Healthy Cereal Guide

Written by:

Suzanne Weaver-Goss

20 bowls with cornflakes, kasha, cereals and berries. the concept of breakfast food. flat lay, top view

Looking for a different guide? Browse them all HERE.


1. Ezekiel 4:9 / 2. Cascadian Farms Purely O’s / 3. Lovebird / 4. Arrowhead Mills / 5. One Degree Brown Rice Crips

Overall Best Healthy Cereal

Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Crunchy Cereal packs the most nutritional bang per spoonful. (Read more about this brand under Good Stuff below.)

Suzanne Weaver-Goss headshot Gimme the Good Stuff
Written by Suzanne, Chief Health Officer (AKA “Nana”)

As a child of the 50’s, most mornings I ate cold cereal for breakfast. It was convenient, quick, and easily accessible. We could help ourselves and my mom was free to do other chores. It was not particularly nutritious and it was full of sugar. During this time, cereals blossomed into the sweet treat we know today.

This was the decade that sugar was introduced to our cereal in a positive light. Most brands were “Sugar This” and “Sugar That” and there were Frosted Flakes, Cocoa Puffs and Sugar Smacks. We often think processed food is bad today but keep in mind Kellogg’s Sugar Smacks had the distinction of having the most sugar by weight of any cereal on the market when it debuted in the early 1950’s. Fifty-six percent of the cereal was sugar! That would never fly today.

My father thought boxed cereal was great because, as a child of the Depression era, he had to eat porridge or oatmeal every day. He often commented how fortunate we were to have tasty cereal!

When we ran out of cold cereal, we took white bread, sprinkled sugar on it, and poured milk over it. (It’s amazing we all survived, although I did seriously clean up my diet in my twenties and have since enjoyed excellent health).

When I had my children in the 1980’s, I had just rejected eating any sugar (the Sugar Blues book was popular back then) so I switched breakfast cereal to healthy porridge. Rice, millet, oats, and other whole grains were cooked into a hot whole grain breakfast with soy milk. We might add a little honey or maple syrup for sweetness or just fresh fruit.

My son would visit his cousins and ask for something “cold and crunchy with cow’s milk,” which was code for that boxed cereal with milk that kids eat. There were a few cereal brands that didn’t have added sugar but they were hard to find–Erewhon’s Crispy Brown Rice, Oatios, and Kellogg’s Nutri Grain cereal were our three favorites, but the they all have since been discontinued. Today, sugar has crept back into cold cereals even the organic, “healthy” ones. I suspect they sell better the sweeter they are. It is important to check the sugar content today because some are quite sweet. The recommendation by healthychildren.org is less than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for children 2 years old and older. Under 2 years avoid added sugar. I try and look for natural sugars like coconut, maple or honey rather than white sugar in cereals.

Healthiest Granola

One Degree Coconut Hibiscus Granola

One Degree Organic Sprouted Coconut Hibiscus Tea- Infused Granola is lightly sweetened with coconut sugar and uses olive oil for the fat. 3 grams of Protein, 3 grams of Fiber, and 5 grams of sugar. Be sure to read the label of all of the One Degree granolas. Some have more sugar and are sweetened with sugar cane and some have sunflower oil instead of olive oil so check the labels but their granolas are all organic.

Healthy Cereal Guide

Approximately 283 million Americans eat cold cereal every day! For that reason, it is important to make sure the cereal we eat promotes health. It is a convenient food so we set out to find the healthiest cold cereals, because we know our readers want the convenience without compromising their health.

Ultimately, when you go for convenience, you are often compromising your health, but I think the key is to keep those compromises to a minimum and make sure that at least 80% of your food is fresh, whole, and organic. When choosing a boxed cereal, we looked for organic and low sugar content. We looked at the source of the sugar and kept in mind that coconut sugar has a glycemic index of 35, which is significantly lower than cane sugar’s glycemic index of 68. Coconut sugar retains many nutrients found in the coconut palm — mostly iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium. Coconut sugar also contains the soluble fiber inulin, which is linked to a lower risk of blood sugar spikes. Real Maple Syrup has a glycemic index of 54. Maple syrup is defined as having a “medium” index. Maple syrup has a nutritional advantage over sugar because it does not contain any additives, and the processing allows it to retain its nutrients, including manganese, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Maple Syrup is rich in antioxidants and therefore may have anti-inflammatory and prebiotic activity, so it may help support gut health. Honey has a glycemic index of 58. While honey comes with more calories, carbohydrates, and grams of sugar than white sugar does, it does have more nutrients and health properties to offer, and in some cases, it may be a healthier choice over sugar. Honey’s advantages over sugar include a slightly lower glycemic index and It contains more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin C, zinc, phenolic acids, and flavonoids.

We also looked at any oils or other additives that were added to the cereal. Obviously, most cereals don’ t need oil but if they did contain oil (Granola for example) then we looked for high quality oils like coconut and olive. Sunflower oil is ubiquitous and in so many foods that we eliminated those cereals from Good Stuff.

One additional nutritional consideration when choosing a cereal is to look at the nutritional panel and add together the grams of fiber and protein and compare that to the grams of sugar. The combined grams of fiber and protein should be more than the grams of sugar. Cascadian Farm organic O’s is a good example. It has 4 grams Fiber and 4 grams of Protein (8 combined) compared to 1 gram of Sugar. Our best cereal Ezekial 4:9 Original has 1 gram of Sugar, 8 grams of Protein, 6 grams of Fiber (14 combined).

Healthiest O Cereal

Cascadian Farms Purely O’s

With just three ingredients, and only one gram of sugar, this is our favorite O cereal. It has 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein when added together is 8 compared to 1 gram of sugar. If you are going to make boxed cereal part of your pantry this is a good choice.

A Problem with “Healthy” Cereal: Extruded Grains

Our Healthy Baby Puffs Guide offers details on what’s wrong with pretty much all boxed cold cereals, which is the process of extrusion. The bottom line is this: extrusion–mixing grains with water and processing that paste through a special device (plus high heat) to produce a desired shape–compromises the integrity of the grains’ nutrients, breaks the bonds of fatty acids, inactivates enzymes, and increases the glycemic index of the food.

This is one reason that really no cold cereal can be considered truly a whole natural food when compared to, say, a bowl of oatmeal. For Good Stuff we looked at the grams of sugar, the source of the sugar, the combined grams of protein and fiber compared to the grams of sugar, the number of ingredients, and the quality of the ingredients. Everyone has to decide for themselves how much sugar they’re comfortable with or what ingredients they’re ok with. We worked within our own boundaries as consumers who are comfortable with cold cereal for convenience and taste while also, choosing ones that are in our view are the best.

Healthiest Gluten-Free Cereal

Barbara’s Organic Corn Flakes was the best Gluten Free Cereal I could find and the second ingredient is sugar. It is organic and it has Protein 3 grams, Fiber 1 gram and Sugar 3 grams.

How to Find Healthy Cereal

Just like everything else, label-reading is important when shopping for healthy cereal. When categorizing popular brands for this guide, we considered:

  • Number of grams of sugar per serving. We looked for ones with less than five. Coconut sugar is
  • Look at the grams of fiber and protein and add them together and they should be less than or equal to the grams of sugar.
  • Type of sugar used. We gave preference to brands that use healthier sugars like coconut, maple, or honey.
  • Type of fat. Vegetable oils and they have no reason to be in cereals except for granola
  • The number of ingredients. Less is usually better, although there are some exceptions to this.
  • Quality of ingredients. We dinged brands for fillers like “modified corn starch,” and gave preference to brands that contain all or mostly organic ingredients.

Of course, some of this can be subjective; I know that some people aren’t comfortable with any extruded grains at all. This guide is obviously not for them.

Healthiest Crispy Rice Cereal

One Degree Brown Rice Crips

Protein 2 grams, Fiber 1 gram, Sugar 1 gram, and it’s sweetened with coconut sugar which has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar. 

Is There Arsenic in Healthy Cereal?

You’ve probably heard that rice, and particularly brown rice, is often contaminated with arsenic. This is unfortunately true, and so we gave extra points to those cereals that don’t contain rice.

Of course, many of our Good and Okay cereals do contain rice, so just consider eating these in moderation, especially if there is a lot of rice in your diet otherwise.

Best Healthy Cereal for Paleo Diets

Lovebird Unsweetened Cereal

The Best of the Worst

If you’re in a pinch–at a hotel buffet or similar situation–and have no organic, healthy cereal options, choose plain Corn Flakes or Cheerios.

Good Stuff

365 Organic Morning O’s

This Whole Foods private label Morning O’s is still a good choice. 365 Organic O’s have changed since the last time I wrote this guide and they now add Wheat Starch to their ingredients. It is added as a fat substitute and is considered safe. It is sweetened with cane sugar but only has 2 grams of Sugar (1 added), 5 grams of Protein, and 3 grams of Fiber so it is a good ratio.

Arrowhead Mills Amaranth Flakes

Organic and sweetened with Apple Juice concentrate. Protein 6 grams, Fiber 4 grams, and Sugar 6 grams. The other Flakes that are Good Stuff are the Oat Bran Flakes.

Ingredients: Organic Oat Flakes, Amaranth Flour, Organic Yellow Corn Flour, Organic Apple Juice Concentrate, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Brown Rice Flour, Organic Rye Flour, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and Vitamin E (To Preserve Freshness)

Arrowhead Mills Organic Oat Bran Flakes

Organic oat bran, whole grain oat flour, organic apple juice concentrate, and whole grain oat flakes. Protein 7 grams, Fiber 6 grams and Sugar 6 grams. Even though it has 6 grams of sugar it is from Apple Juice.

Ingredients: Organic Whole Oat Flour, Organic Oat Bran, Organic Apple or Pear Juice Concentrate, Sea Salt, Ascorbic Acid, Mixed Tocopherols (to preserve freshness).

Arrowhead Mills Organic Puffed Kamut

Arrowhead Mills Puffed Kamut Cereal is Organic and one ingredient Kamut. Protein 2 grams, Fiber 1 gram, and Sugar 1 gram. 

Ingredients: Puffed Kamut

Butterfly Bakery of Vermont

This organic granola from Butterfly Bakery is handmade in Vermont, and sweetened with just pure maple syrup. It packs other nutritional powerhouses, too, like quinoa and coconut oil. Most granolas use seed oils and we like this one because it contains only coconut oil.

Ingredients: Organic gluten free oats*, pure Vermont maple syrup, organic coconut, organic coconut oil, organic pumpkin seeds, organic quinoa, tahitian vanilla, rice flour, puffed millet, sea salt, organic cardamom, organic fennel, organic fenugreek, organic nutmeg

Cascadian Farms Organic Purely O‘s

Our healthiest O cereal. Oats and Barley and 1 gram of sugar.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats*, Whole Grain Barley*, Wheat Starch*, Malted Barley Extract*, Sea Salt, Oats*, Calcium Carbonate, Malted Barley*. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. *Organic

Cascadian Farms Mixed Berry Cereal

Organic and no sugar added. Sweetened with fruit. It does have sunflower oil but also coconut oil. Protein 5 grams, Fiber 6 grams and Sugar 6 grams. Because it is organic and on the low sugar side we made an exception for the sunflower oil.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Wheat*, Rice*, Date Powder*, Sunflower Oil*, Coconut Oil*, Dried Blueberries*, Dried Strawberries*, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor*. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. *Organic

Cascadian Farms Vanilla Crisp Cereal

Organic and no sugar added. Sweetened with Date powder. Sunflower and coconut oil. Protein 5 grams Fiber 5 grams Sugar 5 grams.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Wheat*, Rice*, Date Powder*, Sunflower Oil*, Coconut Oil*, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor*. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. *Organic

Food for Life Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal

This is one of the Healthiest Cereals. It is sprouted organic grains and beans. It has 8 grams of Protein, 6 grams of Fiber and 1 gram of Sugar just from the Malted Barley which is from allowing the barley grain to germinate to create malt a sweet substance. It’s made from sprouted grains and beans. And it’s very tasty especially with milk and fresh fruit.

Ingredients: Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat, Organic Malted Barley, Organic Sprouted Whole Barley, Organic Sprouted Whole Millet, Organic Sprouted Whole Lentils, Organic Sprouted Whole Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Whole Spelt, Filtered Water, Sea Salt.

Lovebird Grain-Free Cereal Unsweetened

We are grateful to our readers for introducing us to this cereal. It is an Organic grain-free gluten-free cereal. The unsweetened one has 1 gram of Protein, 3 grams of Fiber, and 1 gram of Sugar. Unsweetened: organic cassava and organic coconut. The other flavors have 5 or 6 grams of sugar but are sweetened with coconut sugar and contain coconut oil. The ratio’s are not as good Protein 1 gram Fiber 2 grams and Sugar 5 grams. So, Ok Stuff. A cereal Paleo friendly and recommended for AIP (an elimination diet designed to help reduce inflammation or other symptoms caused by auto immune disorders).

Ingredients: Organic Cassva, Organic Coconut, Organic Coconut Oil, Sea Salt

Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes

Organic made of six ancient grains including Quinoa and Millet, sweetened with honey. 5 grams of Protein, 7 grams of Fiber and 5 grams of Sugar, so a good ratio.  My grandson Wolfie says, “ When I leaved the room to go to the bathroom and come back they aren’t mushy.” They stay crunchy in milk. Eco friendly packaging using 66% less packaging than a cardboard cereal box. 

Ingredients: Organic KAMUT khorasan wheat flour, organic wheat bran, organic whole wheat meal, organic cane sugar, organic whole oat flour, organic spelt flour, organic barley flour, organic whole millet, organic barley malt extract, organic quinoa, sea salt, organic honey.

One Degree Brown Rice Crisps

Protein 2 grams, Fiber 1 gram, Sugar 1 gram and it’s sweetened with coconut sugar which has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar. 

Ingredients: Organic sprouted whole grain brown rice, organic coconut sugar, unrefined salt, tocopherols (vitamin E).

One Degree Coconut Hibiscus Granola

One Degree Organic Sprouted Coconut Hibiscus Tea- Infused Granola is lightly sweetened with coconut sugar, has olive oil for the fat. 3 grams of Protein, 3 grams of Fiber, and 5 grams of sugar. Be sure to read the label of all of the One Degree granolas. Some have more sugar and are sweetened with sugar cane and some have sunflower oil instead of olive oil so check the labels but their granolas are all organic.

Ingredients: sprouted gluten-free organic oats, organic coconut sugar, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut flakes, organic hibiscus flower, unrefined salt, tocopherols (vitamin e).

Quinoa Queen Organic Unsweetened

One ingredient Organic Quinoa Fiber 4 grams, Sugar 0 grams, and Protein 4 grams.

Ingredients: 100% Organic Whole Premium Quinoa

Thrive Market Coconut Flakes

These organic flakes are made of mostly various forms of coconut, and come in at 5 grams of sugar per serving.

Ingredients: coconut meat, coconut water & palm starch

Okay Stuff

Food for Life Ezekiel Original Flake Cereal

All organic and sprouted, wheat, barley, millet, lentils, soybeans, spelt, malted barley, and agave. Contains 7 grams of sugar.

Ingredients: organic sprouted wheat, organic sprouted barley, organic sprouted millet, organic sprouted soybeans, organic sprouted lentils, and organic sprouted brown rice.

Love Grown Power O’s

We like that this brand contains a beans blend and only 2 grams of sugar. It’s not organic (but it is non-GMO).

Ingredients: Bean blend (navy beans, lentils, garbanzo beans), brown rice flour, salt, vitamin E (to maintain freshnesss).

Magic Spoon

Magic Spoon is a processed cereal/food made especially for Keto diets. They are mimicking fruity cereals, cocoa cereals and frosted cereals that are full of sugar and definitely not healthy. If you are looking for a Keto friendly cereal that has no sugar and is high protein but is like more traditional unhealthy cereals, then this is the cereal for you. Keep in mind that it has very little fiber and is not organic and has sunflower oil so I cannot call it Good Stuff. They are up front about creating a cereal with high protein and 0 grams of sugar. Their website will tell you all about the ingredients. Fiber 1 gram, Protein 14 grams, and Sugar 0 grams.

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Ingredients: Fruity flavor – Milk Protein Blend (Casein”, Whey Protein Concentrate*), Sweetener Blend (Allulose, Monk Fruit Extract), Oil Blend (High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Avocado Oil), Tapioca Starch, Inulin» (from Chicory Root and/or Agave), Natural Flavor, Salt, Turmeric Extract, Spirulina
Extract, Vegetable Juice” (for color).

Mom’s Best Toasted Wheatfuls Cereals

Nothing is “Mom’s Best” because they don’t have any organic  ingredients and most of the cereals have 12 or 14 grams of sugar. Their cereals are Non GMO and whole grain. The Wheatfuls have 7 grams of Protein, 8 grams of Fiber, and 0 grams of sugar.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Wheat. Freshness preserved with Vitamin E
(mixed tocopherols).

Nature’s Path Heritage O’s

My grandson, Wolfie, says loves this brand because: “When I leave the room and come back, they aren’t mushy like most cereal.” This brand claims 16 grams of whole grains, but this is rather misleading because the grains (wheat, barley, oat, quinoa, and millet) are all made from flour. We gave this brand extra points for the Eco-Pac bag, which means that it is using 66% less packaging than a cardboard cereal box.

Ingredients: Organic whole oat flour, organic whole wheat meal, organic Kamut Khorasan wheat flour, organic evaporated cane juice, organic spelt flour, organic barley flour, organic barley malt extract, organic quinoa flour, organic millet flour, sea salt, organic honey.

Seven Sundays Oat Protein Cereal

Upcycled Oat Protein (upcycled oats are leftovers from oat milk production) Upcycled Corn, (upcycled corn is leftovers from the production of corn starch), cassava starch, maple syrup, and coconut oil. Fiber 3 grams, Sugar 6 grams, and Protein 5 grams. According to Seven Sundays, upcycled oat protein has 3X the protein and 2X the fiber of whole oats. It’s not organic so I did not consider it Good Stuff, however it is OK Stuff.

Ingredients: Upcycled Oat Protein, Upcycled Non-GMO Corn, Cassava Starch, Maple Syrup, Coconut Oil, Apple Juice Concentrate, Apple Powder, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Sea Salt.

Three Wishes

One of our customers asked us to review this cereal. It is not organic so I hesitated to put in the Good Stuff category. The ingredients are clean, chickpea, tapioca, pea protein and salt. The nutritional components have a great ratio Fiber 3 grams, Protein 8 grams, and O grams of Sugar.  Even the ones that are sweetened with cane sugar and monk fruit have only 3 grams of sugar. 

Ingredients: Chickpea, Tapioca, Pea Protein, Salt

Bad Stuff

Any “frosted” cereals are Bad Stuff; for example, Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats have have 11 grams of sugar (plus toxic BHT).

Ingredients: WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT, SUGAR, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF BROWN RICE SYRUP, GELATIN, BHT FOR FRESHNESS. VITAMINS AND MINERALS: REDUCED IRON, FOLIC ACID.

Fruit Loops Marshmallows

There’s so much Bad Stuff here–modified food starch, corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and artificial flavors to start.

Ingredients: Corn Flour Blend (Whole Grain Yellow Corn Flour, Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour), Sugar, Marshmallows (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Natural Flavor, Gelatin, Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1), Wheat Flour, Whole Grain Oat Flour, Modified Food Starch, Contains 2% Or Less Of Vegetable Oil (Hydrogenated Coconut, Soybean And/Or Cottonseed Oil), Oat Fiber, Maltodextrin, Salt, Soluble Corn Fiber, Natural Flavor, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6, Bht For Freshness. Vitamins And Minerals: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Reduced Iron, Niacinamide, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Hydrochloride), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12.

General Mills Cheerios

Although these have a simple ingredient list of whole grain oats, corn starch, sugar, salt, and vitamins, Cheerio’s are not Organic and contains tri-potassium phosphate.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Iron and Zinc (mineral nutrients), Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), A B Vitamin (niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), Vitamin A (palmitate), Vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), A B Vitamin (folic acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.

General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios

These contain everything you’ll find in regular Cheerios plus rice bran oil, canola oil, and brown sugar syrup. They also pack 9 grams sugar per serving.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Corn Starch, Honey, Brown Sugar Syrup, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate, Canola and/or Sunflower Oil, Natural Almond Flavor. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), Iron and Zinc (mineral nutrients), A B Vitamin (niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), Vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), Vitamin A (palmitate), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), A B Vitamin (folic acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

These aren’t organic, but they low in sugars with just 3 grams per serving. Unfortunately, these flakes contain the toxic preservative BHT.

Ingredients: Milled Corn, Sugar, Malt Flavor, Contains 2% Or Less Of Salt. Vitamins And Minerals: Iron (Ferric Phosphate), Niacinamide, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Hydrochloride), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12.

Kelloggs Rice Krispies

These do just contain rice, sugar, salt, and malt flavor, but still too much sugar.

Ingredients: Rice, Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of Salt, Malt Flavor. Vitamins And Minerals: Iron (Ferric Phosphate), Niacinamide, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Hydrochloride), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12.

The Best of the Worst

If you’re in a pinch–at a hotel buffet or similar situation–and have no organic, healthy cereal options, choose plain Corn Flakes or Cheerios.

Sneaky Stuff

Annie’s Entire Line of Cereals

These all contain too much sugar to be considered Good Stuff. 12 grams of added sugar!

Ingredients in Cocoa Bunnies: WHOLE GRAIN OATS*, WHOLE GRAIN CORN MEAL*, CANE SUGAR*, WHITE RICE FLOUR*, COCOA POWDER*†, TAPIOCA SYRUP*, INVERT CANE SYRUP*, EXPELLER-PRESSED SUNFLOWER OIL*, SEA SALT, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, BAKING SODA, NATURAL FLAVOR*. MIXED TOCOPHEROLS (VITAMIN E) ADDED TO PROTECT FLAVOR. *ORGANIC INGREDIENTS

Arrowhead Mills Maple Buckwheat Flakes

Even though this is organic and gluten free it has far too much sugar to be considered Good Stuff. It has 14 grams of sugar, 13 grams of added sugar from cane sugar, maple, and honey. In searching for a Healthy Gluten Free cereal, I noticed that they often have more sugar content than other categories. If you are looking for anything Gluten Free be aware that marketing for Gluten Free has expanded and it’s being promoted as healthy, even if it has lots of sugar, bad fats, preservatives, or any other unhealthy ingredient. Read the labels and don’t assume if it’s Gluten Free it is Good Stuff.

Ingredients: Organic Whole Grain Buckwheat Grits, Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Whole Grain Buckwheat Flour, Organic Maple Syrup, Sea Salt, Organic Honey, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and Natural Vitamin E (to Preserve Freshness).

Arrowhead Mills Puffed Rice

These are not made with organic grains. The same goes for their puffed corn and puffed millet cereals.

Ingredients: Puffed brown rice

Arrowhead Mills Organic Spelt Flakes

These are Sneaky because they have 9 grams of sugar even though it’s sweetened with Apple Juice Concentrate. 

Ingredients: Organic Whole Grain Spelt (Wheat) Flakes, Organic Fruit Juice Concentrate (Apple or Pear), Sea Salt, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and Vitamin E (to preserve freshness).

Barbara’s Morning Oat Crunch Cereal

This cereal says whole grains, but what is has is oat flour and wheat flour mixed with sugar. There are 10 grams of sugar per serving and it’s not organic.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Oat Flour; Whole Grain Wheat Flour; Cane Sugar; Unsulfured Molasses; Pea Protein Concentrate; Sea Salt; Baking Soda; Barley Malt Extract; Tocopherols (Antioxidants To Maintain Freshness)

Barbara’s Puffins Original & Cinnamon

Again, this cereal says whole grain and it’s mostly made of flour with corn bran and oat fiber added in. None of the ingredients is organic.

Ingredients: YELLOW CORN MEAL WITH ADDED CORN BRAN, UNSULPHURED MOLASSES, WHOLE OAT FLOUR, EXPELLER PRESSED HIGH OLEIC OIL (CANOLA AND/OR SUNFLOWER), SALT, CINNAMON, NATURAL FLAVOR, BAKING SODA, VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID), NATURAL VITAMIN E (MIXED TOCOPHEROLS TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS).

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Cascadian Farm Cocoa Oats / Honey Nut O’s 

These varieties contain sunflower oil and 13 and 7 grams of sugar per serving, respectively.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats*, Whole Grain Barley*, Cane Sugar*, Wheat Starch*, Malted Barley Extract*, Honey*, Sea Salt, Molasses*, Oats*, Calcium Carbonate, Sunflower Oil*, Malted Barley*, Natural Almond Flavor*. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. *Organic

Cascadian Farm Cereal Organic Fruitful O’s

This cereal has 11 grams of sugar. This cereal has all the markers for a healthy choice but it has a lot of sugar. You have to read the labels of each box of cereal and cannot trust brands even if an organic and healthy brand. 

Ingredients: Whole Grain Yellow Corn Meal*, Cane Sugar*, Yellow Corn Meal*, Whole Grain Purple Corn Flour*, Tapioca Syrup*, Sunflower Oil*, Sea Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Annatto*, Natural Flavor*. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. *Organic

Cascadian Farms Multigrain Squares

These squares contain 7 grams of white sugar, over our threshold for Good Stuff!

Ingredients: Whole Grain Wheat*, Rice*, Corn Meal*, Sugar*, Sea Salt, Barley Malt Extract*. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. *Organic

Kashi

Now owned by Kellogg, Kashi makes 25 types of cereal, but they all have too much sugar or other questionable ingredients.

Ingredients in Cinnamon Harvest: Whole Grain Wheat*, Cane Sugar*, Cinnamon*, Natural Flavor*. *Organic

Kirkland Signature Ancient Grains

A lot of you asked about this because you love getting it at Costco. The ingredients are all organic, and include rolled oats, cane sugar, soy oil, kamut wheat, rolled spelt, almonds, inulin, rice starch, rolled quinoa, rolled amaranth, sea salt, molasses, cinnamon, and natural vanilla flavor. While none of these is terrible (soy oil isn’t so great), the nine grams of sugar it contains per serving knocks this out of Good Stuff territory. Nature’s Path produces cereals for Costco. Read the ingredients and the grams of sugar to make a good choice.

Ingredients: Whole grain rolled oats, cane sugar, soy oil, KAMUT khorasan wheat, rolled spelt, almonds, inulin, rice starch, rolled quinoa, rolled amaranth, sea salt, molasses, cinnamon, natural vanilla flavor, probiotics, tocopherols

Love Grown Power’s O’s–Chocolate

This flavor includes a bean blend, brown rice, cane sugar, cocoa, sunflower oil, sunflower lecithin. It packs 9 grams of sugar per serving and is not organic. FYI: the strawberry and honey flavors from this brand aren’t any better. However, the original one with 1 gram of sugar is Ok Stuff. It has the grain and bean blend with no sugar or oil. But nothing is organic.

Ingredients: Bean blend (navy beans, lentils, garbanzo beans), brown rice flour, cane sugar, cocoa (processed with alkali), high oleic sunflower oil, natural flavor (chocolate, vanilla), salt, vitamin E (to maintain freshness), sunflower lecithin.

Mom’s Best Honey Nut Toasty O’s

This brand has cane sugar and honey with 13 grams of added sugar! Nothing organic.

Ingredients: WHOLE GRAIN OAT FLOUR, SUGAR, WHEAT STARCH, HONEY, SALT, CALCIUM CARBONATE, TRISODIUM PHOSPHATE, CARAMEL COLOR, MOLASSES, NATURAL FLAVOR. VITAMINS AND MINERALS: FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE (SOURCE OF IRON), NIACINAMIDE (VITAMIN B3), ZINC OXIDE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE (VITAMIN B5), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), FOLIC ACID.

Nature’s Path Panda Puffs

These contain soy oil and have 9 grams of sugar per serving. The ratio is not good. 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein and 9 grams of added sugar.

Ingredients: Organic whole grain corn meal, organic corn meal, organic cane sugar, organic peanut butter, organic soy oil, sea salt, tocopherols (vitamin e).

Nature’s Path Flax Plus Raisin Bran

I like that this is organic, but it contains 11 grams of sugar per serving. Not sure why they had to add cane sugar when the raisins already provided 5 grams of sugar.

Ingredients: Organic whole wheat meal, organic raisins (coated with organic sunflower oil), organic wheat bran, organic cane sugar, organic flax seeds, organic oat bran, organic barley malt extract, sea salt, tocopherols (vitamin E).

Trader Joe’s O’s

I know that Maia buys this ones for her kids, but it’s not organic, and contains modified corn starch and white sugar (although only 2 gram per serving). Trader Joe’s Honey Nut O’s are also Sneaky with 9 grams of sugar per serving.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats & Oat bran, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Oat Fiber
& Vitamin E added to Preserve Freshness.

The Granola Problem

Above, you’ll see one brand of truly healthful granola, listed as Good Stuff. Unfortunately, most brands of granola you find in health food stores contain a lot of either cane sugar or cane syrup and/or seed oils like canola or sunflower. Butterfly bakery sweetens with maple syrup and uses coconut oil. The following granolas we do not reccomend include:

  • Cascadian Farm Organic Granola
  • HempYeah! Granola
  • Back to Nature Granola
  • Kind Granola (also contains canola oil)

To your health,

Suzanne, Certified Holistic Health Coach

P.S. You’ll notice in this post that I’ve linked a variety of a lot of these cereals to be purchased at Thrive Market. If you aren’t familiar with Thrive, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s a Costco-meets-Whole Foods-meets-Amazon model, with hard-to-find healthful foods delivered–for free–at steeply discounted prices.


Cereal

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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Leave a Reply

  1. Ambar Avatar
    Ambar

    Hello,
    What about Purely Elizabeth ancient grains original granola? Their ingredients are organic and seem to be the good stuff!

    1. Maia James Avatar
      Maia James

      Yes, Purely Elizabeth is Good STuff! This guide is in need of an update:)

  2. Sushil Karwa Avatar
    Sushil Karwa

    This is great stuff. Thanks for your extensive research on all the popular cereals. It has always been a problem of plenty for me when it comes to picking the right cereal. Thanks to your super informative guide I can make more educated decisions while choosing the cereal.

    However, I haven’t seen Trader Joe’s Organic High Fiber O’s Cereal (https://www.ebay.com/itm/223269186952) here on this list. What do you think about this one? How would you rate this one? Good, okay, bad or sneaky and why?

  3. alex french HI Avatar
    alex french HI

    charli doesnt deserve the tik tok hype and thats on period

  4. Ashley Prisco Avatar
    Ashley Prisco

    I think it’s worth noting that One Degree cereals and granolas are certified Glyphosate free!

  5. Tobi Avatar
    Tobi

    What are your thoughts on living intentions cereal brand. My four year older loves the cacao crunch!

  6. Bart Avatar
    Bart

    Thank you for your ongoing great work. However, I was disappointed that you did not specify how much sugar is in your best-rated Butterfly Bakery Granola from Vermont, perhaps because it’s “just pure maple syrup.” With minor differences, sugar is sugar when it comes to calories and tooth decay. ( “Natural” sugars are also not a realistic source of minerals–nor is sea salt–as some insist. )

    You mentioned a preference for palm sugar. I am not familiar with this sugar, but assume it comes from the same source as palm and palm kernel oil—-palm plantations created by clearing rain forests. Our use of these products comes at the cost of destruction of habitat for endangered species like the orangutan, destruction of the homelands of native peoples, and increased global warming.

    I also disagree with your characterization of coconut oil as a “nutritional powerhouse.” Just because it’s a “natural” saturated fat doesn’t mean it’s great. For most Americans, the problem is not lack of coconut fat, it’s too much fat of all types.

  7. Judith Avatar
    Judith

    Hi, I’m always skeptical about anything that has “natural flavors” but since it’s now being included even in organic products, I’m wondering about how safe those are. Do you have any input?

    1. Maia James Avatar
      Maia James

      I think you’re right to be skeptical. There’s some good evidence that “natural flavors” are Sneaky Stuff.

  8. Victoria Avatar
    Victoria

    Finally I am on the right track. Been giving my LO the CF O’s since he was a baby. Would like to know what you think of Kashi’s new kid’s line. Is it OK in small amounts? I mix the O’s with them. the cinnamon, cocoa, or berry combo sometimes cause his taste buds are changing.

    1. Maia James Avatar
      Maia James

      We didn’t look into that line, but we will!

  9. K Avatar
    K

    Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) are fine?

  10. Kim S Avatar
    Kim S

    I’ve stayed away from oat containing cereals and cereal bars because of the weed killer contamination that we’ve heard a lot about. I have not seen any updates about this. Is it safe to feed my babies oat cereal now?

    1. johnlockegoss Avatar
      johnlockegoss

      Hi Kim,
      We appreciate your concern over weed killers in oats. It is one we share, but there is some pretty troubling news on that subject. Even farms that are fully certified organic or biodynamic or operate in a responsible way can end up with products with those toxins in them. This is because those weed killers are so widely used…and because they drift easily, that there are very few places they cannot reach. This is true not only of oats but just about every crop, every where. So until we find a way to verify the absence of those toxins in products, or until we make those substances illegal, it is a problem it seems that we all just have to live with. 🙁 🙁 🙁

  11. Annmarie Zuluaga Yafrate Avatar
    Annmarie Zuluaga Yafrate

    Thank you so much for this! I didn’t see any mention of some of the Whole Foods options such as Cascadian Farms or Nature’s Path. What do you think of these:

    -Cascadian Farm Organic Hearty Morning Fiber
    -Nature’s Path Organic Smart Bran
    -Nature’s Path Organic Heritage Flakes

    Thank you so much for all you and your family do!

  12. Lori Salvati Avatar
    Lori Salvati

    I was wondering about the Trader Joe’s Shredded Bite Sized Wheat Square cereal? The only 2 I gredie at are whole wheat and Vitamin E to preserve freshness? No sugar, no sodium. I get these for my son all the time so I am crossing my fingers!

  13. AR Avatar
    AR

    I saw that too and was wondering about the calcium carbonate.

    1. Maia James Avatar
      Maia James

      Yes, there is nothing concerning about calcium carbonate, fortunately:).

  14. Krystle Ang Avatar
    Krystle Ang

    On the Cascadian Farm website, the list of ingredients is as follows.

    Whole Grain Oats*, Whole Grain Barley*, Wheat Starch*, Malted Barley Extract*, Sea Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Oats*, Malted Barley*, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness

    Is it still okay?

    1. Maia James Avatar
      Maia James

      yes:)