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The Best Cereals - 2021

Last updated on July 30, 2021
Best Cereals

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Our Picks For The Top Cereals

Show Contents
Our Take
  Our Top Pick

General Mills Gluten-Free Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal

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General Mills

Gluten-Free Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal

Overall Take

Gluten-Free GoodnessThese rolled oats are sweetened just enough with honey.

  Runner Up

Kellogg’s Special K Breakfast Cereal, 3-Pack

Kellogg's

Special K Breakfast Cereal, 3-Pack

Overall Take

Easy on TeethWheat flakes get an extra dose of sweetness from berries.

  We Also Like

QUAKER Life Breakfast Cereal

QUAKER

Life Breakfast Cereal

Overall Take

Subtle Cinnamon FlavorKeep your heart strong with these flavorful treats.

Kellogg’s Breakfast Cereal Variety Pack

Kellogg's

Breakfast Cereal Variety Pack

Overall Take

Avatar
Guide written by Tod Caviness
Last updated on July 30, 2021

Of all the various foods that might qualify as breakfast fare, perhaps nothing inspires as much nostalgia for our youth as a nice bowl of cereal. Many of us have memories of gulping down some Cheerios and milk while watching Saturday morning cartoons (or YouTube videos, depending on our age).

Since then, some of us have stopped eating cereal, seeing it as a kid’s treat that delivers a sugar high and not much else. The truth is, cereal can be the healthy centerpiece of any breakfast if you choose the right one — and it’s certainly much easier to prepare than a smoothie.

If health isn’t a concern, you’ll find plenty of marshmallow-filled delights on the store shelves. If you’re watching your calories and cholesterol, though, you’ll find there are still a lot of options out there.

The first things you’ll want to look for in a healthy cereal are the primary ingredients. If some sort of grain isn’t at the very top, you’re off to a bad start. Whole grains, whole wheat or whole oats are best. They can provide a firm backbone of fiber and protein and studies have shown they can help guard against diabetes and heart disease. You won’t get those same benefits out of cereals with a flour base or processed grains.

Don’t forget to check the nutrition label for other vitamins your body might need. Many modern cereals are fortified with vitamins that you can find right on the box. Cereals are naturally a decent source of protein, but you can also look for calcium, vitamin D or B vitamins. About 5 grams of fiber is a good baseline for healthy cereals.

Things to avoid include artificial flavorings and coloring, but don’t necessarily turn your nose up at fat. Fats can be a good thing as long as they come from wholesome sources like nuts or flaxseed.

The Best Cereals

1
  Our Top Pick

General Mills Gluten-Free Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal

The healthy taste of Cheerios gets an extra jolt of flavor from real honey in this classic cereal. Made from rolled oats, these bites will satisfy kids and adults alike without being overly sweet. Not only is this cereal rich in whole grains, it's also gluten-free.

Features


Specifications

Brand
General Mills
Model
2
  Runner Up

Kellogg’s Special K Breakfast Cereal, 3-Pack

Get your daily dose of grains with these fortified cereals. Thanks to the variety pack, you can take your pick of red berries or fruit and yogurt to complement the wheat flakes. Either way, these cereals go down easy, even for those who have dental issues.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Kellogg's
Model
3
  We Also Like

QUAKER Life Breakfast Cereal

This twist on classic Life cereal doesn't overshadow what made the original flavor so popular. The addition of cinnamon is a welcome complement to the whole grain texture. They stay crispy in milk and contribute to a heart-healthy diet.

Features


Specifications

Brand
QUAKER
Model

Our Cereal Buying Guide

Of all the various foods that might qualify as breakfast fare, perhaps nothing inspires as much nostalgia for our youth as a nice bowl of cereal. Many of us have memories of gulping down some Cheerios and milk while watching Saturday morning cartoons (or YouTube videos, depending on our age).

Since then, some of us have stopped eating cereal, seeing it as a kid’s treat that delivers a sugar high and not much else. The truth is, cereal can be the healthy centerpiece of any breakfast if you choose the right one — and it’s certainly much easier to prepare than a smoothie.

If health isn’t a concern, you’ll find plenty of marshmallow-filled delights on the store shelves. If you’re watching your calories and cholesterol, though, you’ll find there are still a lot of options out there.

The first things you’ll want to look for in a healthy cereal are the primary ingredients. If some sort of grain isn’t at the very top, you’re off to a bad start. Whole grains, whole wheat or whole oats are best. They can provide a firm backbone of fiber and protein and studies have shown they can help guard against diabetes and heart disease. You won’t get those same benefits out of cereals with a flour base or processed grains.

Don’t forget to check the nutrition label for other vitamins your body might need. Many modern cereals are fortified with vitamins that you can find right on the box. Cereals are naturally a decent source of protein, but you can also look for calcium, vitamin D or B vitamins. About 5 grams of fiber is a good baseline for healthy cereals.

Things to avoid include artificial flavorings and coloring, but don’t necessarily turn your nose up at fat. Fats can be a good thing as long as they come from wholesome sources like nuts or flaxseed.

DWYM Fun Fact

Another reason to look for whole grains in your cereal? If it’s not grains or oats, then it’s technically not cereal at all. The word “cereal” is derived from Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture and grain crops.

The Cereal Tips and Advice

  • So you’ve bought a healthy cereal that helps out your heart. Don’t drop the ball by giving yourself an excessive portion, or soaking it in the wrong kind of milk. Cow’s milk can be fine in moderation and a source of additional protein. If you’re trying to watch your calories and fats, though, go for a soy or almond milk alternative. If your cereal is flavorful enough, you might not even notice the difference.
  • Beware of added sugars, which are a common problem in kids’ cereals and they can even creep into cereals that supposedly get their sweetening from fruit. Always check the ingredients for the amount of sugar, and shoot for something that has 6 grams or less per ounce.
  • If you can’t do without a little extra sweetness in your bowl, don’t despair. Your best bet is to add some fresh fruit yourself. Your heart will thank you, and nothing goes down easier with grains than a few fresh blueberries or strawberries.