As far as weight loss goes, a low-carb diet such as the Atkins diet is one of the few that has been scientifically shown to not only be effective, but to help improve your blood sugar, "good" HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
But let's face it. Even though you know it’s good for you, you're here because every day that you've sworn off carbs, you've been craving a big, delicious bowl of breakfast cereal.
And we really don't blame you. There’s just something innately comforting and familiar about that crunchy, sweet cereal you grew up eating — until you discovered just how much sugar is in your average bowl of cereal.
Well, crave no more because finding tasty Atkins cereal isn’t rarer than finding a unicorn. You just need to know how to look for it.
You Don't Have to Phase Out Cereal on Atkins
The reason why it's tricky to find low-carb cereal ideas is because cereals are often made from corn, wheat, or rice, all of which are high in carbs. For example, take Cheerios, one of America's favorite cereals. One serving gives you a total of 17 net carbs — not exactly cheery news when you're on one of the four phases of the Atkins diet, with daily net carb requirements ranging from 20 to 120.
If you look at the product information labels of most grocery store cereals, you'll also notice that the second ingredient is usually (high-carb) sugar. Even healthy-sounding breakfast options like granola — often packed with wholesome whole grains — aren't exempt.
But Atkins Day Break Muesli Cereal or Atkins Nutritionals' Morning Start cereal varieties aren’t the only low-carb cereals you can have. With one serving containing just 4–6 grams of net carbs, they're pretty good options. But you don't have to stick with Atkins products exclusively to satisfy your cravings.
Atkins-Friendly Cereals That Aren’t Actually Made by Atkins
You read that right. We swam across the diamond lake and slid down the double rainbow to find other low-carb cereal options (call them Atkins-adjacent) to carry you through lunchtime.
1. The Cereal School
With all of one gram of carbs per serving, The Cereal School isn’t simply low in carbs, it’s super low in carbs. Our cereal is as crunchy as your favorite childhood brand and just as sweet — without any added sugar. How is this possible? Monk fruit, that’s how. You’ll also get 16 whopping grams of protein.
2. Paleonola Grain Free Gluten Free Non-GMO Granola
Consisting of just nuts, seeds, berries, and coconut, this cereal contains just seven grams of carbs because it doesn't have any high-carb grains. Enjoy it as a normal bowl of cereal in milk or sprinkle it on top of yogurt.
3. Wholesome Provisions Protein Cereal Cocoa
If you're a fan of chocolate for breakfast, you'll probably like this low-carb Cocoa Puffs alternative. With just four grams of net carbs and 114 calories per serving, it’s also gluten-free and vegan. However, it does contain artificial flavors, so keep that in mind.
How to Identify Atkins Cereal
Just what makes a low-carb cereal healthy? And is there anything else you can do to ensure the cereal you're buying is in fact a tasty low-carb breakfast treat that’s compatible with your Atkins diet? Glad you asked. Here's what to look out for.
The Sweet Stuff
Don't worry, we don't mean you. The sweet stuff we're talking about here is the added sugar that you’ll find in most commercially produced foods. Sure, you've got the usual suspects of soft drinks, candy, and cakes, but anything from bread, soup, and even frozen meals can have sugar added to improve taste, performance, or prevent spoilage.
Sugar also occurs naturally in a large number of foods, including healthy fruits and vegetables. It's for this reason that you need to avoid high-carb fruit, vegetables, and legumes when you're in the first two phases of the Atkins diet.
However, as an added sweetener, refined sugar is best avoided no matter which Atkins phase you're in. Since added sugars only give you calories without any nutrients, you should avoid them altogether no matter what diet you’re on.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day for women, or nine teaspoons for men.
So take the time to look at the nutritional information label of any cereals you intend to buy. This will help you determine how much added sugar there is in each serving.
And don't be fooled if you don't find the word "sugar" in the ingredients list. Manufacturers are known to sneakily include sugar without you knowing it by calling it something different.
How Big's Your Bowl?
Let’s be honest. We've all had those "eyes bigger than your stomach" moments — the times when we've filled our bowls with just a bit more cereal than what we can (or should) have. Yet — no judgment, we're all cereal lovers here — we gobble it all up anyway, since it's right in front of us and tastes so good.
When you're counting carbs though, you really need to watch your portions. Too much of a low-carb breakfast can quickly become a high-carb meal. This is also why it's helpful to compare the net carb content of different cereals in relation to their serving size. Some cereals may have a low carb count, but that may be because a recommended serving is way less than what you'd actually need to get you through the day.
That Hangry Feeling
Speaking of eating enough to get you through the day — pay attention to the protein content of your breakfast cereal. Look for high-protein options to keep the hangry monster at bay. Protein not only helps with weight loss and reducing your blood pressure, this macronutrient actually helps you feel fuller for longer.
Just how much protein should you have? A good gauge would be half a gram of protein per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you would need at least 80 grams of proteins per day.
How to Add Some Sparkle to Your Atkins Cereal
Ready to add a little magic to your Atkins cereal? Try these delicious low-carb additions:
- Chia seeds
- Pecans (or other nuts and seeds)
- Cacao nibs
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
- Peanut butter
- Greek yogurt
The Cereal School: Atkins Cereal That's Great for You
If low-carb cereal is really a unicorn, The Cereal School cereal has got to be it. With a mere one gram of carb in each serving, you could have it morning and night, drenched in unsweetened almond milk or as a snack while jumping over rainbows. (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea.)
It's got such low carbs, it's even a favorite among those following the keto lifestyle — and those guys are seriously low-carb. Gluten- and grain-free, packed with all-natural good stuff, and priced the same as your average protein bar, The Cereal School is indeed a rare breed of quality, taste, and value.