14 Healthy Cereals Nutrition Pros Swear By

Your favorite “healthy” cereal may not be as nutritious as you think. Pour a better bowl with these nutrition expert-approved options.

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When Reader’s Digest asked leading nutrition experts for their favorite healthy cereals, they didn’t mince words.

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“Ninety-eight percent of available cereals are junk, so it’s actually pretty easy to pick a healthy one,” says Tamara Duker Freuman, MS, RD, a New York City–based dietitian who works in a gastroenterology practice. High sugar content disqualifies most brands, she says. Even many whole-grain cereals with healthy-sounding names may be lower in fiber or higher in sugar than you’d think; you really have to look at labels and ingredients. To save you time, we rounded up the top picks.

Uncle Sam Original Whole Wheat & Flaxseed Cereal

Courtesy Attune Foods

"For me, criteria for a truly healthy cereal are 100 percent whole grain, with at least 3 grams of fiber (and ideally 4 to 5), 2 grams or less of added sugar, and a recognizable and reasonably short ingredient list, devoid of lots processed ingredients and artificial preservatives like BHT. I also prefer cereals whose fiber comes from whole grains/bran rather than functional/added fibers like inulin/chicory root fiber, which can be very gassy for some people and are the mark of a more processed food. This is one of a few cereals that meets these rules. Others include: Erewhon Quinoa & Chia, Uncle Sam Original, Original Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, and Arrowhead Mills Kamut Flakes." — Tamara Duker Freuman, MS, RD, a New York City–based dietitian who works in a gastroenterology practice. Nutrition info per 3/4 cup serving: 190 calories, 5g fat, 10g fiber, 7g protein, 1g sugar

Barbara’s Bakery Original Puffins

Courtesy Barbara's

"Since so many of my clients have blood sugar and obesity issues, I recommend cereals with 5 or more grams fiber per serving and 5 or fewer grams of sugar per serving.  As you can imagine, this is not a wide playing field! This fits my criteria perfectly." — Cheryl Forberg, RD, chef and nutritionist for NBC's The Biggest Loser Nutrition info per 3/4 cup serving: 90 calories, 1g fat, 5g fiber, 2g protein, 5g sugar

Cascadian Farms Purely O's Cereal

Courtesy Cascadian Farm

"Cascadian Farms makes great kid-friendly cereals with organic ingredients. Similar to Cheerios in taste, these come in different flavors including chocolate, honey, and fruitful O's, which are colored naturally (unlike that yucky artificial stuff) using ingredients such as elderberry juice and turmeric." — Joanna Li, RD, nutritionist at Foodtrainers in NYC Nutrition info per 1 1/4 cup serving: 120 calories, 1.5g fat, 3g fiber, 3g protein, 1g sugar

Erewhon Corn Flakes

Courtesy Attune Foods

"I love the flavor of corn, which is a whole grain, and this brand is organic, gluten free, and unsweetened. In fact, the only ingredients are organic corn and sea salt, but the sodium is quite low at 60 mg per cup, 3 percent of the daily value. Because it's not high in fiber and it's easy to digest, it makes a great pre-exercise breakfast or snack, along with a little almond milk and banana slices." — Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of the New York Times best seller S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches Nutrition info per 1 cup serving: 130 calories, 0g fat, 1g fiber, 3g protein, 0g sugar

Kashi Go Lean Crunch Honey Almond Flax

Courtesy Kashi

"This Kashi cereal is a great combination of healthy ingredients providing a powerhouse breakfast for busy people. It's a good source of protein with 9 grams per serving—about the same amount in an egg. The average American gets only 10 to 13 grams of fiber per day, so this cereal’s 8 grams per serving can be an important source. Almonds and flax boost levels of omega 3 fatty acids. By some estimates, Americans eat almost 10 times the amount of omega 6 fatty acids versus omega 3 fatty acids, an imbalance that may contribute to inflammation." — Roberta Anding, MS, RD, clinical dietitian & director of sports nutrition, Baylor College of Medicine Nutrition info per 2/3 cup serving: 200 calories, 5g fat, 8g fiber, 9g protein, 12g sugar

Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola Cereal

Courtesy Purely Elizabeth

"Not all gluten-free cereals are created equal, but Purely Elizabeth is a great one. It is slightly sweetened with coconut palm sugar (not evaporated cane sugar like most are). Chia seeds add a boost of omega-3s. The fat from the coconut oil contributes to making you feel full and also helps you burn fat." — Joanna Li, RD, nutritionist at Foodtrainers in NYC Nutrition info per 1/3 cup serving: 140 calories, 6g fat, 2g fiber, 4g protein, 6g sugar

Bear Naked Granola  

Courtesy Kellogg

"When I don't have time to make my own granola, this is one of my favorite brands. To keep the servings large and the calories low I serve my cereal bottoms up! I fill my bowl with fruit, then I add 1/3 cup of fat-free milk or almond milk and top it with 1/3 cup of granola cereal for a perfectly portioned bowl that keeps me satisfied until lunch." — Gina Homolka, author, photographer, and recipe developer of Skinnytaste.com Nutrition info per 1/4 cup serving of Protein Granola Honey Almond: 140 calories, 7g fat, 2g fiber, 10g protein, 5g sugar

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal 

Courtesy Food for Life Baking Co.

"The sprouted factor makes this cereal a win. Sprouting makes grains easier to digest and the nutrients more easily absorbed. It also provides a protein and fiber punch, with 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber plus no sugar." — Joanna Li, RD, nutritionist at Foodtrainers in NYC Nutrition info per 1/2 cup serving: 190 calories, 1g fat, 6g fiber, 8g protein, 0g sugar

Barbara’s Multigrain Squarefuls in Maple Brown Sugar

Courtesy Barbara's

"They're delicious, packed with 6 grams of fiber per serving, their first ingredient is whole wheat and they're Non-GMO Project Verified. Wins all around! I like to eat this cereal with unsweetened vanilla almond milk." — Annabel Adams, Feed Me, I'm Cranky blogger Nutrition info per 1 cup serving: 200 calories, 1g fat, 6g fiber, 4g protein, 9g sugar

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