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How to Choose the Best Breakfast Cereals According to a Dietitian

Ready-to-eat cereals are quick and tasty breakfast options. However, most options on the market are high in added sugar and lack nutrients that help keep you satisfied for more than 30 minutes. The cereal aisle can also feel very overwhelming, especially with so many different brands and flavor variations available. So, here is what to look for that will allow you to choose the best breakfast cereals:


Carbohydrates

Look for options that provide whole grains versus refined carbohydrates. This includes wheat, brown rice, oats, or bran. 


Aim for cereals that provide 5 grams or more of fiber per serving size. Fiber helps keep us fuller for longer, supports our metabolism, and is essential for gut and cardiovascular health.


Keep an eye out for added sugars. Even cereals marketed as healthy can provide a significant source of added sugar. You can find the amount of added sugars on a Nutrition Facts Label under “Total Sugars.” In general, aim to choose cereals with 5% or less of the Daily Value (DV) for added sugars. The daily recommendation for added sugar is 24 grams for women and 38 grams for men. 



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Protein

If your goal is to get stronger and healthier in the new year, aim to start your day with 10 or more grams of protein. Protein also helps balance blood sugar to avoid the feeling of an energy crash after a higher carbohydrate meal. The milk you’re adding to the cereal will also contribute to the total protein; 1 cup of cow's milk = 7 grams of protein. Non-dairy milk options are usually lower in protein, but certain brands may be fortified with extra protein. Mixing cereal with Greek yogurt is another way of upping the protein. 


Add-Ons:

Consider adding seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower), nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans), or fruits (berries, apple, banana) to boost the nutritional value. 


Here are some recommended cereals and their nutritional breakdown:


Cereal

Serving Size

Calories

Protein (g)

Carbohydrates (g)

Fiber (g)

Added Sugar (g)

Fat (g)

Sodium (mg)

365 Bran Flakes

1 cup

130

5

32

7

3

1

125

Cascadian Farms Organic Hearty Morning Fiber Cereal

1 cup

220

6

51

10

10

3.5

180

Catalina Crunch Cinnamon Toast

½ cup

110

11

14

9

0

5

110

Cheerios

1 ½ cup

140

5

29

4

2

2.5

190

Kashi Go

1 ¼ cup

180

11

31

13

8

1.5

170

Kellogs All-Bran

⅔ cup

120

5

36

12

8

2

95

Kellogs Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size

25 biscuits

210

5

51

6

12

1.5

10

Post Premier Protein Mixed Berry Almond

1 cup

180

20

14

2

4

5

250

Post Shredded Wheat

1 ⅓ cup

210

7

49

8

7

1.5

0

Quacker Oatmeal Squares

1 cup 

210

6

44

5

9

3

190

Three Wishes Unsweetened Cereal

1 cup

120

8

17

8

0

2

130


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