Is Your Breakfast Cereal Actually Good for You

When we were younger, we were told to avoid sugary cereals for healthier alternatives. After all, cereals like Cheerios, Raisin Bran, and Special K are all supposed to be the best choices for you. It would be no surprise to most people of a certain age that reaching for these cereal options is considered a healthy choice.

What if we told you the guidelines have changed and these cereals are no longer helpful to your health? Let’s talk about these unhealthy cereal options and discuss the best cereal choice you can make!

New FDA Guidelines Redefine Healthy Cereals

What Makes a Cereal “Healthy?”

When you are looking at breakfast cereal options, it may be tempting to look at the packaging for claims from the brand about health. After all, there are buzzwords on boxes such as “heart healthy,” “good source of vitamin D,” and “more whole grains.”

With claims like that, it can be tempting to trust the packaging and go with a “healthy” cereal option. However, the FDA has specific guidelines for what makes a cereal truly good for you.

“For that ‘healthy’ label, cereals need three-fourth ounces of whole grains and no more than 1 gram of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, and 2.5 grams of added sugars” (Source:

Traditional Favorites are No Longer Billed as Healthy

Finding out healthy cereals are no longer good for you can be disappointing. Are you going to have to stand in the grocery store reading sodium, sugars, saturated fat, and whole grains to make sure you’re eating the “safe” cereal options? Are you unknowingly eating a cereal that is actually working against your health goals?

The good news is, CNBC has put together a list for you of the seven cereal brands that are no longer good for you. These cereal brands might surprise you as many have been promoted for decades as the healthiest option:

  • Raisin Bran (9g of added sugars) - This cereal was praised as the best option for those looking to regulate their gut and choose healthier options. With 9g of added sugars, it is actually more harm than good for your overall health. There are better ways to care for your gut health that don’t include this unhealthy cereal option.
  • Honey Nut Cheerios (12g of added sugars) - Honey nut cheerios are often praised as the heart healthy alternative to a variety of other cereal options. While there may be some small evidence of benefits to the heart health aspect of cheerios, it’s important to look at the 12g of added sugars as a serious downside for this option.
  • Corn Flakes (300mg of sodium; 4g of added sugars) - Corn flakes are often praised as a great cereal option when trying to make a healthier breakfast happen. However, the high sodium content is a big negative for this cereal and makes it a part of the list of cereals to avoid.
  • Honey Bunches of Oats, Honey Roasted (8g of added sugars) - Honey Bunches of Oats is often praised as being fortified with vitamins and minerals that make it a healthy choice. However, it’s also fortified with too much sugar for a healthy lifestyle.
  • Frosted Mini Wheats (12g of added sugars) - Frosted Mini Wheats boasts about their high fiber content and “healthy” whole grain wheat. However, with 12g of added sugars, you are definitely not getting a truly healthy breakfast option here.
  • Life (8g of added sugars) - Because Life is made from whole grain flour, and it is free from artificial colors and sweeteners as well as being a good source of iron, fiber, and B vitamins. This might lead you to believe that this is a healthy breakfast option. However, the high sugar content will outweigh the implied health benefits found in this cereal.
  • Special K (270mg of sodium; 4g of added sugars) - Special K is praised as a good source of vitamins A and D and an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, and vitamins B12 and B6. However, these benefits can be achieved with a plant-based diet. Instead, it’s important to look at the high sodium content as well as the 4g of added sugars when deciding if this cereal is truly healthy for you.

Switching Up to a Healthier Cereal

It can be difficult to find the right cereal option for your health goals. With guidelines changing and labeling changing, it can be stressful to find the right option. Spending a great deal of time in the store looking at labels isn’t the answer.

The good news is, there is a cereal option out there that can give you no stress and let you continue to meet your health goals. Did you know Plantstrong has a Toasted Multigrain Flakes Cereal now?

What makes the Toasted Multigrain Flakes Cereal better for you than some of the other cereal options on the market?

  • No added oils - Did you know that added oils are not beneficial for your overall health? You can read more about oil and how it impacts your health here.
  • No added sugars - Many popular cereals add a great deal of sugar to their cereal in hopes of adding flavor. If you want to add flavor, using a favorite fresh fruit in your cereal can be a healthier alternative.
  • No excessive sodium - Excessive sodium is often used as a preservative in foods and can be harmful to your health. By choosing a cereal option with no excessive sodium you are able to feel confident in a safe cereal option.
  • Five organic grains including sorghum, quinoa, and buckwheat - Not all grains are created equal. In fact, some can work against your gut health and increase inflammation. The toasted multigrain flakes cereal uses five organic grains that are better for you.
  • 100% Plant-Based - Choosing a plant-based lifestyle is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. This toasted multigrain flakes cereal is here to help you with a truly plant-based option you can feel good about eating!

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