Cereal has long been a breakfast staple enjoyed by children, preteens, teenagers, and adults alike. It’s no surprise that cereals have retained their popularity; they’re a fast and easy meal for people with busy schedules, they’re economical since they’re sold in large boxes and tend to have long shelf lives, and they come in a variety of flavors and shapes. Cereals can double as quick, unfussy snacks as well, with or without milk. In recent years, however, it’s become more apparent that most popular breakfast cereals are full of preservatives, artificial dyes, sugars, and other additives that aren’t the healthiest things to be putting into your body. This doesn’t mean you have to ditch breakfast cereal altogether if you’re trying to eat healthier, though. You aren’t limited just to bland bran flakes for healthy options, either. There are plenty of tasty breakfast cereals available for purchase that don’t sacrifice flavor or taste for health. There are even plenty of sweet options if you want to switch your kids over to a more nourishing cereal but are worried they won’t enjoy them. Here are a few healthy cereals we recommend.
Choosing a Healthy Cereal
Here are a few things to think about before buying healthy cereal:
- Whole Grains: When it comes to buying healthy cereal, a whole grain option is the way to go. Grains that have been refined tend to be stripped of their fiber and other beneficial nutrients. Some brands may add nutrients back into the cereals that have been refined, but not as much as if they’d never been stripped away in the first place. Whole grains will provide more vitamins and minerals, and they’ll make you feel fuller for longer since they take more time for your body to digest. Whole grains tend to be heart-healthy as well. Look for boxes of cereal labeled as whole grain or, even better, 100% whole wheat, oats, etc.
- Type: Healthy cereals aren’t limited to granola or bran if you’re not a fan of either of those cereals. There are plenty of different types of cereals that are healthy. Whether you and your family like puffs, flakes, oatmeal, granola, loops, bunches, or even animal shapes, you can find healthy cereals in all of these varieties. There are also plenty of flavor options within these different types of cereals. You can find chocolaty, fruity, nutty, and even frosted cereals that are naturally sweetened and less processed or refined and thus healthier for consumption than many standard cereals.
- Dietary Restrictions: Allergies and other dietary restrictions can make it tricky to find tasty food that fits your lifestyle needs. Cereals are no exception to this, especially for diets and meal plans that revolve around consuming fewer carbohydrates. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to find flavorsome and appetizing cereals that meet certain dietary needs. Whether you need to eat vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, or even keto, there are healthy cereals made with one or more of these diets and lifestyles in mind.
Best Low-Fat: Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds
This honey and almond cereal with granola bunches is so sweet and crunchy that you might have a hard time believing that it’s good for you. It’s low in fat, including no trans fats and no saturated fats, and completely free of cholesterol, so it’s heart-healthy as well as tasty and crispy in texture. This cereal is also made entirely out of whole grains, with 10 grams per serving and nine essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins D, A, B6, B12, iron, and zinc. The crispy flakes and oat clusters plus the sliced almonds and whole grains make this cereal super crunchy and more filling, while the honey adds a touch of natural sweetness without raising the sugar content per serving too high. It’ll taste equally great mixed with your favorite milk in the morning or as an afternoon snack. Each box has an 18-ounce capacity, and you can buy them in packs of one to four.
Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, Heart Healthy, Low Fat, made with Whole Grain Cereal, 18 Ounce Box
A sweet, crunchy cereal that is whole grain and heart-healthy as well as tasty.
Best Granola: Quaker Simply Granola Boxes
Granola is likely one of the first foods that jumps to mind when the topic of healthy snacks comes up, so it’s not surprising that granola in cereal form provides a healthier alternative to other over-sugared and artificially flavored cereals. If you’re already someone who enjoys snacking on some granola, this is the choice for you. It’s made out of whole grain oats and wheat, with an impressive 45 grams of whole grains per serving, and it is low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol for a more heart-friendly option. It contains 7 grams of protein and fiber per serving to promote digestive health. The whole grain oats and slivered almonds give the cereal some crunch, while the honey provides sweetness without the artificial flavoring. It tastes great mixed with yogurt as an alternative to milk, if you prefer, or as a standalone snack. And you get twin boxes with your purchase, each containing 12 servings of cereal, to keep you supplied for longer. If you don’t love almonds, you can also buy a single box of this granola cereal flavored with honey and raisins instead of honey and almonds.
Quaker Simply Granola, Oats Honey & Almonds, 28oz Boxes (2 Pack)
A granola-like cereal that is good for your heart and digestive health and available in two sweet, crunchy flavors.
Best Keto-Friendly: HighKey Protein Keto Breakfast Cereal
A big part of following the keto diet is to eat a lower amount of carbohydrates but lots of protein. You may think that this means you have to cut out certain foods, including cereal. However, this keto-friendly product proves that you can still enjoy cereal in the mornings or as an afternoon snack without spoiling your meal plan. It’s very similar to chocolate puffs or crisp chocolate rice cereals, but without the extra sugar and artificial flavors or ingredients. This cereal has no net carbs and is sugar-free, with an impressive 10 grams of protein per serving so that you can eat them knowing you’re sticking to your keto diet. They’re also paleo- and gluten-free, thanks to the grain-free makeup, and are suitable for general high-protein and/or low-carb diets that aren’t specifically keto. Each serving of this chocolaty cereal has less than 100 calories (without milk). It’s also shelf-stable, easy to take on the go, and tastes great with almond, hemp, and low-fat milks alike. Each box contains about eight servings each.
HighKey Low Carb Keto Cereal - Protein Snacks for Breakfast, Zero Sugar, Grain Carbs & Gluten Free Chocolate Cereals Healthy Snack Foods for Paleo Diabetic Ketogenic Diet Friendly Food Cocoa
Chocolaty, crispy cereal that is high-protein, keto-friendly, and gluten-free.
Most Variety: Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Koala Crisp Cereal
Whether you like peanut butter, chocolate, a combination of both, or berry flavors, this cereal has you covered. This healthy, organic option is crispy and tasty as well as gluten-free and made without artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, herbicides, or pesticides. Many are vegan-friendly as well. They’re made out of organic, fair-trade ingredients like brown rice flour, sea salt, and cane sugar. There are 10 different flavors and types of cereals to choose from, including peanut butter puffs, frosted flakes, chocolate puffs, and more. Each flavor tastes great with any and all types of milk or just by themselves. You can also buy any flavor as a pack of three, four, six, or 12 bags of cereal in 10, 11, 24, or 26-ounce packages for better value and cost-efficiency. Buying in bulk like this is also a great option if you have a large family or simply want to stock up on cereal. If you do have kids, they’ll love the cute animal mascots on each bag. And each time you purchase one of these cereals, a portion of the sales benefits endangered animal conservation efforts and kids’ educational programs.
Koala Crisp Organic Chocolate Cereal, 1.6 Lbs. Earth Friendly Package (Pack of 6), Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Fair Trade, EnviroKidz by Nature's Path
No matter what type or flavor of cereal you like, you should be able to find a healthier alternative in one of the 10 types and flavors in this gluten-free, organic cereal brand.