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