Breaking Down the Breakfast Cereal Aisle: Which Options Are Truly Nutritious?


Thu, May 23

Cereal? Any takers?

Nothing is better than sleeping in on a Saturday morning and helping yourself to a nice big bowl of cereal. But is cereal healthy?

In this article, I will break down three of the healthiest cereal options, one that seems healthy but isn't, and one that is by far the worst cereal you could eat.

You want to have as much energy as possible and the right kind of energy. When classifying cereals, three components determine whether or not they are healthy. It has to be low in sugar, high in fiber and high in protein. When cereal has those three parts in check, it is considered healthy and will keep you full for a long period.

General Mills Cheerios

You probably recognize this cereal brand; it's fairly popular. Sometimes this brand takes over ¼ of the shelf space with all of their unique flavors.

This cereal is a green flag since it is primarily made from whole grains and has a relatively low sugar count. They also carry iron and vitamin D, which our body needs to function. However, some of their flavors do have loads of sugar—although not the plain and multigrain kinds, which are, in my opinion, much tastier.

This cereal can lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease due to the amount of whole grains it contains. Cheerios provide about 45% of your daily iron in one serving, which is a lot. Most people are deficient in iron, which is unfortunate because this mineral is key to aiding oxygen transport throughout your body.

Although, due to the lack of protein and calories, Cheerios isn't a balanced breakfast on its own, it is one of the better cereal options out there.

Credit: John Matychuk from Unsplash

Magic Spoon

Next up is Magic Spoon cereal, which sounds so fancy! This is marketed as a guilt-free, healthy cereal; let's see if the numbers add up.

Magic Spoon is a high-protein, low-carb cereal, which is very important when you want to stay full for long periods of time. If you look at the sugar content, you will be happy to see that it is low, and when you look at the nutrition label, you should be able to read each ingredient. So that's always a good sign.

Another great thing about this cereal is that it makes flavors based on unhealthy cereals, like Cocoa Puffs, Frosted, and many more. This will give you a satisfying healthy experience without indulging in excess sugar.

When looking at prices, they are a bit on the expensive side, but you will find the cheapest ones at Walmart and Target. You aren't paying for future health expenses; you are paying for a cereal that will benefit you in the long run and fill you more. With this cereal, you can eat less and be full longer, so your cereal will also last longer.

General Mills Wheaties

Wheaties start strong with a good source of fiber that will keep you full for longer. They also have a low-calorie count, with 1 serving containing only 100 calories. Additionally, this cereal has about 3 grams of protein per serving, which is a decent amount.

Wheaties are 100% whole grain, which is very healthy for you. This cereal has no saturated or trans fat, which is also good for your body.

The only slightly troubling part of this cereal is the amount of sugar per bowl; it has 5 grams per bowl, so it's not great, but it's not awful either.

It may also be comforting to know that there aren't as many artificial sweeteners because they have actual sugar in them. Many people swear by this cereal as a very important part of their morning routine. One serving keeps them feeling full until their next meal, which is the impressive quality of this cereal. When talking about affordability, they are about $5 which is the median price in comparison to these healthier cereal options.

Don't let the price scare you away; they can be found anywhere and many stores host deals for this particular cereal brand. Make sure to keep your eyes open for that!

Froot Loops

This cereal looks very tasty, and it appeals to most younger kids because it is colorful and there is a fun-looking bird on it.

If you ask me, Froot Loops are the worst cereal you can eat because there are no health benefits whatsoever. It is essentially a multicolored cereal filled with sugar. The cereal is marketed to kids in hopes that their constant begging will convince their parents to give in and purchase the cereal.

Froot Loops has more sugar than any other ingredient, which should be a huge red flag. Froot Loops also contain lots of harmful dyes. Dyes can cause many problems, especially in a young child's life.

From hyperactivity, stomach aches, and, in worse cases, it is thought to increase the chances of cancer. There are also very dangerous preservatives that are used to preserve the fats and flavors in the cereal so they don't go sour and rancid.

Additionally, the “fruity” flavors that you are tasting aren't natural. Most of the flavoring is contributed by chemicals, preservatives, and solvents. There are many possible long-term effects of consuming this cereal.

Cavities, due to the high sugar counts. Learning problems can be caused by dyes, and in more severe cases, non-alcoholic liver disease.

You should beware of BHT, hydrogenated oil, sugar, and artificial coloring, which are all heavily present in this cereal. If you aren't aware of those ingredients, you could suffer many short and long-term consequences. If you must have this cereal, eat it in moderation, smaller portions, and once in a blue moon.

Credit: Caleb Minear from Pexels

Raisin Bran

Raisin Bran seems like a healthy option because the name suggests it. There are raisins and there are bran flakes, which are both very healthy for you. However, there's a catch. Raisin Bran is a great source of fiber, iron, and folate, but it contains a high amount of added sugars and refined carbs.

In a serving of one cup, you receive 20 grams of sugar! That is quite a lot and can reverse the effects of healthy components like bran and raisins.

Eating too much Raisin Bran has similar downsides as eating too much Froot Loops does. You have a higher risk of heart disease if you consume too much of this cereal. It can lead to chronic type 2 diabetes and possibly contribute to certain types of cancers.

Overall, Rasin Bran is NOT the healthiest cereal you could be eating, even though it has some healthy components. The heart-healthy whole grains might be present in this cereal, but the sugar overpowers the health benefits.

The Choice is Yours!

Picking a cereal is hard work. You want one that is tasty and healthy at the same time. That is tough.

In the long run, taking the time to research and pick the right kind of cereal will help you live a longer, healthier life. It's important to remember that cereal is still processed and doesn't make a balanced meal on its own, so it's good to pair a bowl of cereal with a fruit or even a granola bar, or both. Your future self will thank you for making this choice now.

I hope this helped you find the healthiest and possibly the tastiest cereal option! If you have any other suggestions on healthy cereals, feel free to let me know!

Precious Simpson
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Writer since May, 2024 · 19 published articles

Precious is a high school sophomore in New England who likes to read and write in her spare time. She also enjoys baking cupcakes. Precious also enjoys being creative with crafts and photography. She enjoys watching the Gilmore Girls and The Summer I Turned Pretty. She is a writer for her school newspaper and she works for her school yearbook club as well.