ingredients in Red River cereal actually look good! But yes, to your point, most wheat that is not organic either has GMOs or glyphosate residue — so I always recommend buying non-GMO wheat (and ideally, organic wheat). But that’s not always possible, and in those instances a cereal like Red River is still a good option since it has 100% whole grains and no added sugar!

    • I just phoned the red river questions phone line in Canada and the person reassured me that it is definitely NOT GMO. She said their management is definitely looking to add this to the label as well. Can this verbal answer be trusted?

      • That is really helpful to know and thank you for looking into that! I think it’s about as good of an answer you can get – especially if they are planning to update their labeling to indicate that.

  3. Anjali, this is so helpful! I actually rarely buy cereal but when I do, I try to stick with organic because of glyphosate. So glad that you mentioned it!

  4. I just started buying the Nature’s Path Raisin Bran with Flax and I’m obsessed! I’m extremely health conscious and just started a diet program that resembles Eat Stop Eat. It’s basically intermittent fasting. When I come off of a 24 hour fast, the first thing I want is Nature’s Path Raisin Bran with Flax. It’s so satisfying and healthy. Gets the system going well and I love how packed with fiber it is and high in protein. Just what you need to keep things moving. It’s so nutty and crunchy too. Thank you for the validation in naming it one of the healthier cereals! This made my day

  5. I just looked up the 365 Raisin Bran because I want an alternative to Kellogg’s with all the sugar. Your post says that is contains 6 grams of sugar but I just read the package and it has 16 grams per one cup.

    • Hi Lara, that’s a great point. This post was written 6 years ago, and I believe the formulation of the 365 Raisin Bran has changed since then. The formulation of the other raisin bran I recommend in the post (Nature’s Path) also changed in the past 6 years! I have updated my post with the correct info and have removed 365 Raisin Bran from the list. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  6. Glad i stopped here and took a peak. I’m starting a new healthy lifestyle regimen on Monday and i know I won’t have time every morning to wip up something fast and tasty to eat. So i was going thru healthy cereal suggestions and came across your website. Thanks for the great tips and list of cereals. Will really save me time in the cereal isles reading away :). Great site and helpful. Thanks again and God bless.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your journey Ann! I’m so glad this post was helpful! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions on other healthy things to eat as you begin this new regimen!

  7. 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.

  8. 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

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

  9. 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!

    • 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! 🙂

  10. 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

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

    • 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!

  12. 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!

    • 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! 🙂

  13. 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. 🙂

    • 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!

  14. 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!

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

  15. 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.

    • 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!

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

    • 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!

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