Choosing Healthier Cereals

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
en Español

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Cereal can be a great breakfast option. It’s quick, easy, and there are lots of healthy options to choose from. Many cereals have lots of added nutrients that children need to grow up healthy, especially when they’re paired with milk. Although there are many healthy cereals, there are also many unhealthy options too. Check out these tips to make sure you are choosing the best cereal for your family.

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Colorful Packaging – Cereals marketed to children–the kind with colorful packaging, cartoon characters, and miniature versions of sweets like cookies and marshmallows–usually aren’t a healthy choice. These are often full of sugar and sodium and have less of the important nutrients like fiber and protein. So don’t get distracted by pretty packaging! Instead, take a look at the nutrition facts label:

Serving Size – Look at the serving size. Some brands list small serving sizes to make their cereals seem healthier. If you know you’ll eat more than the recommended serving, make sure to adjust the information on the nutrition label to the portion you normally eat.

Nutrition Label – Choose whole grains. If the box doesn’t say “100% whole grain,” look at the first ingredient on the nutrition label’s ingredient list. If it says the words “whole” or “bran,” you’re on the right track! 

Fiber – Fiber is also important in a healthy cereal, and goes hand-in-hand with whole grains. This nutrient helps with healthy digestion, and it helps us feel full for longer. Try to find cereals with at least 2 grams of fiber per serving.