15 Tasty Cereals That Are Actually Healthy

Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Cereal: The childhood staple is now America’s favorite breakfast, which actually makes a lot of sense. Cold cereal is a fast, easy, and inexpensive meal or even a speedy snack.

Still, cereal sometimes gets a bad rap for being packed with sugar, low in protein, and generally lacking nutritional value. (If it has marshmallows in it, it probably isn’t good for you — sorry). But, don't dismiss the whole category; there are some healthy options hiding behind the sugary kid favorites. The 15 boxes to follow might not come with a prize inside, but they’ll fuel you up to start your day off right.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Barbara’s Original Puffins
This cereal has a lot going for it, and we’re not just talking about the adorable puffin on the box. Crunchy, dairy- and wheat-free, only lightly sweetened, and relatively high in fiber, it's a solid morning option.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Barbara’s Cinnamon Puffins
With a little more sweetness than the original Puffins, these corn pillows are a good option for those with a sweet tooth who are still trying to watch their sugar intake. They’ve got six grams each of fiber and sugar, so they taste great while keeping you full. Without the milk, they make a great crunchy afternoon snack.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Barbara’s Snackimals Vanilla Blast Cereal
While they’re probably meant for someone a lot younger, we won’t tell if you eat these tasty little animals straight out of the box. The adorable critters make for a sweet, crunchy, low-cal breakfast or snack.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Bob’s Red Mill Crunchy Coconut Granola
Thanks to its combination of rich, wholesome flavors — such as molasses, coconut, sesame seeds, and vanilla — this is the perfect cereal to snack on sans milk. It’s also packed with healthy fats courtesy of the coconut.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Cascadian Farms Hearty Morning
Granola, bran, and whole grains pack this cereal with eight grams of fiber, which should keep you full straight through to lunch. Top with your favorite fruit or nuts to add extra flavor.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Cascadian Farms Multi Grain Squares
Made with whole wheat, rice, and corn, these little squares are high in fiber and relatively high in protein, making them a smart choice for a morning meal.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Cascadian Farms Purely O’s
Extremely similar to another brand (cough, Cheerios), this version boasts mainly organic ingredients for a slightly different spin on an old favorite.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Erewhon Raisin Bran
Loaded with just five ingredients and a whole lot of taste, this organic take on an old classic relies on raisins to add just the right amount of sweetness. With six grams of fiber and five grams of protein, this bran satisfies.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
General Mills Cheerios
This American classic is a kitchen staple for a reason. It lists whole grain oats as the first ingredient and boasts three grams of fiber per serving. With just one gram of sugar per serving, it’s the perfect cereal to top with your favorite fruit. (Just note that Cheerios are pretty low in protein, so it might be worth adding in a tablespoon of nut butter or plain yogurt to really get going.)
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
General Mills Kix
Kid-tested, nutritionist-approved, this childhood fave is low in calories and sugar but has a surprising amount of fiber for a cereal made from whole-grain corn.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
General Mills Total
This one's a total workhorse with 100% whole grain flaky goodness — and it’s packed with vitamins to boot. Bonus idea: Crush it up to use in place of breadcrumbs as a healthier breading in your favorite recipes.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
General Mills Wheaties
Breakfast of champions? You bet. With just four grams of sugar and three grams of fiber, these whole grain wheat flakes will certainly make you feel like a champ — even if you never get your face on a box.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Whole Wheat Biscuits
Though it’s made with only four ingredients, this cereal packs a punch. The crunchy biscuits are made from whole grain wheat and are loaded with five grams of fiber per serving. With six grams of protein per serving, a bowl of this in the morning can reduce hunger long after breakfast is over.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Kashi GoLean Vanilla Graham Clusters
Not only does this sweet cereal have a whopping nine (!) grams of fiber and fewer than 10 grams of sugar per serving, its 11 grams of protein up the ante big time — the average cereal has just three grams.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Kashi Heart to Heart Honey Toasted Oat Cereal
They’ve done it again at Kashi. This good-for-you cereal is loaded with fiber and whole oat flour (and just five grams of sugar!), making it a great bet for your morning.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
How To Pick A Better Cereal: Your Action Plan
Ready to tackle the cereal aisle? Three key factors go into selecting a cereal that will offer the best nutritional bang for your buck, says Tina Gowin, RD, CDN: sugar, fiber, and whole grains. And, don’t forget about portion sizes. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Limit sugar. Fewer than 10 grams of sugar per serving is ideal for satisfying your sweet tooth without turning breakfast into dessert. This is particularly important if you want to avoid a sugar crash later — and the headache, irritability, and anxiety that can come with it.

Embrace fiber. To feel fuller longer, look for at least three grams of fiber per serving. A diet high in fiber will help digestion. It can also reduce cholesterol levels, keep those tricky blood sugar levels steady, and even improve physical performance.

Don’t skip over the ingredients list. The first ingredient should be a type of whole grain — whole wheat, whole oats, or whole barley — which can help promote heart health. Also look for ingredients you recognize and can pronounce, rather than processed ones.

Power up with protein. If you want to load up on protein during breakfast, which can help curb overeating later, look for brands with more than five grams per serving. Does your favorite cereal fall short? Pair it with an egg or yogurt to round out your morning meal.

Keep portions in mind. It’s easy to forget that cereals have a suggested serving size — and it can be a lot smaller than what we’re pouring straight from the box. Gowin suggests measuring out the serving as a start to see what it actually looks like and whether more is really necessary. Bulking up cereal with chopped nuts or fruit, like a sliced banana or a handful of berries, is an easy ways to make your bowl more filling if that one serving just isn’t cutting it.

And, there you have it: Your guide to navigating the breakfast aisle with ease. Happy munching!

Next: Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings