6 of the Healthiest Breakfast Cereals on Shelves, According to Experts

Magic Spoon/Amazon
Magic Spoon/Amazon / Magic Spoon/Amazon
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Eating a bowl of cereal in the morning with the right ingredients can help you feel better and fuller throughout the day. Unfortunately, many commercial options you find in the grocery store are loaded with sugar and sodium and lack the nutrients you really need, like fiber (Hint: if there's an anthropomorphic animal wearing a backward hat on the box, it's probably not the healthiest choice. That goes double if said anthropomorphic animal has its own Twitter account.)

To start, Melissa Dietz, MS, RD, CDN, CDCES, a clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Huntington Medical Group, suggests choosing a cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber, less than 7 grams of sugar, and less than 220 milligrams of sodium per serving. From there, you'll find a lot of other factors to consider, so to make it easier, we spoke to three other nutritionists over email to see which cereals they recommend buying.

1. Oatmeal

McCann's Irish Oatmeal Store/Amazon

Three of our experts recommend oatmeal, specifically whole rolled oats or steel-cut oats, as an excellent option for your first meal of the day. Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, a New Jersey-based diabetes specialist and author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet, suggests this breakfast for many clients. It's a good source of whole grains, prebiotic fiber, and resistant starch, which she says has been found to improve gut health, blood glucose levels, and lower cholesterol. “When choosing an oatmeal, look for a variety that is made of simple ingredients,” Palinski-Wade writes to Mental Floss via email. Nicole Sohayegh, MS, RDN, CDN, CLT at New York City Nutrition, also likes oats because they are high in fiber, easy to make, and unprocessed. Fellow New York City Nutrition colleague Francesca Alfano MS, CNS, CDN recommends adding nuts, seeds, and berries to the hot grain cereal.

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2. Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal

Food For Life/Amazon

If you want to go with a commercial cereal instead of plain oats, Alfano recommends looking for one with high quantities of protein and fiber with the lowest amount of sugar possible. She suggests clients try this Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted-grain cereal from Food For Life, which has 6 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, and zero grams of sugar. “Look for ingredients that are recognizable to you when you check the nutrition label,” she writes to Mental Floss. Palinski-Wade also recommends this product, especially for people with diabetes.

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3. Magic Spoon

Magic Spoon/Amazon

For those with diabetes who still want to have a sweeter cereal option, Palinski-Wade suggests trying out Magic Spoon. This cereal has 13 to 14 grams of protein per serving and only 4 grams of net carbs. Carbohydrates can elevate blood sugar, so focusing on cereals with slow-digested carbs like whole grains and more fiber can help, she says. The cereal also uses inulin, which, according to the company, comes from chicory root extract to provide prebiotic fiber to keep your gut healthy. “[They come] in a variety of flavors (and colorful versions) that look and taste like the popular sugar-sweetened varieties you find on store shelves,” Palinski-Wade says.

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4. One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Oat O’s

One Degree Organic Foods/Amazon

Sohayegh says that buying organic is very important. “It’s been discovered that glyphosate, a toxic weed killer, has been found in many commercial cereal products,” she writes to Mental Floss. She recommends getting Sprouted Oat O’s, an organic version of Cheerios, as an alternative. Sprouted Oat O’s only uses seven ingredients, including organic sprouted whole grain oats and sprouted garbanzos, to create its cereal.

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5. Three Wishes (Unsweetened)

Three Wishes/Amazon

“If you are choosing a grain-free option, look for ones that are made with legumes such as chickpeas,” Alfano says. Chickpeas are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Three Wishes cereal only uses four ingredients in its unsweetened version: chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein, and sea salt. This is also an excellent option for people who live gluten-free lives but still enjoy a bowl of cereal in the morning.

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6. Fiber One

General Mills/Amazon

“The average U.S. adult consumes just 14 grams [of fiber] where the RDA [recommended daily allowance] for fiber is between 28-35 grams per day,” Palinski-Wade says. She likes that Fiber One has 18 grams of your daily fiber in a single serving, which can keep you feeling full throughout the day, help your gut, and keep your blood sugar stable.

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