11 Best Cereals for Weight Loss (Tasty & Healthy Breakfast)

Written by Nathan | Updated on 13 November 2021

Many people turn to cereal in today’s hectic world for a quick and easy breakfast each morning. But if you’re trying to lose weight, knowing the best cereals for weight loss can be tricky. Not all cereals in the breakfast aisle are equal, and many of them aren’t healthy at all once you look at their ingredients.

Fortunately, there are plenty of cereals out there that are chock full of healthy ingredients that make them great for both a tasty and healthy breakfast. In this article, we address a few questions about cereals and weight loss before diving into the cereals that are best for weight loss.

Is Cereal Good for Losing Weight?

The type of cereal you eat, how much of it you eat during the day, and what other foods you eat will determine whether cereal is good for losing weight. Studies have repeatedly shown that the number one most crucial factor in losing weight is reducing your calorie intake [1]. Consuming healthy cereals for one or two meals a day can help you with weight loss if you’re eating healthy the rest of the day.

A 2015 Study by Kellogg’s cereal brand found that people who replaced two meals a day with their cereal for a 14-day period were able to decrease their caloric intake by an average of 600 calories per day [2]. With the right ingredients, cereal can help you lose weight by decreasing your hunger after breakfast and decreasing your desire to snack between meals.

A healthy cereal is usually high in fiber, has a high amount of protein, and is low in sugar. Eating healthy cereals for breakfast can have more benefits than solely helping you lose weight. To reap the most benefits from eating cereals for weight loss, you should have a sustainable diet plan and not be too drastic in your calorie restriction or physical activity [3]. With a weight loss plan that is too restrictive, you are more likely to have a hard time sticking to it, and you might fall off the wagon. With a more lenient approach to weight loss, you’ll be less likely to fall off the wagon over time and have a better chance of being successful on your weight loss journey.

Which Cereal Is Best for Weight Loss? How to Choose

The best cereals for weight loss are the ones with whole grains and minimal sugar. Compared to refined grains like white flour, whole grains have more fiber, protein, and micronutrients like magnesium, B vitamins, and iron. Not only are whole grains good for weight loss, but a higher intake of whole grains is associated with overall better health, especially heart and digestive health [4]. It has also been found that cereals with whole wheat bases of barley, oats, or psyllium might help lower cholesterol levels [5].

When choosing a cereal for weight loss, be careful not to judge a cereal box by its cover. The box’s front cover can be misleading with claims of being healthy that aren’t substantiated by their nutritional content [6]. It’s not uncommon for cereal companies to sneak in added ingredients like fats and sugar to make their cereal taste better.

To make sure you’re getting the most nutritional bang for your buck, analyze the nutritional label. Along with whole grains, it’s recommended that you look for cereal that has at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 to 10 grams of protein to keep you full. Your cereal should also have less than 6 grams of added sugar and less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving for the best health benefits [7].

11 Healthy & Delicious Cereals

For a healthy and tasty breakfast on the go, try one of these best cereals for weight loss. 

1. General Mills Fiber One Original

Serving Size: ½ cup, 90 calories

Nutrition Facts: 1 g fat (0 g saturate or trans fat), 34 g carbs (18 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 3 g protein, 140 mg sodium.

This cereal is packed full of fiber, low in fat, low in sodium, and has no sugar. One serving gives you over half of your daily fiber. If you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, it’s recommended that you introduce it gradually into your diet to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort. For that reason, this cereal might not be the right choice for you if you want to introduce fiber slowly. You can start with a lower-fiber cereal and work your way up to Fiber One over the course of two or three weeks to avoid the risk of discomfort [8].

Fiber One Original also has vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. As a plus, General Mills recently stopped including aspartame as an artificial sweetener and replaced it with Splenda. If you’re not a fan of Splenda, this cereal might not be to your taste.

2. Nature’s Path Organic Smart Bran

Serving Size: ¾ cup, 110 calories

Nutrition Facts: 1 g fat (0 g saturated or trans fat), 32 g carbs (17 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 4 g protein, 170 mg sodium.

This cereal has a patented mix of whole grains, including psyllium seed husks, wheat bran, and oat bran. Along with the huge fiber benefit for satiation and colon health, the addition of psyllium might make this cereal a good option for you if you’re looking to lower your cholesterol [9].

Smart Bran is fully organic and vegan, plus it has the added benefit of calcium and iron. This cereal is versatile because it can be enjoyed with hot or cold milk. It does have a little over the recommended sodium level, so if you’re trying to keep your breakfast low in salt, this might not be the best cereal for your weight loss [10].

3. Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Wheat’ n Bran

Serving Size: 1 1/3 cup, 210 calories

Nutrition Facts: 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated or trans fat), 49 carbs (8 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 7 g protein, 0 mg sodium.

Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Wheat’ N Brand is among the simplest cereals on this list, with its ingredients comprising of only whole grain wheat and wheat bran. The pure base makes this cereal great for adding in some fresh fruit. This cereal also packs 20% of the recommended daily value of niacin and phosphorus. It also has iron, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and potassium, which are all essential micronutrients [11].

It is higher in carbs than other cereals on this list, so if you are looking to avoid carbs, you might want to look elsewhere. Wheat’ N Bran has zero sodium, making it a great choice for anyone looking to decrease their salt intake.

The simple ingredients in this cereal make it bland, which means that it’s the best cereal to eat at night if you need a midnight snack. If you eat it without adding other ingredients, you won’t have to worry about indigestion or heartburn that often comes with eating too close to bedtime.

4. Kashi GoLean Original

Serving Size: 1 ¼ cup, 180 calories

Nutrition Facts: 2 g fat (0 g saturated or trans fat), 40 g carbs (13 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 12 g protein, 115 mg sodium.

Kashi GoLean is made of red wheat, buckwheat, brown rice, sesame seeds, barley, wheat bran, sesame flour, corn bran, oat fiber, and honey and cane syrup for sweetness. Protein is an essential macronutrient with proven benefits to weight loss because it helps keep you full longer [12]. With 20% of your daily recommended fiber and a whopping 12 grams of protein, Kashi GoLean will help you feel full all morning. Not only can this cereal help prevent snacking between meals, but it’s also certified non-GMO and full of iron, calcium, and magnesium.

5. General Mills Cheerios is a Healthy Breakfast Cereal

Serving Size: 1 ½ cup, 140 calories

Nutrition Facts: 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 29 g carbs (4 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 5 g protein, 190 sodium.

Made with whole grain oats, this cereal is a common household favorite. Cheerios are both affordable and offer great nutritional value with barely any added sugar and 20% of your daily recommended intake of the essential nutrients thiamin, B6, folate, B12, and zinc, plus 70% of your daily iron [13]. With a decent amount of fiber and protein, this cereal will keep you full in the morning and help prevent grazing. However, the sodium content of Cheerios is a bit higher than other cereals on this list. If you’re trying to avoid sodium, Cheerios might not be the best cereal for your weight loss.

6. Kellogg’s All-Bran Complete Wheat Flakes

Serving Size: 1 cup, 120 calories

Nutrition Facts: 1 g fat (0 g saturated or trans fat), 30 g carbs (6 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 4 g protein, 260 sodium.

This cereal is made with whole-grain wheat and wheat bran and provides you with ¼ of your daily fiber content. This would be a good option if you don’t currently have a lot of fiber in your diet and would like to start slowly introducing it into your meals. It has antioxidants, 60% of your daily iron, 50% of your daily folate, and 20% of the recommended amount of all the B vitamins. The low calorie and sugar content make this cereal a great option for weight loss, but beware of the high sodium content. If the serving size isn’t enough to fill you up, you can always add some berries or dried fruit to your cereal.

7. Kellogg’s Unfrosted Mini-Wheats

Serving Size: 30 pieces, 120 calories

Nutritional Facts: 0.5 g fat ( 0 g saturated or trans fat), 28 g carbs (5 g fiber, 0 sugar), 4 g protein, 5 mg sodium.

Kellogg’s Unfrosted Mini Wheats might seem like a dull breakfast food, but this cereal makes for a great base to build a healthy breakfast. Made from whole grain wheat, it’s high in protein and fiber while having no added sugar and a minuscule 5 mg of sodium, making it one of the best breakfast cereals for weight loss. It also has the added benefit of providing 50% of your daily iron and folate intake, plus B vitamins and zinc. Top this cereal with some fresh fruit or yogurt to build a tasty, healthy breakfast. The versatility of this cereal makes it among the best cereals for weight loss.

8. General Mills Kix Healthy Cereal

Serving Size: 1 ¼ cup, 110 calories

Nutritional Facts: 1 g fat (0 saturated or trans fat), 25 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g fiber), 2 g protein, 180 mg sodium.

Usually, children’s cereals get a bad rap for being full of sugar and of little nutritional value. That’s not the case with Kix. This cereal is made with whole-grain corn and very little added sugar. General Mills Kix not only provides you with 50% of your daily iron intake, but it also packs in 20% of your needed vitamin A. This essential micronutrient is vital for vision and also acts as a powerful antioxidant [14].

9. Ezekiel 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin Whole Grain

Serving Size: ½ cup, 190 calories

Nutritional Facts: 1 g fat (0 saturated or trans fat), 41 g carbs (5 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 7 g protein, 160 mg sodium.

Coming in with under half the amount of sugar than other raisin bran cereals, Ezekiel 4:9’s version is the healthiest option on the shelf. This organic, vegan, and non-GMO cereal is made with sprouted wheat, barley, millet, lentils, soybeans, malted barley, and spelt. Its decent protein content will help you feel satiated throughout the day and make you less likely to graze. It also offers 25% of your daily niacin, 70% of your daily manganese, and 45% of your daily selenium, a nutrient that’s vital for the immune system and fertility health [15].

10. Magic Spoon Grain-Free Is A Great Breakfast for Your Diet

Serving Size: 1 cup, 150 calories

Nutritional Facts: 1 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 13 g protein, 160 mg sodium.

This super high protein cereal has its first ingredient as a milk protein blend. Because Magic Spoon isn’t made with whole grains, it has a lower fiber and carb content than other cereals on this list. But the protein punch added from casein and whey, plus the zero grams of added sugar, make this cereal a great choice for weight loss [12]. To up your fiber intake, you can add fresh fruits to your bowl. This cereal is more expensive than other cereals and doesn’t offer the same amount of vitamin boosts as other cereals, but the fact that it’s low carb might appeal to you if you’re trying to reduce your carb intake.

11. Bear Naked Granola Protein Honey Almond

Serving Size: ½ cup, 280 calories

Nutritional Facts: 15 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 0 g trans), 29 g carbs (5 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 11 g protein, 80 mg sodium.

Made with whole grain oats, soybeans, almonds, honey, and flax seeds, this granola is a good option if you want something other than standard cereal. Its high-fat content might look scary, but it’s been found that eating more fats can actually help with weight loss as well as inflammation [16]. Bear Naked Granola has a good amount of fiber for digestive health, plus a high protein content that will help keep you full all morning. Because of this, it’s the best granola cereal for weight loss.

The Bottom Line

The perfect breakfast for weight loss will be nutrient-dense and low on added sugar and filler ingredients. So the 11 cereals above fit that criteria and can be used to diet or lose weight. These cereals have plenty of fiber and protein to help satiate your hunger while being relatively low on sugar and other junk ingredients that your body doesn’t need.

Keep in mind that when you’re trying to lose fat, it’s not only about what you eat, but how much you eat is a factor as well. Exercise is also an important aspect of being healthy and losing weight. Adding healthy cereals to your diet won’t help you lose weight if the rest of your lifestyle doesn’t support weight loss. Be sure to create a caloric deficit by eating less and moving more. When you tackle weight loss from every angle, you should find success by incorporating the best cereals into your diet to help you be healthy and lose weight.

References

[1] Fock, K. M., & Khoo, J. (2013). Diet and exercise in management of obesity and overweight. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 28, 59–63. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgh.12407

[2] P, S., J, W., & P, J. (2015). The Effects of the Special K Challenge on Body Composition and Biomarkers of Metabolic Health in Healthy Adults. Journal of Nutrition and Health Sciences, 2(4). https://doi.org/10.15744/2393-9060.2.403

[3] Thomas, J. G., Bond, D. S., Phelan, S., Hill, J. O., & Wing, R. R. (2014). Weight-Loss Maintenance for 10 Years in the National Weight Control Registry. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 46(1), 17–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2013.08.019

[4] Zhang, B., Zhao, Q., Guo, W., Bao, W., & Wang, X. (2017). Association of whole grain intake with all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis from prospective cohort studies. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72(1), 57–65. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2017.149

[5] Anderson, J. W., Davidson, M. H., Blonde, L., Brown, W. V., Howard, W. J., Ginsberg, H., Allgood, L. D., & Weingand, K. W. (2000). Long-term cholesterol-lowering effects of psyllium as an adjunct to diet therapy in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71(6), 1433–1438. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/71.6.1433

[6] Parents Often Misled by Health Claims on Children’s Cereal Packages. (2011, September 23). YaleNews. https://news.yale.edu/2011/08/10/parents-often-misled-health-claims-childrens-cereal-packages

[7] Study: Reducing sugar in packaged foods could reduce disease. (2021, August 27). Harvard Gazette. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/08/study-reducing-sugar-in-packaged-foods-could-reduce-disease/

[8] Williams, P. G. (2014). The Benefits of Breakfast Cereal Consumption: A Systematic Review of the Evidence Base. Advances in Nutrition, 5(5), 636S-673S. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.114.006247

[9] Lattimer, J. M., & Haub, M. D. (2010). Effects of Dietary Fiber and Its Components on Metabolic Health. Nutrients, 2(12), 1266–1289. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu2121266

[10] Suckling, R. J., & Swift, P. A. (2015). The health impacts of dietary sodium and a low-salt diet. Clinical Medicine, 15(6), 585–588. https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmedicine.15-6-585

[11] Shenkin, A. (2006). Micronutrients in health and disease. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 82(971), 559–567. https://doi.org/10.1136/pgmj.2006.047670

[12] Dhillon, J., Craig, B. A., Leidy, H. J., Amankwaah, A. F., Osei-Boadi Anguah, K., Jacobs, A., Jones, B. L., Jones, J. B., Keeler, C. L., Keller, C. E., McCrory, M. A., Rivera, R. L., Slebodnik, M., Mattes, R. D., & Tucker, R. M. (2016). The Effects of Increased Protein Intake on Fullness: A Meta-Analysis and Its Limitations. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(6), 968–983. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2016.01.003

[13] Office of Dietary Supplements – Iron. (2021, March 22). NIH. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/

[14] Dawson, M. (2000). The Importance of Vitamin A in Nutrition. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 6(3), 311–325. https://doi.org/10.2174/1381612003401190

[15] Rayman, M. P. (2000). The importance of selenium to human health. The Lancet, 356(9225), 233–241. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(00)02490-9

[16] Snyder, W. (2021, February 10). Study: Balanced high-fat diet improves body composition, inflammation. Vanderbilt Medicine. https://medschool.vanderbilt.edu/vanderbilt-medicine/study-balanced-high-fat-diet-improves-body-composition-inflammation/

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.