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The Healthiest Breakfast Cereal to Start Your Day

- Written by on July 26th 2015

This may not come as a surprise to you, but cereal with marshmallows, cereal shaped like cookies, and cereal inspired by sprinkled donuts are not good for you and really make better dessert than breakfast. But you might not realize that a lot of "grown up" breakfast cereals aren't much healthier. Even if they advertise that they contain real fruit or that they are made of whole grains and are high in fiber, they often contain just as much sugar, preservatives, and other additives as the kids' cereal you know isn't healthy to eat.

Since cereal can be such a quick and convenient breakfast, we took some time to peruse spoonacular's online cereal aisle to see what healthier alternatives we could find for you. Keeping numerous dietary criteria in mind—clean ingredient lists, low amounts of sugar, good sources of both protein and fiber—we think we've found the healthiest breakfast cereal for many different diets.

Healthiest Paleo Breakfast Cereal

The Paleo diet is very trendy right now, which is a funny way of looking at it since the whole point of eating Paleo is that you are eating like people ate a couple million years ago. Many people are having success losing weight and improving their health following this diet rich in high-quality meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and, in smaller quantities, fruit, nuts, and sometimes sweet potatoes.

Obviously people didn't eat cereal in the Paleolithic era, but if you are looking for something Paleo-friendly to have on occasion, we found a solid store-bought option. You definitely won't find this grain free, dairy free, and processed sugar free cereal in every store, but if you're lucky you might be able to track down the brand we found below at your local health food store. If not, you can always order Two Moms in the Raw cereal on Amazon.


organic sunflower seeds, organic raisins, organic coconut, organic banana, organic fig, organic chia, organic almonds, organic date, organic walnuts, organic apples and organic cinnamon

Two Moms in the Raw Plain Grain Free Cereal

  • organic, gluten free, vegan, and Paleo
  • 6 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, and 6 grams sugar per serving
  • 250 calories per serving, so watch your serving size!

If you can't find a suitable Paleo cereal in stores and don't want to order online, you can make your own with ground nuts, seeds, coconut, dried fruit, and if you're not too strict, a bit of maple syrup or honey.

Sprouted Grain Cereal

Though a grain free diet may make sense for some individuals, many of us don't need or want to give them up entirely. However, if you find grains can sometimes be a bit difficult to digest, or if you want to avoid the sudden blood sugar rise associated with eating many grains, you might give sprouted grains a try. Though they are almost certainly over-hyped as a health food, there have been numerous scientific studies suggesting sprouted grains could have some health benefits over their unsprouted counterparts. If you want to find out if a sprouted grain cereal could be the healthiest breakfast cereal for your needs, Food for Life (a popular brand of sprouted bread available in many supermarkets) also makes cereal!

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal

  • made with sprouted, certified organic grains
  • 0 grams sugar, 6 grams fiber, 8 grams protein
  • not gluten free
  • maybe a bit hard to find, but also available on Amazon

High Protein and High Fiber Cereal

Protein and fiber are two nutrients everyone is trying to get more of in their diets. However, you probably don't need 50% (or more) of your daily recommended fiber intake in one bowl of cereal! Unless you truly need fiber supplements, you should be able to get enough fiber in your diet through fruits, vegetables, and cereals with naturally fibrous grains (but not necessarily through isolated fiber like inulin, found in many "high fiber" cereals).

As for protein, you're probably better off having eggs for breakfast if protein is a major concern, but luckily some cereals do offer a sizable amount of protein, especially if you eat your cereal with milk or soy milk.

Both the Paleo cereal and the sprouted grain cereal above have a good amount of fiber and protein, but we've got one more recommendation for a healthy cereal to eat, just in case. Plus, this cereal even offers heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids!

Uncle Sam Original Whole Wheat & Flaxseed Cereal

  • non GMO verified
  • rich in omega-3s due to flaxseed
  • 7 grams protein, 10 grams fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar
  • not gluten free

Gluten Free Cereal with Superfoods

If you want the omega-3s in Uncle Sam's cereal without the gluten, you've got some options.

Nature's Path Qi'a Superfood Cereal, for instance, contains chia, buckwheat, and hemp, and just two tablespoons has 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 2.5 grams omega-3. The original version is sugar free, but you could also try Apple Cinnamon or Cranberry Vanilla (just 3 grams of sugar per serving).

Qi'a Superfood - Chia, Buckwheat & Hemp Cereal Apple Cinnamon

  • gluten free, organic, and non GMO
  • contains omega-3 rich chia
  • small serving size - be sure to measure!

Enjoy Life's flax cereal with chia is a very allergy-friendly cereal. It is free of gluten, wheat, dairy, peanut, tree nut, egg, soy, fish, shellfish, casein, sesame, sulfites, and potato. It also boasts 1000 mg of omega-3 per serving, along with 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein.

Enjoy Life Perky's Crunchy Flax Cereal with Chia

  • gluten free and non GMO
  • contains omega-3 rich flax and chia
  • 3 grams of sugar per serving

Now that you've discovered some of the healthiest breakfast cereals to eat—at least cold cereals—you might be interested in trying the healthiest instant oatmeal or the healthiest frozen waffles too. Everything for busy but health-conscious breakfast eaters!


Crystal Schlegelmilch

Written by on July 26th 2015

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