Everyone knows it’s important to start your day with a healthy breakfast, but that doesn’t mean it always happens. Often, it’s little more than coffee or you wind up grabbing a calorie-packed pastry. Even with breakfast cereal, it’s easy to end up with something that’s mostly sugar and simple carbs, which will leave your stomach growling in no time.
When choosing a breakfast cereal, you’ll always want to go with an option that’s balanced with a good amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber, without too much saturated fat or sugar. If cereal is your go-to meal in the morning, these are 15 of the healthiest options you can eat.
15. Kashi Autumn Wheat Whole Wheat Biscuits
Go for this wheat cereal. | iStock.com/MSPhotographic
- Why it’s a good choice: Contains 6 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving
Think of Frosted Mini-Wheats, except slightly better for you. This cereal has only three ingredients: organic whole-grain wheat, organic can sugar, and natural flavor. While it does have 7 grams of sugar, it contains 5 grams less than a serving of Frosted Mini-Wheats. The carbohydrates are relatively high (like with most cereals), but this option boasts 6 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving. This minimally processed cereal will give you energy to start your day and keep you full for much longer than the average bowl.
Next: Worried about sugar? This cereal is a good option.
14. Barbara’s Original Puffins Cereal
This cereal is good for those watching their sugar intake. | iStock.com/pamela_d_mcadams
- Why it’s a good choice: Only 5 grams of sugar per serving, plus 5 grams of protein
If you’re mindful of your sugar intake, the original version of Barbara’s Puffins Cereal is a great option. It only has 5 grams of sugar for a ¾-cup serving that offers 90 calories, 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of fiber, and only 23 grams of carbohydrates. It’s also made with no GMOs, wheat ingredients, or dairy. Opt for this cereal if you’re craving something crunchy with just a touch of sweetness.
Next: Whoever thought to put quinoa in cereal is a genius.
13. Purely Elizabeth Original Ancient Grain + Puffs Cereal
This is a brand you can trust to deliver on its promises. | iStock.com/wmaster890
- Why it’s a good choice: A “natural” and “organic” cereal that can actually back up those claims
Some food companies use terms like “natural” and “organic” loosely to draw in consumers, but Purely Elizabeth isn’t one of them. They’re a company committed to producing products that are good for their customers. Their cereals are made with grains like amaranth, quinoa, and millet, and also contain chia and flax seeds, oats, and real fruit. The ancient grain cereal provides only 18 total carbohydrates per serving, plus 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. All ingredients in this product are gluten-free, and it’s all organic — no GMOs, and zero added sugars or artificial flavors or colors. You can enjoy a bowl of this cereal knowing every single ingredient that’s going into your body will provide some small benefit, and very little harm.
Next: Sprouted grain cereal is the new up-and-coming health trend.
12. Ezekiel 4:9 Almond Sprouted Whole-Grain Cereal
This cereal is full of healthy grains. | iStock.com/Foxys_forest_manufacture
- Why it’s a good choice: 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per serving plus the health benefits of sprouted grains
According to The Whole Grains Council, sprouted grains contain more key nutrients than other grains. This includes fiber, essential amino acids, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Sprouted barley, a key ingredient in this cereal, has also been linked to lower blood pressure levels. One serving offers 38 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, and less than 1 gram of sugar. Although a ½-cup serving is 200 calories, you’re getting quality ingredients that will keep you full.
Next: Cocoa Krispies aren’t healthy, but here’s a good alternative.
11. One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crisps
Sprouted brown rice helps fight disease. | iStock.com/lily_rochha
- Why it’s a good choice: The many health benefits of brown rice
The Whole Grains Council also mentions sprouted brown rice is beneficial because it helps fight diabetes and can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, so this breakfast pick is a smart choice. This cereal from One Degree Organic Foods is like the healthier version of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. It comes in original brown rice, but if you’re craving a chocolaty flavor, the cacao crisps are the way to go. It’s made with low-glycemic coconut palm sugar as a sweetener, delivering a reasonable 8 grams of sugar per serving. This is also a great choice for those sensitive to gluten and those steering clear of GMOs.
Next: Cheerio lovers, check this one out.
10. Love Grown Power O’s
These may remind you of a more familiar cereal. | iStock.com/spirit_of_nature
- Why it’s a good choice: An even healthier alternative to fan-favorite Cheerios with only 2 grams of sugar per serving
Love Grown has taken a spin on General Mills’ Cheerios and created their own version that’s made predominately with navy beans, lentils, and garbanzo beans. The only other ingredients used to make their original Power O’s are brown rice, salt, and vitamin E to help maintain freshness. A 1-cup serving offers 130 calories, 23 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein. And with just 2 grams of sugar, it’s not overly sweet. These Power O’s also come in chocolate, strawberry, and honey.
Next: Fiber is important for your digestive system, and this cereal delivers.
9. General Mills FiberOne
Artificial ingredients in General Mills cereals are on their way out. | iStock.com/GeorgeDolgikh
- Why it’s a good choice: A powerful 14 grams of fiber per serving
Bigger cereal companies are often known for manufacturing the least healthy cereals on the market, but many are taking steps to improve the quality of their products. In 2015, General Mills released a statement announcing their plans to remove artificial ingredients from their cereals. They’re still working on it — cereals like Lucky Charms are going to take awhile to figure out, thanks to those delicious colorful marshmallows we all know and hate to love. FiberOne is in the clear, though. The box’s claims don’t exaggerate — there aren’t any added sugars, artificial colorings, or artificial flavors listed on the ingredients tab. And you’ll get 14 grams of fiber per serving, and only 1 gram of fat. A bowl of FiberOne will keep you full for hours.
Next: Add fruit to this whole-wheat cereal for even more nutritional benefits.
8. Cascadian Farm Organic Hearty Morning
Your digestive system will thank you for this cereal. | iStock.com/kobeza
- Why it’s a good choice: 8 grams of fiber that your digestive system will love
This combination of organic whole-grain wheat, whole-wheat oats, granola, and bran can start your morning with a fiber-filled breakfast that’s good for your digestive system. A ¾-cup serving has 170 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein. Most impressive, though, is this cereal will give you 8 grams of fiber. For even more flavor, fiber, and nutrition, consider adding a serving of fruit to your bowl to freshen up your breakfast. Say goodbye to the mid-morning munchies.
Next: Love Bran Flakes? This alternative is even better for you.
7. Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes
This whole-grain cereal is the one to reach for. | iStock.com/Yulia_Davidovich
- Why it’s a good choice: One serving contains only 4 grams of sugar
This lightly sweetened cereal is made with a blend of ancient grains that offers 5 grams of filling fiber per serving. It’s made with a combination of wheat, barley, quinoa, and spelt, and delivers balanced nutrients to start your morning. One serving has only 120 calories, 1 gram of fat, 4 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein. If you prefer your cereal a tad sweeter, try topping it with some mixed berries. You’ll get the taste you want, plus even more fiber and vitamins.
Next: You can get plenty of protein from this chia seed cereal.
6. Qi’a Superflakes Honey Chia Cereal
Start eating chia seeds with this cereal. | iStock.com/Aksenovko
- Why it’s a good choice: It’s gluten-free and the chia seeds pack a powerful punch of omega-3 fatty acids
Qi’a Superflakes Honey Chia cereal delivers great nutritional value and long-lasting energy in just one serving. It’s made with chia seeds, which offer omega-3 fatty acids that boost your overall health, plus a type of flour made from sorghum. According to Livestrong, this grain offers nutrients that help boost your immune system and regulate calcium. For a 1-cup serving of these flakes, you’ll get 7 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and only 6 grams of sugar. It’s also perfect for those on a gluten-free diet. You can enjoy a bowl of this cereal with milk or pour it on top of a serving of Greek yogurt to increase the protein and fiber you’ll get from your morning meal.
Next: Brown rice is in this delicious and healthful cereal.
5. Erewhon Harvest Medley
This cereal is gluten-free, too. | iStock.com/DPimborough
- Why it’s a good choice: Its 3 main grain ingredients offer numerous health benefits
Erewhon’s Harvest Medley cereal is one of the brand’s most nutritious options. A 1-cup serving of this cereal offers 1 gram of fat, 24 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein, all for 110 calories. It’s made with three wholesome grains: sorghum, brown rice, and quinoa. You already read about how sorghum can help your body, but the other ingredients offer benefits of their own. The Whole Grains Council says quinoa contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. As for brown rice, it may reduce the risk of diabetes if eaten regularly.
Next: You probably remember seeing this cereal on the shelves as a kid.
4. Post Original Pure Grape Nuts
Raisins or fresh fruit would make this cereal even better. | iStock.com/etienne voss
- Why it’s a good choice: Simplicity! The original version of Grape Nuts only has four very basic ingredients
Best known for producing Fruity Pebbles, Honeycomb, and Honey Bunches of Oats, Post is also the creator of a less familiar cereal brand — Grape Nuts. The original version of this cereal is made with only four ingredients: whole-grain wheat flour, malted barley flour, salt, and dried yeast. It’s one of those cereals that doesn’t look too appetizing, but once you get past the lack of artificial coloring, it tastes great — it doesn’t even need added sugars or flavors. That’s what makes it one of the healthiest cereals on this list. A single serving has 5 grams of sugar, 7 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and only 1 gram of total fat. Go ahead — have a second bowl. Why not?
Next: Chocolate lovers, feel free to indulge in this one.
3. Living Intentions Cacao Crunch SuperFood Cereal
Try out this bowl of Cacao Crunch cereal. | iStock.com/netoj
- Why it’s a good choice: The ingredients list boasts superfoods like maca root that you won’t find in other cereals
This cereal is as minimally processed as breakfast can get. A ½-cup serving contains 200 calories and offers a cacao superfood blend with ingredients you won’t find in leading cereal brands, including maca root. According to The Huffington Post, maca root is a superfood known to increase endurance and energy. This cereal also boasts an herb called astragalus, which WebMD says can boost your immune system.
Since this breakfast option is also free of nuts, gluten, and animal products, it’s also a great option if you have any dietary restrictions. Plus, it comes in three additional flavors that are just as healthy.
Next: This brown rice cereal is great for those who are gluten intolerant.
2. Back to Nature Sprout & Shine
This cereal is made with sprouted brown rice. | iStock.com/pamela_d_mcadams
- Why it’s a good choice: Only 2 grams of sugar per serving with all the benefits of sprouted whole-grain brown rice
This gluten-free option is another cereal made with a few quality ingredients, including sprouted whole-grain brown rice. The sprouted brown rice is particularly good because your body may be more able to absorb the nutrients, per Livestrong. The grain may even help regulate blood sugar levels. For every 120-calorie serving, you’ll also get 1.5 grams of fat (all of which are unsaturated), 24 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. Not to mention there are only 2 grams of sugar per serving. Consider sprinkling a little cinnamon on top for a flavor boost.
Next: There are only three ingredients in this cereal, and it tastes delicious.
1. Back to the Roots California Whole-Wheat Flakes
You’ll get a ton of nutrients in each bite. | iStock.com/HandmadePictures
- Why it’s a good choice: This wholesome cereal is made with just three ingredients
If you opt for cereal flakes in the morning, make it Back to the Roots’ California Whole-Wheat cereal. A 1-cup serving offers 160 calories, 36 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and just 5 grams of sugar, making it a wholesome choice for breakfast. It’s made with only three ingredients: 100% stone-ground whole wheat, organic cane sugar, and sea salt. What makes this cereal so healthy, in addition to the minimal ingredients list, is the milling process that preserves the wheat’s protein and fiber. This guarantees you get the most nutrients in each bite.
Additional reporting by Meg Dowell
Read more: Here Are the Best (and Worst) Fast Food Breakfasts You Can Eat
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