Ask Amelia Nutrition

Tastiest, Healthiest Cereals

Question: Can you recommend some healthy cold cereals?  I’m not sure if I should be looking for low sugar content, high fiber or a combo. Thanks!!

Answer: With so many cereals on the market, this aisle of the grocery store can be confusing.  But it’s worth researching, because the type of cereal you pick can determine whether you’re eating a healthy breakfast or a bowl of junk food.  A few tips for selecting a good cereal:

  • Read the Nutrition Facts Label. Don’t rely on health claims (like “Contains 10 grams of whole grains!”) on the cereal box, because they can be misleading.
  • Look for at least 3 grams of fiber per 100 calories (so a cereal with 200 calories should have at least 6 grams fiber).
  • Look for less than 6 grams of sugar per serving (cereals with raisins will have more, which is OK).
  • Unless you’re accustomed to eating tons of fiber everyday, avoid cereals with huge amounts of fiber (like Fiber One, which has 13 grams of fiber in only 60 calories).  These ultra-fibrous buds have added extra fiber, and might upset your stomach (gas, bloating, cramping, etc).
  • Go for the alternative brand cereals found at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and in the ‘natural’ section of regular supermarkets.  These tend to be higher in fiber, lower in sugar, and made with organic or non-genetically modified ingredients, which are healthier.

Healthy + Tasty Cold Cereals

  • Barbara’s Original Puffins, Barbara’s Cinnamon Puffins  (100 calories, 5g fiber, 5g sugar)
  • Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls (120 calories, 4g fiber, 5g sugar)
  • Kashi Heart to Heart (110 calories, 5g fiber, 5g sugar)
  • Quaker Crunchy Corn Bran (90 calories, 5g fiber, 6g sugar)
  • Nature’ Path Heritage Flakes or Flax Plus Flakes (110 calories, 5g fiber, 4g sugar)
  • Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats (200 calories, 6g fiber, 1 g sugar) – drizzle with a little honey or brown sugar
  • Cheerios (100 calories, 3g fiber, 1g sugar)
  • Kashi Autumn Wheat (180 calories, 6g fiber, 7g sugar)
  • Nature’s Path Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise (110 calories, 3g fiber, 7g sugar)
  • Nature’s Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch (210 calories, 7g fiber, 13g sugar, some from raisins)

Best “Treat” Cereals

These are not the MOST wholesome breakfasts, but they’re much healthier than traditional sugar cereals, so when you need your kid-cereal fix, go for one of these:

  • Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins (110 calories, 2g fiber, 6g sugar)
  • Nature’s Path Gorilla Munch (120 calories, 2g fiber, 8g sugar)
  • Post Honey Nut Shredded Wheat (190 calories, 5g fiber, 12g sugar)
  • Honey Nut Cheerios (110 calories, 2g fiber, 9g sugar)
  • Kix (110 calories, 3g fiber, 3g sugar)
  • Barbara’s Organic Wild Cocoa Puffs (110 calories, 1g fiber, 9g sugar)
  • Life, Original or Cinnamon (120 calories, 2g fiber, 6g sugar)

** Photo taken from Barbara’s Bakery Website

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Deana
    August 10, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Very informative, thank you!

  • Reply
    10 Easy Recipes for Sitters That Kids Love | Moms LA
    October 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

    […] some fresh fruit and choose a variety that’s low in sugar and high in fiber.  Here’s a cereal buying guide to help […]

  • Reply
    Richard
    November 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Very helpful. Thanks for the good advice.

    • Reply
      Amelia
      November 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      You’re welcome 🙂

  • Reply
    Ahlam
    December 18, 2012 at 7:28 am

    @Mrs. Bee: It was kind of a funny social epexriment to watch other peoples reaction, they obviously heard it but would try not to react. It was pretty embarrassing but I think it was just as embarrassing for everyone around me too. Fiberone only lasted a week in our house.

  • Reply
    rjscooter
    January 11, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I have been eating Bran Buds (14 grams fiber) to regulate my bowels. It works fabulously! BUT, I am trying to avoid gluten, and GMO products. So, I have been comparing fiber counts in the unprocessed, whole grain, gluten-free, non-gmo section of my health food store and I can find none with that high of a fiber count. I am at a loss as to what to do to keep my bowels intact. Without the high amount of fiber, they are consistently loose.

    Can you suggest anything to help me?

    Thank you very much.

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      January 12, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Trader Joe’s has a high fiber cereal that is completely GMO-free (like everything in their store). It’s called High Fiber Cereal. As for gluten-free, I’d suggest steel cut oats or oat bran.

  • Reply
    Sallyann
    September 27, 2017 at 5:23 am

    What about Post Grape Nuts cereal…the original one, not the flakes….I’m surprised it wasn’t on your list. Why?

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      September 27, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      Hi Sallyann,
      This is not a comprehensive list – and there are certainly other healthy cereals that fit my criteria. Grape nuts are OK, though they are made with wheat flour and sugar, so more processed than some of the others listed – and they have a smaller serving size. However, they’re better than many alternatives.

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