Some mornings, only cereal satisfies. But often our go-to choices—those comfort-food cereals we grew up with—are laden with sugar and unnatural ingredients that make for a not-so-healthy start to our day. Here we identify better-for-you cold-cereal options that will appease your cravings with bowls full of ingredients that build you up, not drag you down.
See also Serious Cereals.
Why we like it: Grain Berry combines a particular type of the grain sorghum with whole wheat to create satisfying flakes that are ridiculously high in antioxidants. In one bowl you’ll get 20 percent of your daily fiber needs and just 5 grams of sugar.
Our tasters say: “Lightly sweet and super-crunchy.”
Bonus points for: Pareve
Also try: Uncle Sam Original Wheat Berry Flakes
Honey Nut O’s
Why we like it: Organic honey sweetens this American Heart Association–approved cereal so perfectly that you’ll be surprised to discover that each bowl has only 5 grams of sugar. It also serves up 15 percent of your daily fiber and 17 grams of whole grains.
Our tasters say: “I like that there’s no aftertaste.”
Bonus points for: Non-GMO, Organic, Sustainable Packaging
Also try: Cascadian Farm Organic Honey Nut O’s
Cinnamon Toast Squares
Why we like it: Mom’s Best uses real cinnamon to flavor these snackable squares, but they’re also notable for what’s not in them: no artificial colors or flavors, no partially hydrogenated oils, no high-fructose corn syrup. Bonus: They’re made using renewable wind energy.
Our tasters say: “Ideal for when you’re craving ‘sweet.’”
Bonus points for: Sustainable Packaging
Also try: Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Crunch
Peanut Butter Puffs
Why we like it: These tasty puffs achieve a rich, peanut-buttery taste using only 6 grams of sugar per serving. Plus, they’re made from whole-grain oats, non-GMO corn, and peanut butter that contains just peanuts and salt.
Our tasters say: “Yummy, even without milk!”
Bonus points for: Non-GMO, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Sustainable Packaging, Vegan
Kids Puffs and Loops
Why we like it: Your kids will never suspect this cereal’s base ingredients: a blend of navy beans, lentils and garbanzo beans. The berry color and flavor come straight from dried blueberries, and with just 6 grams of sugar, a bowlful won’t launch your kids into a sugar coma.
Our tasters say: “Tastes just like fresh blueberries.”
Bonus points for: Gluten-Free, Non-GMO
Also try: Van’s Blissfully Berry
Why we like it: The American Heart Association certified these whole-wheat biscuits as a heart-healthy food, thanks to their 365 whole-grain wheat kernels per biscuit. Each serving delivers 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and a mere 2 grams of sugar—without sacrificing flavor.
Our tasters say: “I love the texture—it’s not stringy!”
Bonus points for: Non-GMO, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Vegan
Also try: Grain Berry Shredded Wheat
As you upgrade your cereal, you may want to consider nondairy alternatives to accompany it. A few of our faves include Silk’s broad range of options, including Almond, Soymilk, and one of its newest flavors, Prebiotics Almond and Cashew with Oats. Or get a gut-flora boost with Califia Farms Probiotic Dairy Free Yogurt beverages, made with an almond-coconut blend and loaded with 10 billion CFUs of live, active probiotics.