Like It, Love It, Avoid It: Breakfast Cereal- Adult

The cereal aisle at the grocery can be intimidating. With what seems like a million of options to choose from, it’s hard to know what is healthy and what is not. Plus, with added claims on the front of cereal boxes, it can be de difficult to decipher what is most important while shopping for cereal. For our newest Like it, Love It, Avoid It post, we wanted to break down our picks for adult breakfast cereal. Later, we will talk more about our picks for kid focused cereals.

Our gold standard for any type of grain (bread, cereal, breakfast bar, etc) is what we call the Five Rule. The product (in one serving) should have 5 grams or more of fiber, 5 grams or more of protein and 5 grams or less of sugar. Next time you are the store, I encourage you to read through various cereal food labels, and you will likely find how difficult it is for cereals to meet the Five Rule. We have included a sampling of cereals that will hopefully guide you on what we recommend and what we suggest to avoid if possible.


Like It: These products met 2 of the 3 qualifiers of the Five Rule.

Seeing how difficult it is to meet 3/3 of the qualifiers of the Five Rule, these example cereals below that meet 2/3 of the qualifiers appear healthy enough to incorporate into your weekly breakfast routine! Aim for sugar content to still be <10 grams per serving with >5 grams fiber and >5 grams protein for an optimum option.

Kashi Go Lean Vanilla Graham Clusters (or all of Kashi’s cereal) – 1 cup serving // 170 calories, 1.5 grams total fat, 9 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 11 grams protein, 12 gm whole grain
*Most of Kashi’s cereals follow a similar pattern with fiber and protein content adequate but sugar content slightly high.
Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes – 3/4 cup serving // 120 calories, 1 gram total fat, 5 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 4 grams protein
* This highly rated organic cereal packs a crunch without excess sugar! This cereal almost makes the Love It category if it had a slightly higher protein content. But, overall, this is a great breakfast option! Try mixing it with milk or adding greek yogurt and fresh fruit for a spin on a yogurt parfait!


Love It: These products met 3 of the 3 qualifiers of the Five Rule.

Grape-Nuts – 1/2 cup serving // 210 calories, 1 gram total fat, 7 grams fiber (including a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber), 5 grams sugar, 6 grams protein
*This cereal meets all of the qualifiers for the Five Rule. Be cautious of the serving size though, as it is smaller than other cereal options.
Lydia’s Organics Berry Good Cereal – 1/2 cup serving // 270 calories, 20 grams total fat (5 grams saturated fat), 7 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 11 grams protein
* This gluten free, grainless and organic cereal packs a nutrient punch! With healthy fats coming from sunflower seeds and flavor coming from a mix of berries, the nutrient content definitely meets the Five Rule. This would be another great cereal option to mix with yogurt for an added crunch. Check your local Whole Foods for this option or order online!


Avoid It: These products met 1 or none of the 3 qualifiers of the Five Rule or are extremely high in sugar.

Raisin Bran – 1 cup serving // 190 calories, 1 gram total fat, 7 grams fiber, 18 grams sugar, 5 grams protein.
*Although this cereal does meet the qualifiers for fiber and protein, the sugar content is just way too high to justify eating! When reading the ingredient list, you will see that the 3rd and 4th ingredients are sources of sugar, not to mention the dried raisins already included in the cereal! It’s better to purchase a lower sugar option and add your own fresh fruit for flavor!
Total – 3/4 cup serving // 100 calories, 0.5 grams total fat, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar, 2 grams protein
*Although this cereal is lower in calories, the lack of nutritional density puts it on my avoid list. With little protein and fiber content, you will likely find yourself hungry soon after eating this cereal. And, the 2nd and 3rd ingredients on the list are sugar and corn syrup! Also, there are other additives included for preservation that would make me hesitant to consume it.

Talk to us! Do you use the Five Rule when picking cereal? What are some of your favorite kinds? Check out our Homemade Vanilla Almond Granola recipe for a breakfast recipe option!

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