Navigating The Cereal Isle

This is Part 1 of a multi-part grocery store series.  

Whether you’re a 9 year old looking for something sweet and crunchy or you’re a 55 year old looking to lose a few pounds, learning to navigate your way through the cereal aisle is an important, positive step in your healthy living lifestyle.

The average American supposedly eats about 160 bowls of cereal in one year.  Many of us eat way more than this (and how much cereal, by the way, is in each of those bowls? 😉 )  Needless to say, making healthy cereal choices is a great opportunity for us to include more whole grains and smart nutrition into our lives.

source

Before we walk through the cereal aisle, keep these handy-dandy pointers in mind:

1) A healthy cereal should contain at least (at LEAST) 3-5 grams of fiber per serving.  Protein is a nice perk too, but not completely necessary if you’ll be adding a protein-containing milk substitute (i.e., soy) or cow’s milk to your bowl.

2) The cereal should contain 10 grams of sugar or less per serving.  Americans are eating 22 teaspoons of sugar a DAY.  Along with sodas and juices, cereal is a great place to chisel away at our sugar intake for the day.

3) Find a texture/flavor you like.  It doesn’t matter if the fiber twigs meet our criteria.  If you don’t like it, you won’t eat it.  End of story.

4) The cereal should have a good volume to calorie ratio.  That is, you should get a decent quantity of cereal for how many calories you are consuming.  If the calories listed are 250 but the serving size is only 1/2 cup, it’s time to move on!  HINT: This refers to most granola cereals!

Here is a list of my top ten favorite cereals.  You will most definitely find others that are higher in fiber, lower in sugar.  But I find these have a nice mixture of the two, creating a delicious morning meal.

1) Kashi Heart to Heart Honey Toasted or Warm Cinnamon Oats, 3/4 cup, 120 calories, 5 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar, 4 grams protein

Cereal: Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat Cereal

2) Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Biscuits, 28 biscuits, 180 calories, 5 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 6 grams protein

3) Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls, 3/4 cup, 120 calories, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 5 grams sugar

4) Life Cereal, 3/4 cup, 120 calories, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams fiber, 6 grams sugar

5. Kix, 1-1/4 cups, 110 calories, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, 3 grams sugar

6. Wheat Chex, 1 cup, 210 calories, 6 grams fiber, 6 grams protein, 6 grams sugar

7. Uncle Sam, 1 cup, 230 calories, 11 grams fiber, 9 grams protein, 1 gram sugar

8. Cheerios, 1 cup, 100 calories, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 1 gram sugar

9. Frosted Mini Wheats, 1 cup, 180 calories 5 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 12 grams sugar*

*this is higher in sugar than I recommend, but with such a short ingredient list and 5 grams of fiber, this is one cereal to include in your regular routine.  OR, buy the unsweetened variety and add your own natural sweetness with sliced banana or berries!

10. Kashi Go Lean, 1 cup, 150 calories, 10 grams fiber, 14 grams protein, 6 grams sugar

Add a piece of fruit, a cup of milk (or milk substitute such as soy, almond, coconut, etc) and get your day started right!

Question: What are your favorite cereals?

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16 thoughts on “Navigating The Cereal Isle

  1. I’m glad to see that one of my top two favorite cereals made your list 🙂 Kashi Cinnamon Harvest and Puffins are the ones I just can’t get enough of lately. We don’t have Heart to Heart up here in Canada, but I’m planning on picking it up the next time I’m down in the States because I keep hearing about how great it is.

  2. I love all the Cheerio varieties! I mix them with bran flakes to get a fiber boost with the yummy Cheerio flavor of my week. 😛

  3. The cereal aisle is a candy aisle. You’re right there are some good choices there, but the more I learn and the more I look, the more convinced I am that we pay a lot for those quick breakfasts. We eat a lot of oatmeal – cooked, raw, soaked, and it saves us TONS of sugar, and TONS of money.

    • Oatmeal is one of your best breakfast options, along with oat bran, buckwheat and quinoa. Cheaper and more nutritious. 😀 However, for people who love cereal and continue to choose it as their breakfast of choice, there really are some healthier choices out there. Most kids (and many adults) in the US aren’t eating breakfast at all. And if they are, it’s pop-tarts or eggo waffles. I’d love to see more people transition to at least a whole grain in the form of cereal, even if there is a little sugar added. And an unsweetened shredded wheat or something like Erowhen’s Buckwheat Whole Grain Flakes is right up there with oatmeal in nutrition stats. 😀

  4. My favourite cereal as a kid was Just Right, no lie. 3/4c is 180 cal, 3g fibre, 8g sugar, 4g protein.

    I also really like Harvest Crunch by Quaker but it’s granola so I know it’s a million calories and I never buy it.

    Actually, to be honest, I haven’t bought cereal in months and months.

  5. Last year I won “three months worth” of cereal which turned out to be twelve cereal boxes frome Weetabix line of cereals and Puffins. It definitely lasted me more than three months!

    I like Weetabix with bananas or cinnamon Puffins.

  6. I rarely eat boxed cereal, and when I do it’s always Shreddies. Mostly I eat homemade granola or porridge (my favourite is Red River Cereal).

  7. Yay, I’m not the only weirdo checking out fiber and sugar content on the cereal aisle. Love me some Wheat Chex, Honey Nut Shredded Wheat, Oatmeal Squares-brown sugar, Fiber One Honey Cluster, and…granolas. Thanks for the tips. I just discovered and really enjoy your site!

  8. Pingback: Top 10 of 2013 | The Simple Dietitian

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