Breakfast cereal sales have been on the decline, and while part of that is because millennials have not jumped on this easy breakfast option, another one is because folks are concerned about eating healthily. And cereal, because of our memories of the sugary stuff we ate as kids, does not often depict the image of good food choices.
But at the end of the day, we still love cereal because it’s an easy, thoughtless breakfast option. There are only so many overnight oats we can eat, only so many smoothies we can blend. Some mornings, cereal is what sounds right.
And so we set out to find cereals that we could feel good about eating for breakfast. Looking at the calories, fat, fiber, protein and sugar content ― and the ingredient list ― we consulted with Charles Mueller, associate professor of clinical nutrition at NYU, and found 10 choices that would make a healthy part of anyone’s morning routine.
Each of these cereals got the stamp of approval by Mueller, and he gave each one a grading based on how well it did in terms of ingredients, sugar content and salt. Check them out:
Nature’s Path Qi-a! Chia, Buckwheat & Hemp Cereal
Mueller says: A. Simple whole ingredients, nothing added.60g per serving140 calories7g fat (.5g saturated fat)4g fiber6g protein0g sugarIngredients: chia seeds, buckwheat groats and hemp seeds.
Barbara’s Bakery Shredded Wheat
Mueller says: A. One ingredient, nothing added!
40g per serving140 calories1g fat5g fiber4g protein0g sugarIngredients: 100 percent whole wheat.
Ezekiel 4:9 Flax Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal
Mueller says: A-. Probably does not need the added sea salt.58g per serving180 calories2.5g fat6g fiber8g protein0g sugarIngredients: Organic Sprouted Wheat, Organic Malted Barley, Organic Flax Seeds, Organic Sprouted Barley, Organic Sprouted Millet, Organic Sprouted Lentils, Organic Sprouted Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Spelt, Filtered Water, Sea Salt.
Mueller says: B+, because of fiber.30g per serving120 calories1g fat14g fiber2g protein0g sugarIngredients: Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Bran, Modified Wheat Starch, Guar Gum, Color (caramel color and annatto extract) Salt, Baking Soda, Sucralose, Natural Flavor.
Post Grape Nuts
Mueller says: B, because of the sugar and salt.58g per servingcalories 2101g fat7g fiber6g protein5g sugarIngredients: whole grain wheat flour, malted barley flour, salt, dried yeast.
Cascadian Farm Organic Hearty Morning
Mueller says: B, because of the added sugar and salt.48g per serving170 calories2.5g fat (.5 saturated fat)8g fiber4g protein8g sugarIngredients: Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Oats, Cane Sugar, Rice, Wheat Bran, Oat Fiber, Sunflower Oil, Honey, Sea Salt, Invert Cane Syrup, Molasses, Vanilla Extract, Annatto Extract Color, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness.
Mueller says: B-, because of the added corn starch, sugar and salt.26g per serving100 calories 2g fat (.5g saturated fat)3g fiber3g protein1g sugarIngredients: whole grain oats, corn starch, sugar, salt, tripotassium phosphate, Vitamin E.
Kashi Cinnamon Harvest
Mueller says: B- , because it's high in added sugar.
55g per serving180 calories1g fat5g fiber6g protein9g sugarIngredients: organic whole grain wheat, organic dried cane syrup, organic cinnamon, natural cinnamon flavor.
Nature’s Path Millet Rice Flakes
Mueller says: B, because there's added sugar (barley malt extract) and salt.30g per serving120 calories3g fiber4g protein4g sugarIngredients: whole oat flour, concentrated grape and/or pear juice, brown rice flour, whole millet, oat bran, barley malt extract, sea salt.
Mueller says: B-, because it's high in added sugar and salt.
58g per serving180 calories2g fat13g fiber12g protein8g sugar
Ingredients: Kashi Seven Whole Grain Honey Puff Cereal (Hard Red Wheat, Brown Rice, Honey, Cane Syrup, Barley, Triticale, Oats, Rye, Buckwheat, Sesame Seeds), Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour, Expeller Pressed Soy Grits, Ground Degerminated Corn, Cane Syrup, Expeller Pressed Soy Protein Isolate, Oat Fiber, Wheat Bran, Expeller Pressed Soy Flour, Corn Bran, Kashi Seven Whole Grains & Sesame Flour (Whole: Oats, Hard Red Wheat, Rye, Brown Rice, Triticale, Barley, Buckwheat, Sesame Seeds), Salt, Natural Flavors, Annatto Extract Color.