Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or you simply want to have a healthier lifestyle, you may be looking to shed a few pounds. But you want to do so on your terms. You’re not going to sacrifice your favorite foods — like your morning bowl — so you're on the hunt for the best cereal for weight loss.
There’s only one problem: When looking for the healthiest cereal in the grocery store, practically every box boasts good-for-you health claims.
First, you have Special K, which had an entire diet named after it. Then you have Cheerios, which audaciously printed a heart-shaped bowl on their package. And of course there’s Fiber One, Raisin Bran, and every brand of oatmeal on store shelves, all claiming that they can help you reach your goals.
Well, we’re about to put those boxes in their place. Because after a closer look at their nutrition labels, we only see high-sugar, high-carb, and high-calorie cereals that are best avoided altogether.
The Best Cereals for Weight Loss (Or So They Say )
Below, we’re debunking the health claims from 10 of the top cereal brands. If you’re looking for the best cereal for weight loss, don’t fret — we have a much healthier alternative. (Just sit tight and keep reading.)
1. Kashi Go Peanut Butter Crunch
If there’s one brand that hails as the go-to healthy cereal on the market, Kashi would be it. For years, breakfast goers have turned to Kashi for nutrition in their morning bowl. And at first glance, Kashi seems to follow through — they offer 6 grams of fiber, 13 grams of whole grains, and 10 grams of protein per serving.
But once you keep reading, things go a bit downhill. The peanut butter variety of Kashi Go (formerly known as Kashi GoLean Crunch) contains 10 grams of sugar per serving, 230 calories, and unwanted ingredients including canola oil, molasses, and cane sugar. Sorry, Kashi, but that just won’t cut it.
2. Nature’s Path Love Crunch
When you think of granola, you probably think of parfaits, fresh fruit, and a continental breakfast. Unfortunately, granola is often high in added sugar. Nature’s Path Organic creates a granola with dark chocolate and red berries that contains 6 grams of sugar and 20 grams of carbohydrates — for just a mere fourth-cup serving.
In other words, for a full cup (which is the standard serving size for other cereals on this list), you’d be packing in a whopping 24 grams of sugar. If you’re looking to kickstart your weight loss efforts, this chocolatey granola isn’t it.
3. Fiber One Original Bran
When you begin any weight loss journey, upping your fiber content is one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll receive. Fiber One cereal is known for containing high doses of dietary fiber, and they deliver on their reputation. Their Original Bran variety contains 14 grams of fiber per serving, which is over half of your daily value. The benefits don’t stop there — Fiber One contains just 90 calories, and only 1 gram of fat.
But that’s where the positive attributes come to a screeching halt. Fiber One cereal barely contains any protein (just 3 grams per serving) and contains an astronomical 34 grams of total carbohydrates — not exactly conducive to your weight loss goals.
4. Special K Original
Kellogg’s Special K Original cereal has long been touted for its weight loss benefits. We mean, hey — they had an entire diet dedicated to a single product. But once you take a closer look at Special K’s nutrition label, you start wondering where all these weight loss claims came from.
In a single serving, you’ll get 39 grams of total carbohydrates with only 7 grams of protein. On top of that, you’ll get 5 grams of sugar, and just a 1 gram of dietary fiber. Not so special, is it?
5. Peanut Butter Puffins
When it comes to healthy cereal, Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins checks off quite a few boxes. It contains just 110 calories, is non-GMO verified, gluten-free, and vegan. On the other hand, it contains 6 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, and a whopping 23 grams of total carbs per serving. This isn’t exactly ideal when you’re trying to follow a low-carb, high-protein diet.
6. Original Cheerios
Cheerios has long tooted its own horn as one of the healthiest cereals on the market. And we’ll give them a little credit here as they do have a few things going for them. They contain 12 vitamins and minerals, only 1 gram of sugar (not bad General Mills, not bad), and just 100 calories.
The problem is, if you’re looking to lose weight, these whole grain oats simply contain too many carbs for you to hit your goals. With 20 grams of total carbs (and just 3 grams of fiber) per serving, you may want to dip your spoon into another bowl to get your fill.
7. All-Bran Complete Wheat Flakes
Listen, we know we’re biased when it comes to cereal. But in our not-so-humble opinion, if we’re eating a bowl of plain bran, it better be the healthiest breakfast option in the cupboard. And unfortunately, with Kellogg’s All-Bran Complete Wheat Flakes, that’s not the case.
This bowl contains just 4 grams of protein, which isn’t enough to fuel you through lunchtime. Plus, it contains 7 grams of sugar and 30 grams of carbohydrates. In fact, sugar and brown sugar syrup are listed as two of the top four ingredients, which won’t help your weight loss goals.
8. Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal
Better known for their sprouted breads, Ezekiel also has whole-grain cold cereal that’s vegan-friendly. Made with barley, soybeans, lentils, millet, and wheat, the cereal is high in fiber. However, this cereal is also extremely high in calories compared to other brands, containing 190 calories for just a half-cup serving.
Plus, that half cup contains 40 grams of carbs, the second-highest carb tally on this list. They do have one thing going for them though — one serving contains 0 grams of sugar, which no other cereal here (except us, of course) can say.
9. Cascadian Farm Lemon Blueberry Granola
With Cascadian Farm’s lemon blueberry cereal, you’ll get whole grain oats, pumpkin seeds, and dried blueberries. Their ingredients list is short, which we appreciate, but we were hoping to find other nutrient-dense foods in the mix, such as flaxseeds and chia seeds, that are found in homemade granola.
Here’s another reason we’re not impressed: This granola lists honey and cane sugar as two of their top ingredients. Plus, it packs 6 grams of sugar and 120 calories in a tiny, fourth-cup serving.
Like many other cereals on this list, Grape-Nuts have long been placed into the “best healthy cereals” category. However, when we glance their nutrition label, we’re left wondering why.
First of all, it’s extremely high in calories, containing 200 calories per half cup. Secondly, it contains a show-stopping 47 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of sugar. Sure, they only contain five ingredients on their entire label (wheat flour, barley flour, salt, and yeast), but with such high tallies in carbs and calories, it’s best to skip this box in the cereal aisle.
For the Best Cereal for Weight Loss, Go With Cereal School
When it comes to low calories, zero sugar, and low carbohydrates, there’s only one cereal brand that delivers: The Cereal School.
With Cereal School, we deliver on our healthy promises. With 16 grams of protein to fuel you through the day, just 1 gram of carbs, and not a speck of sugar (or any artificial ingredients) in sight, this is the high-protein, sugar-free cereal you’ve been waiting for.
Plus, unlike many cereals listed above (yeah, we’re looking at you Grape-Nuts), we come in flavors you’ll actually look forward to. With flavors like Cinnamon Bun, Cocoa, and Fruity, this is the sweet-tasting, crunchy cereal that will pick you up and won’t weigh you down.