Best Healthy Cereal: 6 Best Healthy Cereals for a Good-for-You Morning

I have a love-hate relationship with shopping for cereal at the grocery store. On the one hand, you’ve got options, a whole-ass aisle stocked from end to end with just one food. But as any chronically indecisive individual knows, that much choice can be crippling, especially if you’re of an age when you’ve started to consider things like how much sugar you should reasonably be consuming a daily basis.

In a way, this list is a gift to myself: A cereal aisle crib sheet, a shortlist of breakfast options that taste good and aren’t egregiously awful for me. Now, an entire industry has sprung up around designer cereals tailored to specific dietary restrictions (I’m thinking direct-to-consumer brands like Magic Spoon), but this list is meant to be your guide at the grocery store. Which of those healthy cereals you see stocked on the shelves would you actually want to fill your bowl with on a daily basis? That’s what we set out to determine.

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best healthy cereal

Best of the Best

Special K

Beloved by moms since the 1950s, Special K still has an addictive crunch, a pleasant sweetness, and that satisfying feeling that you’re doing something good for yourself when you eat it. Of all the cereals we tried that come in flake form, this was the absolute best overall, thanks to a winning combo of rice, wheat, and barley that tastes great and stands up nicely to milk. The brand’s zsushed-up versions, like Red Berries and Fruit & Yogurt, start to get pretty sugary. Special K even sell a variety with hunks of chocolate tossed in with the flakes. I say stick with the classic K and just dress it up yourself with fresh fruit or a sprinkle of granola. The flakes are a great base, but they’re good on their own too.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best healthy cereal

Best Classic

Cheerios

As we always say, some things are classics for a reason, and Cheerios absolutely fit that bill. There’s something so wonderfully nostalgic about their roasty oat flavor and the way they bob and float in a bowl of milk. Plus, they’re genuinely low in sugar if that’s a consideration. Sweeten them on your own terms with some sliced-up banana, or just enjoy them dry and right out of a Ziplock baggie as generations of toddlers have. Cheerios is a delicious and satisfying cereal that feels and is healthy.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Best healthy cereal

Best Texture

Kashi Go Original

The downfall of most cereal is monotony. If being forced to consume an entire box of cereal with just one shape and texture feels like punishment, give Kashi Go a shot. There’s a lot going on in this box, including weird little stick bundles, pellets of crispy puffed rice, and even whole oats for chew. It’s a true festival of tastes and textures, and it’s high in protein so it’ll fill you up for a while. My favorite part is the added honey, which gives it a pleasant and palatable sweetness.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best healthy cereal

Best Crunch

Smart Start Original Antioxidants

Compared to other cereals on this list, this one has kind of a lot of sugar, but it’s packed with antioxidants and the crunch is so good, I just had to include it on this list. The box packs both multigrain flakes and little sweet, oaty clusters to break things up a little. To me this seems like a great option if you want to wean kids off a super-sugary cereal like Frosted Flakes. This tastes just as good and definitely has more going for it in the nutrition department. I brought this box home with me.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best healthy cereal

Best with Fruit

Kashi Simply Raisin

Okay, I know raisins are controversial. If you do not like raisins, you have our permission to stop reading this entry and move on to the next one. If you don’t like raisins, you will not like this cereal. But, if you’re a raisin fan or are at least raisin tolerant, give these a shot. The Mini-Wheat-like biscuits are stuffed with a raisin filling that’s bursting with natural sweetness and also packs a bunch of yummy spice—I tasted cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Plus, the filling gives the dry, crunchy exteriors a pleasant bit of chew. I personally love raisins (I can’t imagine not liking small, sweet, wrinkly grapes), and I’d pick this over raisin bran any day.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best healthy cereal

Best Pellet

All-Bran Buds

Several of the healthy cereals we tried come in what I can only describe as pellet form. All-Bran Buds straight-up look like the food you give to goats from the palm of your hand at the petting zoo, but taste much, much better (not that I’ve tasted goat food). To me these seem like Kellogg’s answer to Grape Nuts, a Post product, but they’re much tastier, thanks to a satisfying burst of wheat flavor with every bite and a mild sweetness that some of the other hard-core healthy cereals shy away from. The box shows these as part of a parfait, which seems like a nice application, but they’re great in a bowl of milk too, a perfect blank canvas for dried fruit, nuts, and more.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: Grape Nuts, Bob’s Red Mill Muesli, General Mills Total, Nature’s Path Organic Heritage Flakes, Barbara’s Multigrain Puffins Cereal

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About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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  • A harsh, HARSH reminder that Cinnamon Life and Frosted Mini-Wheats are probably not ACTUALLY healthy compared to these.

    Reply
  • Great Grains Raisin, date & pecan Post cereal is my favorite healthy cereal. At least, I think it is healthy…

    Reply