The Healthiest Old-School Cereals

Cereals, a traditional American breakfast, comes with many options, including but not limited to whole wheat, rice, sugar-free, gluten-free, high-fiber, keto, and protein cereals. You probably found a favorite cereal that passed your taste test but is it the healthiest? In this article, you'll discover the healthiest old-school grains in the U.S.

Key takeaways:
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    Choosing healthier cereals can be time-consuming. They contain many ingredients, including but not limited to whole wheat, sugar-free, gluten-free, high-fiber, high-protein, and low sodium.
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    According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), healthy cereals must contain ¾ ounces of whole grains and have no more than 1 gram of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, and 2.5 grams of added sugars.
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    It is essential to remember that cereals are processed and packaged foods.

Cereals are delicious and easy-to-make breakfasts that people of all ages enjoy eating. It is good to eat foods that bring you joy. However, remember that what you eat affects your health, especially if you eat it frequently. Therefore, choosing healthier options when buying processed and packaged foods like cereals is important. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "healthy" cereals must contain:

  • 3/4 ounces of whole grains;
  • No more than 1 gramof saturated fat equivalent to 5% of daily value;
  • No more than 230 milligrams of sodium, equivalent to 10% of daily value;
  • No more than 2.5 grams of added sugars equivalent to 5% of daily value.

Low or no-sugar cereals

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans consume more added sugars than they should, which may lead to weight gain, obesity, and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Daily added sugar intake should account for less than 10% of your total daily calories, which makes up 50 grams (12 tablespoons of sugar).

Unfortunately, the majority of cereals are loaded with extra sugar. Manufacturers are very clever at disguising how much sugar a cereal contains. They use various terms for added sugar, including high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, glycerin, and honey. It's no secret that Americans love their sugar—even if they don't realize how much they are consuming. For example, would you believe that some cereals contain up to 50% added sugar per serving?

Original Cheerios

Original Cheerios contain 100% whole-grain oats. It also is gluten-free and has no artificial flavors or colors. One serving (39 grams) of Original Cheerios contains:

Calories:140 kcal
Saturated fats:0.5 g
Sodium:190 mg
Added sugar:1 g
Carbohydrates:29 g
Fiber:4 g
Protein:5 g

Uncle Sam Original Wheat Berry Flakes

Uncle Sam Original Wheat Berry Flakes is made from four ingredients: whole wheat kernels, flaxseed, salt, and barley malt. It is also Non-GMO and vegan. One serving (60 grams) of Uncle Sam Original Wheat Berry Flakes contains:

Calories:220 kcal
Saturated fats:0.5 g
Sodium:140 mg
Added sugar:0 g
Carbohydrates:43 g
Fiber:10 g
Protein:8 g

High-fiber cereals

Fiber is found in the cell walls of plants. We get fiber from plant foods, including whole grains, legumes, beans, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Nutrition experts recommend eating at least 30 g of fiber daily for a healthy and balanced diet. According to the U.K. National Health Service, eating fiber has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer. In addition, fiber helps improve blood glucose levels, satiety, and heart and digestive health.

Cereals containing whole-grain oats, wheat, corn, buckwheat, rice, or legumes provide more fiber than cereals containing refined grains. One popular high-fiber cereal is Poop Like A Champion High Fiber Cereal. It has 22 grams of fiber per serving — much more than most cereals on the market. It is also non-GMO and gluten-free.

Poop Like A Champion High Fiber Cereal

One serving (40 grams) Poop Like A Champion High Fiber Cereal contains:

Calories:96 kcal
Saturated fat:0 g
Sodium:225 mg
Added sugars:2 g
Carbohydrates:31 g
Fiber:23 g (5 g soluble and 19 g insoluble fiber)
Protein:3 g

High-protein cereals

Healthy and balanced meals, including breakfast, should contain whole grains (¼ of your plate), protein (¼ of your plate), vegetables and fruits (½ of your plate), and healthy oils.

Carbohydrates are commonly the highest macronutrient found in cereals. Therefore, high-protein cereals may provide you with more balanced meals, considering their better macronutrient distribution.

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal

Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal, Almond is high in plant protein. It contains whole grains, including organic sprouted wheat, barley, millet, lentils, soybeans, malted barley, and spelta. It is also non-GMO, vegan, and high-fiber. One serving (57 grams) of Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal, Almond cereal contains:

Calories:220 kcal
Saturated fat:0 g
Sodium:150 mg
Added sugars:1 g
Carbohydrates:34 g
Fiber:6 g
Protein:8 g

Low-sodium cereals

High salt intake is not good for overall health. Salt contains sodium. High salt (high sodium) intake increases blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. You should not exceed the recommended maximum of 6g of salt a day (2.4g sodium).

Nestle Shredded Wheat Bitesize

Nestle Shredded Wheat Bitesize is a 100% whole grain cereal containing low sugar, fat, and salt. One serving (40 grams) of Nestle Shredded Wheat Bitesize cereal contains:

Calories:
147 kcal
Saturated fat:0.2 g
Salt/Sodium:0.02 g/8 mg
Added sugars:0.3 g
Carbohydrates:27.5 g
Fiber:5 g
Protein:4.7 g

Gluten-free cereals

Most cereals consist of grains containing gluten. Gluten occurs naturally in wheat, barley, rye, and crossbreeds of these grains. People with gluten intolerance and celiac disease react to gluten resulting in an immune response damaging the small intestine. Gluten-free cereals are the best option for someone with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Muesli

Lots of cereal brands have gluten-free options. One of the healthier gluten-free cereals you is Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Muesli. It consists of gluten-free rolled oats, various dried fruits, brown rice crisps, soybeans, nuts, and seeds. One serving (40 grams) of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Muesli cereal contains:

Calories:120 kcal
Saturated fat:1 g
Sodium:0 g
Added sugars:1 g
Carbohydrates:19 g
Fiber:3 g
Protein:3 g

Though your favorite breakfast cereal may be convenient and nutritious, keep in mind that cereals are processed and packaged foods. Although cereals are delicious and easy to prepare, it is healthier to eat unprocessed foods.

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