9 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals to Enjoy and 6 Unhealthy Options to Avoid at All Costs

All cereals are not created equal; choose the contents of your breakfast bowl wisely

Kristen Hom

If the first or second ingredient on your box of cereal is sugar, it’s safe to say that you have selected an unhealthy option. Healthier options include carbs from whole grains and a healthy dose of protein.

The cereal aisle offers one of the most colorful displays in every grocery store. With dozens of boxes vying for your attention and, eventually, your hard-earned cash and calories, it can be tempting to stick with what you know. Many traditional cereals, however, are packed with more sugar than anyone should be consuming at breakfast time. We’re urging you to avoid these unhealthy options at all costs and to reach for a healthier breakfast cereal variety.

Click here for 9 Healthiest Cereals to Enjoy and 6 Unhealthy Options to Avoid at All Costs.

Cereal box in hand, you’ll want to turn to the side that lists nutrition facts and ingredients. Pay attention to whatever is listed as the first ingredient. If sugar is listed first, put the box down immediately (we’re surprised the box’s unhealthy contents haven’t caused it to burn your hand yet). Some of the most important components of cereal that we need at breakfast time include tons of fiber, whole grain ingredients, a good dose of protein, and a portion size that will contain the right amount of calories needed to maintain a healthy weight.

For us, if a cereal is to be considered healthy, it should have fewer than 10 grams of sugar per serving. As you'll see, some cereals contain an enviable zero grams of sugar per serving. Having 10 or less grams of sugar, though, can help to cure a morning sweet tooth without causing any of the nasty, undesired bodily side effects that are often associated with sugar consumption. The more sugar in your cereal, the more likely it is to turn into a dessert breakfast. Having too much sugar in the morning may lead you to a sugar crash, and we promise this is not a pleasant experience to have as you walk into work. To keep you satisfied until lunch time, select cereals that have at least three grams of fiber per serving. The same goes for protein; cereals that have more than five grams of protein per serving will keep you full and prevent overeating later in the day. If you can find a cereal high in protein and fiber touting a “no added sugars” label, consider yourself lucky — that’s the type of cereal you want in your morning food arsenal.


If you’re worried about having to read nutrition labels, don’t fret: The Daily Meal is taking the guesswork out of cereal selection by discussing the ingredients and nutritional content of a wide variety of cereals, giving some the green light and placing others on the nutritional naughty list. With our findings in mind, you can select the cereal that fits best into your dietary plan.