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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 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals

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Have you looked at the cereal aisle lately? There are seemingly a million types of cereal, many of which claim to be healthy but the nutrition facts panel suggests otherwise. So which are the healthiest cereals? And how do you know if healthy cereal actually tastes good? This guide will help you to find the best healthy cereals to eat that taste great, will keep you full and satisfied, and are actually good for you and your family too!

An overhead shot of a bowl of granola with milk and blueberries on the counter with small cups of granola and nuts.

Browsing the cereal aisle in the grocery store can feel overwhelming. There are rows and rows of boxes claiming to be healthy with labels like “whole grain”, “all-natural” and “organic” – but which ones are actually the healthiest?

The good news is that there are plenty of healthy cereals made with wholesome ingredients at most grocery stores! So instead of providing the top 10 healthiest cereals, I rounded up twice as many recommendations to give you plenty of nutritious and delicious options! Read on for my tips and tricks for finding the healthiest cereal, my top 20 best healthy cereal brands, and healthy cereal FAQs.

What Are the Healthiest Cereals to Eat?

The cereal aisle can be so overwhelming; it’s natural to wonder what cereal is healthy! A good healthy cereal for adults and kids will have a short ingredient list, at least 4-5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and less than 6 grams of sugar per serving.

The best cereals are made with organic, whole food ingredients and use “whole grain”, “bran”, “whole wheat” or grain-free sources. They are also minimally processed, so they don’t have soy, preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors. Healthy cereal brands will have a well-rounded nutritional value profile and be under 200 calories per ¾-1 cup serving.

What Ingredients Should You Avoid in Breakfast Cereals?

As a general rule of thumb, steer clear of artificial ingredients and food dyes, hydrogenated oils, extra sugar, GMOs, harmful chemicals like glyphosate (Source: CBS News), and additives/preservatives like BHT, BHA, or fortified vitamins. The healthiest breakfast cereal will not contain any of these ingredients.

What Are the Least Healthy Cereals?

Most general mills or Kellogg’s fortified 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 flavors and colors. Any cereal that has more than 8-9 grams of sugar per serving and contains artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives is likely to be pretty unhealthy for you (Source: NCBI)!

Shots of cereal aisles on grocery stores.

Can You Lose Weight By Eating Cereal?

If you’re trying to lose weight, you might wonder if cereal is healthy. The answer here is: it depends! It depends on the type of cereal you’re eating and how frequently you’re eating it. If you’re choosing low-sugar cereals that have high fiber, lower calories, and are a good source of protein, then eating one bowl of cereal per day can certainly be part of a diet for weight loss (Source: Insider). On the other hand, if you’re loading up on sugary cereals multiple times a day, that can be a recipe for weight gain!

What Cereal Has No Sugar?

There are a few healthier 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.

The Top 20 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals

From the healthiest o’s, puffs, crunchy cereal, and flakes, to oats, granola, bran and raisin bran cereal, we have got you covered with this list of the healthiest cereals. You’ll even find quite a few grain free and gluten free cereals to try that are healthy for you too!

Forager Grain-Free Cereal

forager cereal healthiest 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, whole food based, paleo, low-sugar, vegan, and vegetarian friendly. With a super clean ingredients list like chickpeas, navy beans, and cassava root as the first ingredient, their cereal is one of the healthiest choices you can make! They come in 3 flavors – plain, chocolate, and cinnamon (which is one of the best-tasting healthy cereal options I’ve found that resembles cinnamon toast crunch!) This is definitely the healthiest cereal for adults and kids and is one of my personal favorite cereals, I eat it daily.

Ingredients: Ground Chickpeas, Cassava Flour, Cane Sugar, Ground Navy Beans, Pea Protein, Psyllium Husk Powder, Sunflower Oil and/or Safflower Oil, Cinnamon, Sunflower Lecithin

Nutritional Info: 1 cup has 110 calories, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, and 4 grams protein.

Price: $7.69 for a 7.5oz box.

Pros
Allergen-friendly, gluten-free, grain-free, vegan
Only 4 grams sugar per serving
Comes in 3 flavors
Delicious taste
Healthy organic cereal
High in fiber and protein
Cons
On the pricier side
Buy Now

One Degree Foods Sprouted Rolled Oats

One degree foods rolled oats bag

Oatmeal is definitely one of the best healthy cereals out there. It will always be the best sugar-free cereal and least processed cereal option that is also high in fiber, has protein, and is super filling. I love One Degree Foods’ products because all of their healthy cereals are sprouted, organic, and non-GMO. Sprouted grains have more available vitamins & minerals than regular grains, less starch, and are easier to digest (Source: One Degree Organic Foods). One Degree also has sprouted steel-cut oats, sprouted quick oats, and a Sprouted O’s dry cereal!

Ingredients: Organic sprouted rolled oats

Nutritional Info: 1/3 cup uncooked has 140 calories, 4 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, and 6 grams protein.

Price: $8.19 for a 24oz package.

Pros
No sugar
Gluten free, organic sprouted grains, non GMO
High in fiber and protein
Natural ingredients, and only 1 ingredient!
Versatile
Also great for healthy baking
Kid-friendly
Cons
Requires prep or cooking time
On the pricier side
Buy Now

Nature’s Path Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

rolled oats container - best healthy cereal

Organic rolled oats are a lower glycemic option in comparison to their instant oat counterparts – which is beneficial in stabilizing blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Oats are one of the best cereals to eat, because they are packed with nutrition and are rich in B vitamins, have a high fiber content, and host of essential minerals. The first and only ingredient on the nutrition label for this healthy cereal brand is organic rolled oats. Top these whole-grain oats with sliced bananas, a handful of berries, or a drizzle of peanut butter for a filling and complete meal!

Ingredients: Organic whole grain rolled oats

Nutritional Info: 1 cup of cooked rolled oats has 150 calories, 3 g fat, 27 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0-1 g sugar, and 5 g protein.

Price: $3.72 for an 18oz package.

Pros
Organic and non GMO
More budget-friendly
High in fiber, best heart healthy cereal
No sugar
Vegan and Vegetarian-Friendly
Also great for healthy baking
Kid-friendly
Cons
Not certified gluten free
Requires prep or cooking time
Buy Now

Nature’s Path Organic Puffed Kamut

puffed kamut cereal - healthiest cereal

This Nature’s Path cereal has just one ingredient – organic whole-grain Kamut Khorasan wheat. Free from artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors, it is certified USDA organic, vegan, and non-GMO. It’s one of the lowest calorie cereals that you can’t really go wrong with!

Ingredients: Organic whole grain kamut khorasan wheat

Nutritional Info: 1 cup has 50 calories, 2 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, and 2 grams protein.

Price: $3.41 for a 6oz bag.

Pros
Organic and non GMO
Made with 1 ingredient
Affordable
Low calorie
Great for mixing with other cereals or topping with fruit and nuts
Versatile
Cons
Can be bland
Buy Now

Barbara’s Original Puffins

barbara's original puffins - healthiest breakfast cereals

This is my top pick among all of the Barbara’s Cereals line, and it is also one of the most popular cereals I’ve found for kids that’s actually healthy! It has simple ingredients, is non-GMO, crispy, and slightly sweet. Enjoy this healthy cold cereal with low-fat milk, or your favorite plant-based milk like unsweetened almond milk or oat milk.

Ingredients: Yellow corn flour, corn bran flour, unsulphured molasses, whole oat flour, expeller pressed high oleic oil (canola and/or sunflower), salt, baking soda, vitamin c (ascorbic acid), natural vitamin e (mixed tocopherols to maintain freshness)

Nutritional Info: 1 cup has 130 calories, 6g fiber, 6g sugar and 3g protein.

Price: $6.70 for a 10oz box.

 

Pros
High in fiber and protein
Non GMO
Lightly sweet flavor
Kid-friendly
Cons
Not organic
Does include canola/sunflower oil
Somewhat expensive
Buy Now

Kashi Heart to Heart, Honey Toasted Oat / Honey Nut

kashi heart to heart honey oat - healthiest breakfast cereals

This is a great healthier alternative to Honey Nut Cheerios. Kashi Heart to Heart is delicious and comes in two flavors (Honey Nut and Cinnamon). It is USDA Organic Certified, non-GMO, and can support heart health. This is one of the best oat cereal brands because it’s perfectly sweet, crunchy, and packed with whole grains.

Ingredients: Whole oat flour, degerminated yellow cornmeal, invert cane syrup, oat fiber, honey, salt, expeller pressed canola oil, natural flavors, iron (ferric phosphate), mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) for freshness.

Nutritional Info: 1 cup has 150 calories, 6 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar, and 4 grams protein.

Price: $6.49 for a 12oz box.

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
Tastes great
Healthier alternative to Honey Nut Cheerios
Great source of whole grains and fiber
Kid-friendly
Easily found in most grocery stores
Cons
Higher in sugar (just under 6g/serving threshold)
Buy Now

Kashi Heart to Heart, Warm Cinnamon

kashi heart to heart organic warm cinnamon - healthiest breakfast cereals

This cinnamon version of Kashi Heart to Heart is just as delicious as its honey nut counterpart, is a heart healthy cereal, and has all of the same benefits as the other flavor! It’s organic, non-GMO, sweet, crunchy, and packed with whole grains.

Ingredients: Whole oat flour, degerminated yellow cornmeal, invert cane syrup, oat fiber, honey, cinnamon, salt, expeller pressed canola oil, iron (ferric phosphate), natural flavors, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) for freshness, ginger, cardamom

Nutritional Info: 1 cup has 150 calories, 5 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar, and 4 grams protein.

Price: $6.49 for a 12oz box.

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
Tastes great
High in fiber and whole grains
Vegan and vegetarian-friendly
Kid-friendly
Cons
Higher in sugar (just under 6g/serving threshold)
Buy Now

Nature’s Path Flax Plus Flakes

nature's path flax plus bran flakes

The best alternative to cornflakes or branflakes! It’s the healthiest bran cereal option I’ve found that’s widely available in grocery stores. These flax-based flakes are hearty, filling, and packed with healthy fats thanks to the omega-3-rich flaxseeds. This cereal is organic, Non-GMO, vegan, kosher, and slightly sweet.

Ingredients: Whole Wheat Flour, Wheat Bran, Evaporated Cane Juice, Flax, Oat Bran, Barley Malt Extract, Sea Salt, tocopherols (Natural Vitamin E)

Nutritional Info: 1 cup has 150 calories, 7g fiber, 5g sugar and 5g protein.

Price: $3.79 for a 13.25oz box

Pros
High in fiber and whole grains
Organic and non-GMO
Affordable
Rich in healthy fats
Cons
Have 5g added sugar but don’t taste sweet
Buy Now

Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls Multigrain

barbara's shredded spoonfuls multigrain - healthiest breakfast cereals

This healthy whole grain cereal is the best alternative to shredded wheat (especially frosted shredded wheat)! It is non-GMO, has no high fructose corn syrup (frosted shredded wheat does have high fructose corn syrup), is vegan-friendly, and is sweetened with molasses instead of refined sugar.

Ingredients: Whole oat flour (with added oat bran), yellow corn flour (with added corn bran), unsulphured molasses, whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda, natural vitamin e (mixed tocopherols to maintain freshness), vitamin c (ascorbic acid)

Nutritional Info: 1 cup has 140 calories, 5g fiber, 7g sugar, and 5g protein.

Price: $5.49 for a 14oz box.

Pros
Non-GMO
High in fiber and whole grains
More affordable
Tastes great
Vegan and vegetarian-friendly
Kid-friendly
Cons
Higher in sugar (but under 6g/serving threshold)
Buy Now

Cascadian Farm Organic Purely O’s

cascadian farms purely o's - healthiest breakfast cereals

The best healthy alternative to regular Cheerios! Regular Cheerios are not organic and are high in glyphosate residue (a pesticide). This is one of the best organic cereals because they taste just like regular Cheerios. They are made with 100% organic and non-GMO ingredients which means you don’t have to worry about pesticide residue on your cereal! It’s one of the best low-sugar cereals – it’s crunchy and mild – and is also great for a toddler/kid finger food or cereal snack.

Ingredients: Whole grain oats, whole grain barley, wheat starch, malted barley extract, sea salt, calcium carbonate, oats, malted barley, vitamin e (mixed tocopherols) added to preserve freshness.

Nutritional Info: 1.5 cups has 140 calories, 4 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, and 4 grams protein.

Price: $6.49 for a 8.6oz box.

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
Great for toddlers and kids
Very low in sugar (1 gram per serving)
Made with whole grains
Healthiest cheerios alternative
Cons
More expensive
Small box
Buy Now

Uncle Sam Toasted Whole Wheat Berry Flakes & Flaxseed

uncle sam's healthy breakfast cereal

This cereal has only 4 ingredients and is non-GMO and vegan. This honestly would be my #1 pick taste-wise, but it’s not organic and it can be pretty bland. I recommend buying this and mixing it with one of the best healthy cereals above (50-50) to bring a little more flavor to your cereal bowl or add it to trail mix!

Ingredients: Whole grain wheat, flaxseed, barley malt, salt

Nutritional Info: 3/4 cup of this low sugar, high-fiber cereal has 220 calories, 10g fiber, 0g sugar and 8g protein

Price: $6.12 for a 10oz box

Pros
Non-GMO
Very high in fiber and protein
Only 4 ingredients
No sugar added
Great source of healthy fats
Vegetarian and vegan-friendly
Great for mixing
Cons
Not organic
Can have a bland taste
Buy Now

Three Wishes Unsweetened Protein Cereal

best healthy cereal - three wishes protein cereal box

Three Wishes is one of the tastiest high-protein cereals I’ve found. It’s also a grain-free, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, and paleo-friendly cereal! It’s low in carbs and high in protein and fiber. This healthy cereal comes in 6 flavors (Cinnamon, Honey, Unsweetened, Cocoa, Fruity, and Frosted) giving you something for everyone!

Ingredients: The unsweetened option has just 4 simple ingredients: chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein, and salt. The flavored versions will have these ingredients plus: cane sugar, monk fruit, and natural flavors.

Nutritional Info: 3/4 cup has 120-130 calories, 3 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar (the flavored versions have only 3 grams of sugar), and 8 grams of protein.

Price: $6.70 for an 8.6oz box.

Pros
Delicious flavor
High in plant protein and fiber
Non-GMO
Simple ingredients
Gluten-free
Grain-free
Paleo
Variety of flavors
Kid-Friendly
Vegetarian and vegan-friendly
Cons
Not organic
More expensive
Buy Now

Love Grown Original Power O’s

love grown original power o's

Love Grown’s cereal is a good option for anyone looking for a high-protein gluten-free cereal. It’s non-GMO, vegan, and made primarily with beans and lentils!

Ingredients: Bean blend (navy beans, lentils, garbanzo beans), brown rice flour, salt, vitamin E (to maintain freshness).

Nutritional Info: 1.25 cups has 130 calories, 5 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, and 6 grams protein.

Price: $5.99 for a 8oz box.

Pros
Gluten-free
Non-GMO
Made with simple ingredients
Low in sugar
Rich in plant-protein and fiber
Vegan and vegetarian-friendly
Great for toddlers and kids
Great for mixing and topping
Cons
Not organic
Tastes a little bland
Buy Now

Barbara’s Puffins Multigrain Gluten Free

Box of barbara's puffins gluten free cereal.

A great option for a healthy gluten-free cereal that is also non-GMO and made with whole-grain brown rice flour.

Ingredients: Corn flour, whole grain brown rice flour, cane sugar, whole grain pure oat flour, fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic), oat hull fiber, calcium carbonate, sea salt, natural flavor, caramel color, anatto (for color), tocopherols (to maintain freshness).

Nutritional Info: 1 cup has 130 calories, 4 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar, 3 grams protein

Price: $7.86 for a 10oz box

Pros
Gluten-free
Great flavor
Vegan and vegetarian-friendly
Added prebiotics
Non GMO
Good source of fiber
Cons
A little higher in sugar (7 grams per serving)
Not organic
More expensive
Does include “natural” caramel color
Buy Now

KIND Granola Oats & Honey

kind granola - healthiest breakfast cereals

This healthy low sugar cereal is gluten-free, non-GMO, slightly sweet, and the perfect topping for Greek yogurt or smoothie bowls. A fantastic option for anyone who loves granola but not all of the sugar that they are usually made with! 

Ingredients: Oats, tapioca syrup, brown rice, cane sugar, honey, millet, oat flour, coconut, canola oil, buckwheat, amaranth, molasses, quinoa, brown rice syrup, sea salt, Vitamin E (tocopherols to maintain freshness).

Nutritional Info: 1/3 of a cup has 110 calories, 2g fiber, 5g sugar and 2g protein.

Price: $7.90 for an 11oz package

Pros
Low-sugar
Non-GMO
Made with whole grains
Gluten-free
Great flavor
Versatile
Great for on-the-go breakfasts
Cons
More expensive
Calorically dense
Not organic
Buy Now

Bear Naked Fit Vanilla Almond Crunch Granola

bear naked fit granola healthiest breakfast cereals

These crunchy clusters are non-GMO, with whole grain oats and hearty almonds. It is one of my favorite healthy breakfast cereal options because it’s low in sugar. This cold low calorie cereal is also a great low-sugar granola – it has 45% less sugar than most leading granola brands!

Ingredients: Whole grain oats, brown rice syrup, almonds, cane sugar, oat bran, brown rice, ground flax seeds, natural flavors.

Nutritional Info: 1/4 cup has 120 calories, 2g fiber, 3g sugar and 3g protein.

Price: $7.99 for a 12oz bag

Pros
Non-GMO
Low sugar
Tastes great
Rich in whole grains
Healthy fats
Cons
More expensive
Not organic
Calorically dense
Not gluten-free
Buy Now

Purely Elizabeth Granola, Original Flavor

purely elizabeth granola

This granola is certified USDA organic, non-GMO, and made with a variety of ancient grains including quinoa, amaranth, and chia seeds (which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids). It is sweetened with coconut sugar which is a lower glycemic healthy option. This is one of the best healthy cereal brands if you’re looking to get your granola fix. 

Ingredients: Organic Gluten-Free Oats, Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Puffed Amaranth, Organic Millet Flakes, Organic Quinoa Flakes, Organic Chia Seeds, Organic Cinnamon, Salt.

Nutritional Info: 1/3 of a cup has 130 calories, 2g fiber, 7g sugar, 3g protein.

Price: $5.67 for a 12oz bag

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
Gluten-free
More affordable
Great source of whole grains and ancient grains
Vegan and vegetarian-friendly
Cons
Calorically dense
Higher in sugar (7g)
Buy Now

Seven Sundays Blueberry Chia Buckwheat Muesli

Seven Sundays Blueberry Chia Buckwheat Muesli

This cereal is certified gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with wild blueberries, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds for more protein. It is one of the best healthy muesli brands with half the sugar and twice the protein when compared to most other brands. Enjoy it cold or hot with milk or water, or even use it as a topping for yogurt!

Ingredients: Gluten-free oats, sorghum flakes, buckwheat groats, blueberries (blueberries, apple juice), unsweetened coconut chips (no sulfites), apples, organic honey, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, lemon extract

Nutritional Info: 1/2 cup has 240 calories, 6g fiber, 4g added sugar (7 grams total sugar) and 8g protein.

Price: $15 for a 32oz bag (equates to $7.50 for a 16oz bag)

Pros
Gluten-free, non-GMO
Minimal added sugar
High in protein
More affordable
Good source of healthy fats
Great source of fiber
Non-GMO
Cons
Calorically dense
Not organic
Buy Now

Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal, Original

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

Ezekiel makes some of the most nutritious cereal – it’s certified USDA organic, made with sprouted live grains, legumes, and seeds, and has absolutely no flour! This is one of the healthier options for boxed cereal. It is a great option if you are watching your sugar intake. 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!

Ingredients: Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat, Organic Malted Barley, Organic Sprouted Whole Barley, Organic Sprouted Whole Millet, Organic Sprouted Whole Lentils, Organic Sprouted Whole Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Whole Spelt, Filtered Water, Sea Salt.

Nutritional Info: 1/2 cup has 190 calories, 6g fiber, 0g sugar and 8g protein.

Price: $8.66 for a 16oz box.

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
Nutrient-dense
Great source of fiber
No sugar
Vegan and vegetarian-friendly
Rich in plant-based protein
Great for mixing and topping
Cons
Somewhat bland taste
Calorically dense
Buy Now

Nature’s Path Flax Plus Raisin Bran

natures path flax plus raisin bran - healthiest breakfast cereals

While dried fruit based cereals may not be the healthiest cold cereals to eat, this particular brand 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 only 4.8 grams of added sugar (10.4 grams of total sugar) for each 1-cup serving.

Ingredients: Organic whole wheat meal, organic raisins (coated with organic sunflower oil), organic wheat bran, organic cane sugar, organic flax seeds, organic oat bran, organic barley malt extract, sea salt, tocopherols (vitamin E).

Nutritional Info: 168 calories for 1 cup, 7.2 grams fiber, 10.4 grams sugar (only 4.8 grams added sugar) and 5 grams protein. (Note: 1.25 cups has 210 calories, 9 grams fiber, 13 grams sugar / 6 grams added sugar, and 6 grams protein).

Price: $4.33 for a 14oz box

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
Added omega-3 fatty acids
Low sugar Raisin Bran option
High in fiber
More affordable
Good source of plant protein
Cons
Higher in sugar (4.8g added/serving)
More calorically dense
Buy Now
Pouring milk into a white bowl of granola with berries.

Healthy Cereal FAQs

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. The name sounds healthy, but it’s actually loaded with calories and sugar. Raisins are dried fruit which is concentrated in sugar since they don’t contain water like fresh fruit.

One serving size of Post’s Raisin Bran cereal (1.25 cups) contains 210 calories and 20 grams of sugar. One serving of Kellogg’s (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.

What is the healthiest cereal to eat for breakfast?

The best healthy cereal to eat for breakfast is any cereal that is organic, high in fiber (at least 5 grams per serving), low in sugar (under 6 grams per serving), has protein (at least 3 grams per serving but ideally more), under 200 calories per serving, and has no preservatives or artificial colors/flavors added.

Which breakfast cereals are not ultra-processed?

The least processed breakfast cereals are the ones with single whole-food ingredients like plain rolled whole oats and kamut puffs. All of the cereals listed in this article are minimally processed compared to other highly processed cereal brands. 

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 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 an actually healthy cereal (low in sugar, high in fiber). I like KIND Granola, Bare Naked Fit Granola, and Purely Elizabeth Granola. Remember portion size matters – you can go overboard even with the healthy granola brands if you eat more than 1 serving per day!

Is Grape Nuts Healthy?

Grape Nuts cereal is actually pretty healthy! It’s the best choice of conventional breakfast cereals that I’ve found. It’s non-GMO, has only 4 ingredients (whole grain wheat flour, malted barley flour, salt, dried yeast), and has 7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein per serving.

The only downside to Grape Nuts is that it’s super calorie-dense and is not a granola (which is the only type of cereal I’d expect more calorie density). Grape Nuts has 400 calories for a 1-cup serving (200 calories for 1/2 cup), which is why I didn’t include it on my list of healthy cereals above!

What are the cereals without BHT?

None of the cereals in the above list contain BHT! BHT is an ingredient used to maintain freshness in many ultra-processed cereals. In is currently banned in Japan, Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand due to it being classified as a carcinogen (Source: Science Direct).

While BHT is approved by the Federal Drug Administration for use in limited amounts in certain foods, it is controversial, and more research is needed to understand the potential long-term effects of consumption (Source NCBI). 

Is Weetabix ultra-processed?

Weetabix is technically less processed than other higher-processed cereals with greater amounts of added sugar, flavorings, chemicals, and dyes. It is made with 95% whole grain wheat, malted barley extract, sugar, salt, niacin, iron, riboflavin (B2), thiamin (B1), and folic acid. Weetabix cereal is a good source of whole grains, is high in fiber, and contains 4 grams of protein per serving

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 Cascadian Farms Purely O’s.

I hope this list of delicious healthy cereals helps you to pick out a great and satisfying cereal – it’s the perfect excuse to make a healthy start to your day! Also, check out some of these delicious healthy eating guides!

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78 responses to “20 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals”

  1. How about Multi-Grain Cheerios and Shreddies Cereal? I’m from Canada and we have been eating both for a while now as an attempt to maintain a minimal sugar level for cereal. Was not aware of glycoside concern though. Also, we vacation in the USA in the winter and just can’t find Shreddies cereal anywhere! So we bring boxes from Canada when we travel. Are you aware of Shreddies cereal? Are they accessible option?

    • Hi Sandra! I don’t think we have Shreddies Cereal in the US so I’m not familiar with it unfortunately! My main issue with Multi-Grain Cheerios is the glyphosate issue in the US. Not sure if that’s the same issue in Canada though! If you want to email me the nutritional info for Shreddies Cereal I can tell you what I think though!

      • Got it! Thanks for letting me know. Even though it’s made by Post (which is an American company), it might not have the same glyphosate issues as Post cereals do in the US because Canada has different regulations that US food companies have to adhere to in order to sell there. But I just don’t know for sure!

  2. Thank you for the information- is there a website or location where I can purchase trial sizes to sample some of these- I hate to purchase a full box and then my son dosen’t like it.

    • Hi Tanny! Unfortunately, I don’t know of any websites that sell samples of cereals! You could try writing to some of these companies directly or messaging them on Instagram to see if they might send you some complimentary samples to try though!

    • Hi! I have mixed feelings about this cereal – on the positive side it’s organic, has simple ingredients, and is high in fiber and protein. However, one serving (31 biscuits) has 9 grams of sugar – which is a lot for cereal. I like aiming for cereals that have 6-7 grams of sugar or less per serving, because usually one serving isn’t quite enough for a filling breakfast – most people end up using about 1.5 servings of cereal for breakfast. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

    • Steel cut oats and quinoa are both great for breakfast! They’re not listed here because I was focusing more on packaged cereals in this post, vs. unprocessed whole grains (where oats and quinoa would fit in). Hope that helps!

      • Hi Clyde! I omitted Post Original Shredded Wheat because it recently tested positive for glyphosate – along with most of the non-organic, commercially made cereals. It is low in sugar, but the glyphosate makes it problematic. Hope that helps explain!

    • Post Wheat N Bran. Only 1.5 grams of fat, 0 Cholesterol, 0 sodium, 8 grams of dietary fiber, 0 sugar, 0 added sugar. Calories a little high 210 per serving per 1 1/3 cup. And 49 grams of carbs. First ingredients Whole grain wheat, wheat bran. I’m a diabetic I have 3/4 cup in the morning which cut down on calories and carbs. The main thing I look for is added sugars added sugars I do not choose anything with added sugars.

      • Hi Wade! Post Wheat N Bran is good from a fiber & sugar standpoint, but Post has had issues with glyphosate being detected in their cereal, which is why I didn’t add them to my list. Thanks!

  3. Hi Anjali,
    Thank for for the wonderful information! Have you done any research on the “Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oatmeal” sold at Costco? Just wondering if it is a healthy choice for kiddos at breakfast?
    Thank you!!!!

    • Hi Jessie! Great question! The Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oatmeal (the plain variety) has good ingredients in that it’s 100% oats and has no other ingredients added. But my main concern with quaker oats is the levels of glyphosate / pesticide residue that ends up in the oats because they are not organic. So for that reason I wouldn’t recommend buying quaker oats – instead I’d look for organic rolled oats (any brand would work, as long as it’s plain organic oats). Hope that helps!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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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