Our morning routine sets the tone for the whole day, and what we eat for breakfast is a big part of this! Aside from providing our body with nutrients that will fuel us through the day, eating a balanced breakfast can help give us the energy we need to power through our morning to-do list and help prevent mid-morning hunger pains. And, let’s be real — breakfast foods are the tastiest! I mean, why would you want to skip the opportunity to indulge in good-for-you nutrients that are satiating and satisfying!?
While foods like eggs, oats, and superfood smoothies may come to mind when you envision a healthy morning meal, don’t forget about breakfast cereal! That’s right — relive your fondest childhood breakfast memories without the sugar overdose. Breakfast cereal might have a bad rap, but healthy breakfast cereals do exist! To make mornings that much easier, we’re breaking down the healthiest and yummiest options.
Are Breakfast Cereals Healthy?
Before you race for the cereal aisle, keep in mind that all breakfast cereals are not created equal when it comes to a healthy diet. But, not to worry — there are plenty of ways to get your breakfast cereal fix the healthy way. When it comes to choosing healthy breakfast cereals, the most important things to consider are ingredients and serving size. By focusing on wholesome, nourishing ingredients and avoiding excess (and processed) sugars, pour yourself a breakfast cereal bowl and feel good savoring every delicious spoonful.
Breakfast Cereal Sugar Content: How Much is Too Much?
If you want to know the fastest way to determine whether a breakfast cereal is healthy, start by looking at the ingredient label — specifically, the sugar content! The American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day (36 grams) for men and 6 teaspoons per day for women (about 25 grams).
So, what about sugar per serving? Well, if a box of cereal contains more than 5 grams of sugar per serving, it’s probably best left on the shelf. To put that into context, 4 grams of sugar is 1 teaspoon. One teaspoon may not seem like a lot, but consider how this will look when your meal is complete. Let’s be honest, how often do we really only pour one serving of cereal? If you account for a heavy pour plus your milk of choice (and of course, any toppings), 5 grams of sugar can easily multiply.
Ingredients to Avoid
Speaking of sugar, consider where it’s coming from. Is the sugar naturally occurring? Does it come from fruit? Maybe cane sugar or artificial sugar? Ingredients matter, too!
Of course, if your cereal is sweetened, natural sugar is best. As best as you can, avoid breakfast cereals with added sugars, artificial and processed ingredients, hydrogenated oils, and GMOs. These ingredients can spike your blood sugar and even increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other serious illnesses.
Ingredients You Want
When searching for healthy breakfast cereal ingredients, we’ll let you in on a little trick — the first food listed on an ingredient label is always the most abundant food in that product! The second is the second most, and so forth. So, if sugar is the first ingredient listed on a box of cereal (even if it’s naturally occurring), you’re essentially picking up a box of sugar. This is a helpful way to avoid sneaky advertising!
Knowing this, what ingredients should you search for in healthy breakfast cereals?
Look for the word “whole grain” on the label. Whole grain cereals are more nutritious than their processed alternatives. Look for whole grain oats or rice or foods like quinoa or barley.
Fiber is naturally occurring in whole grains and a healthy addition to cereal. This nutrient will aid digestion while keeping you satiated — 3 grams of fiber per serving is ideal!
A healthy breakfast cereal will ideally contain some protein. Look for protein-rich ingredients like oats, nuts, and seeds! Protein will help to increase satiety and prevent a blood sugar spike.
Whole Food-based Ingredients
You should be able to recognize and pronounce all ingredients. Foods in their most natural form are best — look for foods like fruit, oats, seeds, or whole grains. Some healthy breakfast cereals even incorporate superfoods like maca or cacao!
Natural Sweeteners, or Low Sugar
Unsweetened is best! If it does contain sugar, natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, honey, dates, or fruit are ideal. Regardless, keep it under 5 grams per serving.
Healthy Store-Bought Breakfast Cereals
#1 Purely Elizabeth Oat Cups
This healthy breakfast cereal seemingly has it all — low-sugar, high-protein, gluten-free, and even comes in a variety of
superfood flavors (with ingredients like quinoa, collagen, and spirulina)! Most importantly, all Purely Elizabeth products are naturally sweetened and made with wholesome ingredients. Transform any cup into a warm bowl or make overnight oats to take on the go. Busy mornings made simple and delicious.
#2 Food For Life Ezekiel Cereal
Just half a cup of Ezekiel Cereal contains more than 20% of your daily fiber needs and 8 grams of protein! Not only are the ingredients made from whole grains, but many ingredients are also sprouted! Sprouting helps aid digestion and enhance nutrient absorption by enhancing the germination of grains while reducing the naturally occurring phytic acid found in seeds and nuts.
#3 Arrowhead Mills Puffed Millet
Arrowhead Mills Puffed Millet is a healthy whole-grain breakfast cereal made with just one ingredient: millet. Just one serving provides you with 15 grams of whole grains without added sugar or salt. Serve with sliced fruit or a drizzle of honey for a touch of sweetness!
#4 Three Wishes Unsweetened Cereal
With zero added sugar, the unsweetened variety of this trendy breakfast cereal makes for a healthy morning meal. And, it contains just four wholesome ingredients: chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein, and salt. It’s safe to say that Three Wishes checks all the boxes! Ingredients you can pronounce, low-sugar, high-protein, and a healthy serving of satiating fiber.
#5 Qia Chia, Buckwheat & Hemp Cereal
Qia Superfood Cereals come in a variety of flavors made with ingredients like Chia, Buckwheat, and Hemp. These plant-based nutrients will add a healthy boost to any meal — just two tablespoons providing 6 grams of protein! Add a spoonful to a serving of Oats, or even mix it with a bowl of sliced fruit and dairy-free milk. With zero added sugar and 4 grams of fiber, this is a healthy breakfast cereal you and your family can enjoy!
#6 One Degree Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps
Think: the healthy version of Rice Krispies cereal. Sprouted whole grains, lightly sweetened with coconut sugar, and made with less than five ingredients. Enjoy One Degree’s simple cereal with a handful of berries and a splash of non-dairy milk for a wholesome breakfast meal!
#7 Forager Project Cereal
You’ll be reconsidering the addition of beans for breakfast with Forager’s crunchy and slightly sweet breakfast cereal! Made with navy beans and cassava root, this gut-supporting blend provides you with 4 grams of fiber and protein in every flavor. But, even its indulgent varieties made with an extra dose of sweetener (like Chocolate and Strawberry O’s) contain under 5 grams of sugar per serving! So, we’re giving this cereal the stamp of approval when it comes to healthy breakfast options.
#8 Cascadian Farm Organic Purely O’s Cereal
This healthy breakfast cereal is made with whole-grain oats and barley, free from added sugar, and made with less than 10 wholesome ingredients. With 4 grams of fiber and plant-based protein and a healthy serving of complex carbs, this is a great option for kids and adults alike! Serve it up with sliced banana and a splash of plant-based milk for a nourishing option that’s simple and tasty.
#9 Seven Sundays Wild & Free Blueberry Chia Muesli
If we’re being honest, most healthy gluten-free cereals taste like cardboard. Either that or they’re loaded with sugar and additives. But, not this healthy option! Seven Sundays nutrient-dense blend is not only free of gluten, but it’s also free of artificial ingredients, added sugar, and preservatives. Sweetened naturally with organic wildflower honey and packed with nourishing foods like buckwheat, chia seeds, and blueberries, what’s not to love?
#10 Wildway Grain-Free Cereal
For a hot breakfast cereal option, Wildway is the way to go. With four delicious flavors (Blueberry Flax, Cinnamon Roll, Toasted Coconut, and Original) there’s something for everyone. The best part? All of their blends are grain-free, paleo-friendly, vegan, and keto! And, they’re made with 100% real food ingredients (think flaxseed, walnuts, cashews, dates, and freeze-dried blueberries).
And if you’re craving a morning crunch, Wild Way has got you covered with grain-free granola blends that make a tasty cold breakfast when combined with milk! P.S. They come in mouth-watering flavors like Vanilla Bean Espresso, Coconut Cashew, and Dark Chocolate Strawberry. Yum.
#11 Living Intentions Activated Superfood Cereal
A bowl of superfoods that tastes like dessert for breakfast! Made with ingredients like sprouted buckwheat, oats, and flaxseeds for enhanced digestion and absorption along with stress-busting adaptogens like Maca, Reishi, and Astragalus. With flavors like Cacao Crunch, Blueberry Blast, Banana Hemp, and Figs, Flax & Fiber, feel good as you indulge away in this tasty gluten-free breakfast cereal.
3 Homemade Breakfast Cereals
#1 Overnight Oats
Not a fan of crunchy breakfast bowls? Not to worry, you can still enjoy a nourishing breakfast made with breakfast cereal staples like oats and seeds! Enter: Overnight oats — the yummy and healthy breakfast option, made by soaking oats with other tasty ingredients like fruits, nuts, seeds, and even protein powder.
Try our yummy FitOn PRO Blueberry Almond Overnight Oats recipe!
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- ½ cup oats
- ⅔ cup blueberries
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
Step #1: Mix together the almond milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and almond butter.
Step #2: Add the remaining ingredients, including sweetener of choice if desired, and stir well to combine. Place in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours for the oats to soften.
Step #3: Serve cold right from the fridge, room temperature, or heat up in the microwave. Add an extra splash of milk if needed if the mixture becomes too thick.
#2 DIY Granola
Store-bought granolas are typically full of excess sugar, hydrogenated oils, and artificial ingredients. Skip the sugar overload and make your own!
Try our low-sugar FitOn PRO Granola made with ingredients like coconut, nuts, and seeds for a sweet (and guilt-free) addition to your morning.
- 2 cups coconut flakes
- 2 cups almonds
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch sea salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
Step #1: Preheat the oven to 140°C or 280°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Step #2: Add the coconut flakes, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt to a bowl and stir until combined.
Step #3: Heat the coconut oil and maple syrup on the stove. Pour over the coconut and nut mixture and stir well.
Step #4: Spread the mixture on the baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, turning the tray halfway through the baking time.
Step #5: Allow the granola to cool and then serve with yogurt and fruit of choice.
#3 Grain Free Cereal Bowl
This grain-free cereal bowl is ready in just five minutes and is perfect for busy mornings when you need something wholesome in a pinch.
Try our FitOn PRO Grain Free Cereal Bowl
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup almond
- 2 tbsp flaxseeds
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup almond milk
- Mixed berries, to serve
- Banana, sliced, to serve
- Honey, to drizzle
Step #1: Divide the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and flaxseeds between 2 bowls. Sprinkle with cinnamon and stir.
Step #2: Cover with almond milk and serve with berries, sliced banana, and a drizzle of honey.
Step #3: Enjoy!
Make Morning’s Sweet, Without the Added Sugar
With these yummy and nourishing breakfast options, you can still enjoy a bowl of cereal and feel good while doing so. Whether you mix up a FitOn recipe or opt for a store-bought cereal brand, remember these healthy hacks to keep your breakfast cereal choices nourishing and supportive of your goals!
Want more breakfast recipe inspiration? Sign up for FitOn PRO and get access to delicious recipes and personalized meal plans!