Whole grain cereal is a healthy breakfast food that can provide you with the necessary fiber, protein, and nutrients to keep you feeling full and give you energy for the day. There are many delicious choices; for instance, you might enjoy a hot cereal, a low-sugar option, or one with dried fruit. Whole grain cereals are enjoyed by kids and adults alike; whatever your preference, there's a perfect cereal for you!
To help you with your search, we've created a list containing the 10 best whole-grain cereals available online. Our favorite is Weetabix's Organic Whole Grain Cereal because it is packed with whole grains, protein, and fiber. It is also low in sugar, and it is the perfect cereal to make your own by adding your favorite ingredients. There are nine other delicious whole grain cereals on our list, so check them out! If you need some tips to help you choose the best whole grain cereal, scroll down to our buying guide reviewed by a registered dietitian.
Rachel Binkley is a registered dietitian who helps individuals develop healthy habits that fit into their lifestyle. She recommends adequate intakes of all micronutrients to help prevent deficiency as well as chronic conditions that may arise. You can keep up with her recipes, lifestyle, and more on Instagram or her blog, S'more Satisfaction.
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Table of Contents
When choosing a whole grain cereal, there are many factors that you should take into consideration, including the types of whole grains, nutritional content, flavor, and texture. Continue reading to learn more about all these important aspects.
Whole grains have all parts of the seeds intact, including bran, endosperm, and germ. Compared to refined grains that have had all their bran and germ stripped off, whole grains contain a higher amount of vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and iron. They are a great source of protein and carbohydrates, too.
There are many different whole grains. The types that you usually find in cereals include wheat, oat, brown rice, corn, rye, millet, barley, and spelt. These whole grains usually have a slightly sweet, nutty, and earthy flavor.
Some cereals are also made of sprouted grains, such as sprouted barley, sprouted oat, and sprouted millet. These are whole grain seeds that have been soaked in water until they start to germinate. This process breaks down starches and makes sprouted grains easier to digest, as well as more nutrient-dense than regular whole grains.
Some manufacturers might not indicate the whole grains per serving on the packaging, so check the ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order of weight. If a cereal has a type of whole grain listed as the first or second ingredient, you can assume that it can provide you with a significant amount of whole grains.
Another way to see if a cereal contains a significant portion of whole grains is to look for the whole grains stamp created by the Oldways Whole Grains Council. There are three versions of the whole grains stamp: the 100 percent stamp, 50 percent stamp, and basic stamp.
The 100 percent stamp means that all of the cereal's grains are whole grains, and the 50 percent stamp indicates that half of the grains used are whole grains. A cereal that bears the basic stamp must provide at least eight grams of whole grains per serving. You will also find the specific whole grains per serving on the stamp.
Checking the ingredients list is one of the easiest ways to get an overall picture of the food's nutritional value. It can be especially helpful for those who tolerate some whole grains better than others.
I also like to look at the ingredients list for sweeteners. If sugar or something similar is towards the beginning of that list, I might be careful about how much I'm eating at once. It all comes back to how specific foods make you feel and what you want to get out of that meal or snack.
Whole grain cereals come in many different flavors. Simple ones that are only lightly sweetened with sugar are great as a base for you to add your favorite toppings. They go well with all kinds of milk or even yogurt.
If you prefer something flavorful and with added texture, look for cereals that contain extra ingredients. There are many cereals with dried fruit like blueberries or strawberries, or added nuts and seeds.
Many cereals also contain chunks of chocolate or are flavored with cacao powder. Cereals that include chocolate or dried fruits are popular with kids, who are sometimes resistant to try "healthy" foods. They also enjoy cereal flavored with cinnamon and sugar or honey.
It's awesome to spice up your favorite cereal with new flavors and textures. If you want something a little sweeter but don't like the taste of cereals with lots of added sugars, you could try adding some fresh fruit to your bowl. Additional toppings can support satiety and help balance your meal. Nut butters, yogurt, and seeds add protein and healthy fats.
If you're picking whole grain cereals for health reasons, try to balance the flavorings and extras so as not to negate the health benefits of whole grains. High sugar content can be an issue for young kids, those managing weight, and diabetics.
Chocolate chunks and dried fruits can add a significant amount of sugar and calories. Many nutritionists recommend cereal that contains no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving, or for low-sugar diets, five to six grams. Pay attention to the nutrition label, as many whole grain cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals that contribute to a healthy breakfast, such as vitamin C, iron, and zinc.
Take a look at the protein and fiber content, too. They can keep you feeling full and provide energy throughout the morning. Pick a cereal high in fiber and protein, and you can supplement it with milk or plant-based milk, or other foods for added protein. Ideally, you want to consume at least 15 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber for breakfast.
There are many types of cereals, including flakes, rounds, squares, puffs, and granolas. Flakes have a thin and crunchy texture, but they do get soggy in milk. Puffed cereals are lighter and airier in texture; they are fun to eat but can easily become mushy in milk.
If you like cereals that are dense and have a great crunch, look for squares or granolas. They don't soak up a lot of milk and will stay crunchy.
If you're looking for something with a softer texture, try hot cereals like cream of wheat or cornmeal mush. Hot cereals are especially good for people who have issues chewing harder textured foods, and they are good for babies who have just started eating solid food. If you like a variety of textures, look for hot cereals with dried fruit for an added chewy bite.
The texture of cereal is all about preference. Something else to consider is serving size. Lighter textured cereals tend to have larger serving sizes than ones that are denser. You will have to eat more of a lighter cereal to get the same amount of nutrients.
If you like eating smaller meals in the morning, a granola may be a more desirable option. You can also start with a lighter cereal as a base and add more substantial toppings. There will be exceptions to this concept, of course.
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Organic Weetabix Whole Grain Cereal
Best High-Fiber Whole Grain Cereal
Best Gluten-Free Option
Food for Life
Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Crunchy Cereal
Best No-Sugar Whole Grain Option
Breakfast Cereal With Whole Grain Flakes
Best Cereal Packed With Vitamins and Minerals
Wheat Chex Breakast Cereal
Best Whole Grain Cereal to Make Your Own Flavors
Organic Heritage Flakes
Best for Staying Crunchy in Milk
Bob's Red Mill
10 Grain Cereal
Best Hot Cereal
Organic Cocoa Bunnies Breakfast Cereal
Best Whole Grain Cereal for Kids
Organic Cinnamon Crunch Cereal
Best Healthy Alternative to a Popular Cereal
Great Grains Cereal Cranberry Almond Crunch
Best for Complex Textures
This cereal is crafted with only four ingredients: whole wheat, barley malt extract, cane sugar, and sea salt. It contains an impressive six grams of fiber and protein. It's free from any artificial preservatives and also contains only two grams of sugar per serving.
A handful of reviewers complain the cereal gets soggy in milk too quickly. On the other hand, many buyers love the simple ingredients and like to add their own favorite additions like milk, honey, or fruit. Many also appreciate the high fiber content as it adds to their daily needs.
This classic cereal is not only gluten-free but also low in sugar. It is made from 100 percent whole grain oats and contains 12 vitamins and minerals to kick start your day. It has a simple flavor that can be enjoyed with milk, yogurt, and ice cream.
A few buyers say the flavor is a bit bland on its own. However, reviewers say the cereal makes a great base to add your favorite fruits or nuts. Others appreciate that it is low in salt and sugar; it meets their dietary restrictions.
Food for Life's Sprouted Whole-Grain Cereal has a blend of many organic sprouted grains, including millet, barley, soybeans, whole wheat, and spelt. It's free from artificial ingredients, too. On top of that, each serving gives you eight grams of protein and six grams of fiber! Each serving contains zero grams of sugar, so this cereal is perfect for those that must restrict sugar, like diabetics.
A few buyers say the texture of this cereal is a bit hard and dry. But, many others love that it's nutritious and filling. Reviewers also like that it doesn't contain a lot of sugar; it meets the needs of those restricting their sugar intake.
Total's wheat flakes breakfast cereal supplies you with 34 grams of whole grains per serving. It also meets your daily requirement of 11 vitamins and minerals to give your day a nutritious start. These crispy flakes also pair well with fruit and nuts.
According to a few reviewers, the taste of this breakfast cereal is a bit bland on its own. On another note, many buyers love that the cereal contains so many vitamins and minerals; it is especially helpful for those with iron deficiency. Another great bonus point for reviewers is the great texture that stays crunchy in milk.
Wheat Chex act as a great base to add your own favorite flavors and ingredients, such as dried fruits or nuts. These whole wheat squares are further fortified with many vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin C. They are made without artificial flavors, too!
A couple of reviewers assert the cereal tastes too sweet. However, others love the satisfying crunchy texture. Many buyers love adding their own ingredients to the cereal; they share their favorite recipes for making it their own.
This cereal from Nature's Path is made of a blend of whole grains, including whole wheat, barley, quinoa, and spelt. Each serving supplies you with seven grams of fiber, five grams of protein, and 23 grams of whole grains to keep you full for a long time. What's more, this whole-grain cereal is certified organic by the USDA.
Some reviewers complain that the flakes have a hard texture. Nevertheless, many like that this cereal remains crunchy in milk. They also mention that it gives them sustained energy for the day ahead, and the fiber helps keep them regular.
This hot cereal combines several nutritious and filling whole grains including rye, corn, oats, and barley. It is simple to make in the microwave or on the stovetop in a few short minutes; just add water or milk to the cereal. This cereal is perfect for the elderly or those who have issues chewing crunchy whole grain cereals.
A few buyers complain the taste is too bland by itself. But, many reviewers love to add their own toppings, like raisins or walnuts. The fact that this hot cereal combines many whole grains is appreciated. They also say it is very filling and gives them energy for the day.
This whole grain cereal from Annie's is the perfect way to get necessary whole grains while satisfying a chocolate craving. The cereal pieces shaped like bunnies appeal to kids and are made using certified Fair Trade cocoa. They are also certified organic.
A few reviewers complain the pieces of cereal can be quite hard. However, this product appeals to many as a healthier alternative to sugary breakfast cereals. Many purchase this cereal as a healthy option because their kids love it.
Cinnamon Crunch Cereal features a delicious combination of cinnamon and sugar. It provides you with 16 grams of whole grains and three grams of fiber per serving. This cereal is also certified organic by the USDA and contains no artificial preservatives.
Some reviewers find the cereal to be a bit too sweet. However, others love the rich cinnamon flavor. Several buyers point out they purchase this cereal as a healthier substitute for Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
This whole grain cereal creates a delicious combination of textures and flavors. With chewy cranberries, slivered almonds, and airy whole grain flakes, this cereal is the perfect addition to any breakfast. It boasts 38 grams of whole grains and five grams of fiber per serving making it not only tasty but filling and nutritious.
A handful of buyers assert the cereal contains too much sugar and tastes too sweet. On the other hand, reviewers love the tasty combination of cranberries and almonds. Many also mention the cereal tastes great with yogurt for some added protein.
In addition to reviewing and commenting on our buying guide, Rachel also took the time to answer a commonly-asked question on the Internet.
"It depends on your definition of healthy!" Rachel says. "I recommend trying to make at least half of your starchy foods whole grains or starchy vegetables. This helps us incorporate more fiber and micronutrients. The fiber helps promote a healthy GI tract and potentially lower cholesterol.
That being said, you should make sure you are incorporating adequate protein and healthy fats in your breakfast as well. More variety in our diet helps us consume more nutrients."
Besides whole-grain cereals, there are many other healthy breakfast options that can give you the energy and nutrients you need for the day ahead. Take a look at our articles for some suggestions!
No. 1: Weetabix | Organic Weetabix Whole Grain Cereal
No. 2: Cheerios | Breakfast Cereal
No. 3: Food for Life | Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Crunchy Cereal
No. 4: Total | Breakfast Cereal With Whole Grain Flakes
No. 5: Chex | Wheat Chex Breakast Cereal
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