Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst (2023)

We’ve ranked the most popular cereals from best to worst based on their nutritional value – in particular added sugar, fibre content, salt. Read on to get your day off to a heart-healthy start.

1. Porridge

Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst (1)

Porridge is our top choice for a heart healthy breakfast – when it is made with low-fat milk or water and unsweetened. All porridge oats are wholegrains and they all contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which can help lower your cholesterol level if you have 3g or more of it daily, as part of a healthy diet. (A 40g serving of porridge oats contains 1.6g of beta-glucan.) As well as this, you’ll be getting the fibre from the whole grains, plus there is no added sugar or salt.

Make sure you don’t add extra sugar or salt to your porridge as this will undo all your good work – instead, try adding a banana or some fruit for extra sweetness. For every 80g that you add it will be one of your 5-a-day at the same time.

A serving of porridge made with 40g of oats and semi-skimmed milk contains:

Energy 1016kJ / 241kcal, 12% of your Reference Intake (RI)
Fat 6.2g, 9% of your RI
Saturates 2.5g, 13% of your RI
Sugars 8.2g, 9% of your RI
Salt 0.2g, 3% of your RI

A 40g serving of oats (not made up) contains:
Energy 645kJ / 152kcal, 7.6% of your RI
Fat 3.2g, 5% of your RI
Saturates 0.5g, 2.6% of your RI
Sugars 0.1g, 0.1% of your RI
Salt <0.01g, <1% of your RI

  • Our expert answers the question ‘Instant or traditional porridge?
  • Try our 14 delicious heart-healthy porridge variations

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2. No added sugar or salt muesli

Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst (2)

No added sugar muesli contains a mixture of grains, fruit and nuts and the combination will differ between brands and varieties so the amount of oat beta glucans will be more variable than porridge, which is made only of oats. The dried fruit that is added should provide all the additional sweetness you need and will also count towards your five a day but choose a muesli with no added sugar and be aware that many fruit and nut mueslis (especially tropical fruit versions) contain sweetened dried fruit, which means they have sugar added even if it isn’t listed separately on the ingredients. Banana chips are another popular muesli ingredient that will contain added sugars and saturated fats.

A 50g Swiss-style no added sugar or salt muesli serving contains:
Energy 758kJ / 179kcal, 9% of your RI
Fat 2.9g, 4% of your RI
Saturates 0.6g, 3% of your RI
Sugars 6.5g, 7% of your RI
Salt 0.08g, 1%

  • Why not try making your own delicious and healthy Apricot muesli or Bircher muesli?

3. Shredded whole wheat cereal

Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst (3)

Shredded whole wheat cereal with low-fat milk is the best choice of conventional breakfast cereals, because it doesn’t contain any added sugar or salt, and is high in fibre. Watch out, though, for the kind with fruit fillings, which may contain added sugar, or that are ‘frosted’ as they will almost certainly will have sugar added. Instead try adding fresh fruit such as a banana or berries for sweetness.

A 45g serving contains:
Energy 688kJ / 163kcal, 8% of your RI
Fat 1.0g, 1% of your RI
Saturates 0.2g, 1% of your RI
Sugars 0.3g, <1% of your RI
Salt 0.02g, <1% of your RI

4. Bran flakes

Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst (4)

(Video) Schlatt's Cereal Tier List

Wholegrain cereals like bran flakes, malted wheat cereal and wheat biscuits are high in fibre and will also have sugar and salt added to them usually, so avoid adding any more sugar and opt for fruits or berries for sweetness. The wholegrains mean they are high in fibre and so have benefits for your digestion too as well as your heart health.

For a ready to eat cereal that is an even more heart-healthy start to the day, swap for a shredded whole wheat cereal or no added sugar or salt muesli (see above) as these don’t contain any added sugar or salt.

A 30g serving contains:
Energy 425kJ / 100kcal, 5.0% of your RI
Fat 0.7g, 1.0% of your RI
Saturates 0.1g, 1% of your RI
Sugars 6.3g, 7% of your RI
Salt 0.27g, 5% of your RI

5. Cornflakes

Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst (5)

Cereals like cornflakes or puffed rice served with low-fat milk – can be part of a healthy breakfast but are low in fibre so not as good a choice as a wholegrain cereal. Adding a piece of fruit will help to balance your breakfast as well as making it more filling to eat. These cereals, and their wholegrain equivalents, usually come with added sugar and salt but also often have added vitamins and minerals which are good for your overall health. Other low-fibre unsweetened cereals (like crisped rice or malted flakes) will be similar from a heart health point of view.

Salt levels do vary between the brands so make sure you check the nutritional labels before you buy.

A 30g serving contains:
Energy 481kJ / 113kcal, 6.0 % of your RI
Fat 0.2g, 0% of your RI
Saturates <0.1g, 0% of your RI
Sugars 2.2g, 2% of your RI
Salt 0.13g, 2% of your RI

(Video) Healthiest Cereal - Most and Least Healthy Breakfast Cereals

6. Muesli with added sugar

Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst (6)

Most people naturally believe muesli to be healthy, and it does have a lot to commend it, but if you don’t check that you’re buying one with no added sugar or salt it can contain almost as much sugar as a bowl of frosted flakes. You’ll still get some health benefits from the nuts, grains and fruit but these are offset by the sugar, so be sure to always choose no-added sugar muesli.

A 50g serving contains:
Energy 755kJ / 183kcal, 9% of your RI
Fat 3.1g, 5% of your RI
Saturates 0.7g, 3% of your RI
Sugars 10.6g, 12% of your RI
Salt 0.17, 3%

  • See our infographic of how much sugar is in different foods

6. Sugar-frosted cornflakes

Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst (7)

Sugar-frosted cornflakes are high in sugar and low in fibre as well as usually coming with added salt. Sugar-frosted flakes are usually nutritionally similar to other sweetened cereals like chocolate rice cereals, or honey-nut coated cereals.Swapping to an unsweetened equivalent, like cornflakes or puffed rice, would be a good first step and add a serving of fruit for one of your five- a-day plus some added sweetness.

(Video) Breakfast Cereals Ranked Best to Worst Based on Nutritional Value

A 30g serving contains:
Energy 447kJ / 105kcal, 5% of your RI
Fat 0.2g, < 1% of your RI
Saturates <0.1, < 1% of your RI
Sugars 11.5g, 13% of your RI
Salt 0.2g, 4% of your RI

7. Granola with dried fruit, nuts or seeds

Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst (8)

This sounds healthy but isn’t, as it’s high in fat and sugar. An average portion of granola with nuts is 60g, which without milk packs in 270 kcal and 12.3g fat of which 2.8g is saturated fat. Serve this with 125ml of full fat milk and this adds another 81 kcal and 4.6g of fat of which 2.9g is saturated fat. Which why it made our list of 12 foods you wouldn’t believe are so fatty.

Why not try swapping granola for heart-healthy no-added sugar muesli?

A 60g serving contains:
Energy 1135kJ / 270kcal, 14% of your RI
Fat 13.3g, 19% of your RI
Saturates 2.7g, 14% of your RI
Sugars 10.8g, 12% of your RI
Salt <0.01, < 1% of your RI

8. Granola with chocolate

Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst (9)

(Video) March Milkness Taste Test: Sugary Cereals

Granola with chocolate has all the same issues that regular granola has, in that it's high in fat and sugar, but with added chocolate - so even more fat and more sugar! Granola with chocolate is best enjoyed as an occasional treat.

A 50g serving contains:
Energy 924kJ / 220kcal, 11% RI
Fat 15g, 21% RI
Saturates 6.8g, 34% RI
Sugars 24g, 27% RI
Salt 0.5g, 8% RI

  • Try our warming breakfast ideas
  • Try 5 ways to brighten up your breakfast
  • Discover 12 soft drinks ranked best to worst.

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Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst? ›

Today, the largest cereal brand in the United States, according to research by Zippia, is Cheerios, with a revenue of $18.126 billion and 139.1 million boxes sold in 2021.

What is the number 1 breakfast cereal? ›

Today, the largest cereal brand in the United States, according to research by Zippia, is Cheerios, with a revenue of $18.126 billion and 139.1 million boxes sold in 2021.

What cereal should I eat everyday? ›

Read on to get your day off to a heart-healthy start.
  • Porridge. ...
  • No added sugar or salt muesli. ...
  • Shredded whole wheat cereal. ...
  • Bran flakes. ...
  • Cornflakes. ...
  • Muesli with added sugar. ...
  • Sugar-frosted cornflakes. ...
  • Granola with dried fruit, nuts or seeds.

Which is the king of all cereals? ›

King of cereals- Wheat. Queen of cereals- Maize. King of pulses- Chickpea.

What is the #1 cereal in America? ›

The largest cereal brand in the U.S. is Cheerios, with a sales of $435.9 million and 139.1 million boxes sold. As of 2022, the U.S. cereal industry has a market size of $20.59 billion.

What's the oldest cereal? ›

Granula wasn't much like the cereal we eat today. The first manufactured breakfast cereal, it was developed in 1863 by a doctor and health reformer named James Caleb Jackson. Jackson believed, as many did at the time, that sicknesses were based in the digestive system.

What cereals should you not eat? ›

7 cereals that do not qualify as 'healthy' based on the FDA's new definition:
  • Raisin Bran (9g of added sugars)
  • Honey Nut Cheerios (12g of added sugars)
  • Corn Flakes (300mg of sodium; 4g of added sugars)
  • Honey Bunches of Oats, Honey Roasted (8g of added sugars)
  • Frosted Mini Wheats (12g of added sugars)
Oct 11, 2022

What cereals are not healthy? ›

This means that popular cereals like Corn Flakes (4 grams of added sugars) and Frosted Mini Wheats (12 grams of added sugars) would no longer be considered healthy because of the added sugars they contain. The added sugars can be found on the nutrition facts label on the food packages.

What cereal has the most sugar ever? ›

1. Honey Smacks (USA) = 50% sugar. Honey Smacks, quite appropriately known as Sugar Smacks when the cereal launched in 1953, now has a healthier-sounding name but is still a massive 50% sugar. It contains 18g/0.6oz (4.5tsp) sugar in the suggested 36g/1.2oz serving.

Which breakfast cereal keeps you fuller for longer? ›

'Oats are a good source of whole grains, which are usually low in fat and rich in fibre,' explains Ibitoye. Their gradual release of energy helps keep your blood sugar levels stable and keeps you fuller for longer, too.

Are Cheerios good for you? ›

Cheerios contain many important nutrients. Cheerios are primarily made from whole grain oats. Whole grains contain all parts of the grain, so they tend to provide more nutrients than refined grains. What's more, eating fiber-rich whole grains may help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease ( 1 ).

Are corn flakes healthier than Cheerios? ›

Both oatmeal and Cheerios are whole grains, which puts them ahead of cereals like Corn Flakes and Special K, in which the bran and germ have been removed, Dr. Mozaffarian said. Whole grains have more fiber and a wider range of vitamins and minerals. As a practical rule-of-thumb, Dr.

Is Raisin Bran good for you? ›

Raisin bran is rich in fiber and a variety of micronutrients that are added through fortification. Getting enough of these nutrients may help reduce your risk of diseases associated with deficiencies in them.

What Cheerios are healthiest? ›

Spetz recommends the original Cheerios over varieties such as Honey Nut, Very Berry, or even Multi Grain, which surprisingly has 8 g of added sugar and less fiber (3 g per serving), compared with just 1 g of added sugar and 4 g of fiber in original Cheerios.

What is a really healthy cereal? ›

Muesli is a healthy and delicious type of cereal. It's typically made with a combination of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. While similar to granola, muesli differs in that it is consumed raw, without being baked. Some versions are made without any added sweeteners or oils.

What cereal is good for the heart? ›

Which Breakfast Cereals Really Help Your Heart?
  • Barbara's Puffins. This cereal is low sugar, high fiber, and great tasting. ...
  • Bob's Red Mill Crunchy Coconut Granola. ...
  • Cascadian Farms Hearty Morning. ...
  • General Mills Cheerios.
Oct 5, 2022

What is the best cereal to eat at night? ›

A bowl of unsweetened cereal (e.g. rice puffs, bran flakes) or muesli high in complex carbs, coupled with milk makes for a yummy bedtime snack. As a bonus, the duo in this combo help your body produce melatonin to lead you into a more restful night.

What is the queen of cereals? ›

Maize has become the queen of cereals, courted by state governments, seed companies, farmers and the feedstock and starch industries as the crop of the future.

Which cereal is called as queen of cereal? ›

Globally, maize is known as the queen of cereals because it has the highest genetic yield potential among the cereals. It is cultivated on nearly 190 m ha in about 165 countries having wider diversity of soil, climate, biodiversity and management practices that contributes to 39 % of the global grain production.

What are the 4 monster cereals? ›

The line was introduced in 1971 and, at various times, has included five brands, each featuring a cartoon version of a classic movie monster: Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry (all produced seasonally from September 1 to October 31), as well as Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy (both discontinued, except for ...

What is the best selling cereal in us? ›

1. Cheerios: 139.1 million (in the US AND Tops in Massachusetts) Babies cannot be wrong. That's it.

What is the best cereal of 2023? ›

  • Best Baby Cereals 2023.
  • Earth's Best Organic Whole Grain Oatmeal Infant Cereal.
  • Gerber Single-Grain Oatmeal Baby Cereal.
  • Earth's Best Organic Multi-Grain Infant Cereal.
  • Gerber Whole Wheat Baby Cereal.
  • Earth's Best Organic Infant Rice Cereal.
  • Happy Baby Organics Clearly Crafted Oatmeal Baby Cereal.

What is the most popular cereal in 2023? ›

  • Chex +36.82%
  • Malt-O-Meal +23.73%
  • Fruity Pebbles +23.01%
  • Froot Loops +22.46%
  • Frosted Mini Wheats +21.25%
  • Raisin Bran +19.70%
  • Life Cereal +17.68%
  • Cheerios +16.72%
Feb 28, 2023

Is 20 year old cereal still good? ›

Packaged foods (cereal, pasta, cookies) will be safe past the 'best by' date, although they may eventually become stale or develop an off flavor. You'll know when you open the package if the food has lost quality. Many dates on foods refer to quality, not safety.

What was the most popular cereal in 1950? ›

1950s: Frosties

Tony the Tiger was unleashed on breakfast tables in the mid-1950s as the roarsome mascot of Kellogg's Frosties cereal, originally called Sugar Frosted Flakes. It was a huge success and the crunchy, sugar-coated corn flakes are still a morning (and, sometimes, after-pub) favourite.

What is the newest cereal? ›

11 New Cereals In 2023—and Which Ones You Should & Shouldn't Eat
  • Special K High Protein.
  • Three Wishes Marshmallow.
  • Kind Breakfast cereal bars.
  • Post Sweet Dreams Blueberry Midnight.
  • Lucky Charms S'mores.
  • Cap'n Crunch Birthday Crunch.
  • Apple Jacks Slime.
  • Snoop Cereal.
Apr 15, 2023

Why should you not eat cereal at night? ›

Cereal is Fast and Easy, but it May Cause Insomnia

This causes a spike and drop in blood sugar, which is especially problematic if you're diabetic or pre-diabetic. You may want to avoid eating cereal before sleeping.

Is it OK to eat cereal every breakfast? ›

Yes, cereal can be healthy

Beaver says that healthy breakfast cereals come with several benefits: A well-balanced, fiber-rich start to your day. Help meet your daily vitamin and mineral needs. Convenience.

What cereals have no chemicals? ›

Here's an organic list of breakfast cereals that ensure the customers of their food safety and taste much better than cereals with high pesticide residues.
  • BioFAIR. Source : BioFAIR. ...
  • Nature's Path. Source : Nature's Path. ...
  • Annie's Homegrown. Source : Annies. ...
  • Cascadian Farm. ...
  • Barbara's. ...
  • Ambrosial. ...
  • Farm To Table. ...
  • Tierra Farm.
Sep 1, 2022

What cereals are considered healthy by FDA? ›

As stated above, when looking for a healthy cereal option, we choose brands that contain 100% whole grain or whole food as the first ingredient (such as whole-grain oats, wheat, corn, buckwheat, rice or legumes) and a hearty combination of protein and fiber (aim for 3g of each per serving).

What is the number one cereal for diabetics? ›

“My favorite breakfast cereal recommendation for people with diabetes is a high-fiber, low-sugar option such as bran flakes,” says Palinski-Wade. With 5 grams of fiber per serving, this type of cereal contains 19 grams of net carbs per ¾ cup serving, making it lower in carbohydrates than many breakfast cereals.

Is Honey Nut Cheerios good for you? ›

Many popular breakfast cereals that some may consider nutritious would not qualify for the "healthy" claim, based on the FDA's proposed definition. This includes products like: Honey Nut Cheerios (12 grams of added sugars)

Are honey bunches of oats healthy? ›

Though Honey Bunches of Oats is fortified with vitamins and minerals, it fails to provide a balanced breakfast, as — like most breakfast cereals — it's high in added sugar and low in fiber and protein. Dietary guidelines encourage you to include plenty of fiber and protein in your morning routine.

What cereal fill you up the most? ›

Stick with whole grain varieties

To get the healthiest and most filling cereal, choose one that's predominantly (or ideally, fully) whole grain. On the label, you're looking for the first ingredient to say whole wheat, brown rice, oats, whole grain corn, or another whole grain (such as quinoa, amaranth, or sorghum).

What are the top three breakfast cereals? ›

Cheerios, followed by Frosted Flakes and Honey Nut Cheerios. Today is National Cereal Day, and there's no better time for this ranking of the 25 best cereals.

What cereal has 5 health star rating? ›

Kellogg's® All-Bran® Original

Kellogg's All-Bran Original is a high fibre breakfast cereal with 5 health stars and an easy way to help get the fibre you need for your digestive health!

What is a better breakfast than cereal? ›

Grain Bowls. Pack a bowl with cooked whole grains (like farro, quinoa, rice, barley), roasted vegetables, greens, legumes. Top the grain bowl with an egg or some shredded chicken if you want and you're good to go.

What is the easiest breakfast cereal to digest? ›

If your stomach is upset, Mills recommends eating: Warm cereals like Cream of Wheat, Cream of Rice and oatmeal. Cold cereals like Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Rice Chex and Special K.

What can I eat instead of cereal everyday? ›

You can try oats, they are much healthier than cereal. You can eat them with yoghurt instead of milk, or make overnight oats the day before so you can eat it straight away in the morning. Fruit doesn't have to be expensive either, an apple or a banana is a quick and healthy option too.

Are Cheerios or eggs healthier? ›

The study, by researchers in Boston, shows that we should be starting our day with a big bowl of cheerios - as they're a healthier option than protein-based meals such as eggs. Huh? If you're as baffled as us - here's how they came to their conclusion.

Is it OK to eat regular Cheerios everyday? ›

Is eating Cheerios everyday good for you? Overall, yes, eating Cheerios every day can be beneficial for one's overall health and wellness. Cheerios are a great source of whole grain oats, plus they contain essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium, zinc and iron.

Is a bowl of Cheerios a healthy breakfast? ›

Cheerios can help lower cholesterol as part of a heart healthy diet. Three grams of soluble fiber daily from whole grain oat foods, like Cheerios cereal, in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

What is the #2 cereal in America? ›

In fact, they're the second favorite cereal brand in the United States. Frosted Flakes are cornflakes that are sugar-coated. Originally, the cereal hit the market in 1952 and was called Sugar Frosted Flakes at the time. Apparently, they really wanted to hit home the fact that they were sugar-coated.

What is the oldest popular cereal? ›

Granula wasn't much like the cereal we eat today. The first manufactured breakfast cereal, it was developed in 1863 by a doctor and health reformer named James Caleb Jackson. Jackson believed, as many did at the time, that sicknesses were based in the digestive system.

What is one of the healthiest cereals? ›

This article will cover the 14 healthiest cereals you can eat.
  • Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Cereals. ...
  • Nature's Path Organics Superfood Cereals. ...
  • Barbara's Shredded Wheat Cereal. ...
  • Arrowhead Mills Spelt Flakes. ...
  • Cauliflower “oatmeal” ...
  • DIY peanut butter puffs cereal. ...
  • Love Grown Original Power O's. ...
  • DIY flax chia cereal.
Mar 6, 2023

What cereal has the most sugar? ›

1. Honey Smacks (USA) = 50% sugar. Honey Smacks, quite appropriately known as Sugar Smacks when the cereal launched in 1953, now has a healthier-sounding name but is still a massive 50% sugar. It contains 18g/0.6oz (4.5tsp) sugar in the suggested 36g/1.2oz serving.

What is the new expensive cereal? ›

General Mills has introduced a super-healthy, but very expensive new cereal. It's called Morning Summit. The cereal includes a variety of healthful ingredients -from dried cherries and cranberries to pumpkin seeds and almonds. It even contains organic coconut oil.

What is the most traded cereal? ›

Global trade of wheat, the world's most traded cereal (Figure 3.6) is projected to expand from 2019 to 2029 by a similar amount as in the last decade. This increase in wheat trade reflects both changing yields and changing policies.

Which cereal is lowest in sugar? ›

Here are a few cereals that are lower in sugar to keep an eye out for on your next grocery shop:
  • Multi Grain Cheerios (8g sugar)
  • Original Cheerios (2g sugar)
  • Kix (4g sugar)
  • Rice Chex (3g sugar)
  • Kashi Whole Wheat Biscuits, Autumn Wheat (7g sugar)
  • Nature's Path Heritage Flakes (5g sugar)
Feb 23, 2023

Which cereal should you eat to get the least sugar Why? ›

Grams of Sugar Per Serving: 2g

Plain Cheerios are one of the lowest sugar breakfast cereals on our list. This earthy-tasting, whole grain cereal is also a particularly heart-healthy choice in that it's cholesterol-free and low in fat.

What is the sugariest cereal in the United States? ›

What's the sugariest cereal of them all? According to the Environmental Working Group, it's Kellogg's Honey Smacks. The cereal is described as "sweetened puffed wheat cereal," which doesn't quite let on to the fact that 55.6 percent of the stuff is sugar.


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