A list of Lower Sugar Breakfast Cereals for Kids (and adults) if you are looking for some new options for breakfasts or snacks. They all have six grams of added sugar or less and at least two grams of both protein and fiber.
*Originally published April 2019. Updated May 2023*
The list of Lower Sugar Cereals For Kids (and adults) is here! I know cereal often gets knocked for not being the most nutritious food to feed your kid, but as someone who very seriously lived off almost nothing but cereal for many years, I will always have a strong love for it.
Plus my kids love it so I guess they take after their mama. While there are definitely some cereal options out there that are, in my opinion, overly sugary and not overly nutritious…there are also some good cereal choices out there.
Several brands make cereal low in sugar and also contain a decent amount of protein and fiber. When paired with some additional protein and fiber, cereal can definitely be part of a healthy meal or snack. I often get asked about the best cereal for toddlers so let’s talk about it!
This is one post in a series of “best of store-bought” recommendations. For more ideas, check out these posts:
Snacks from certain stores:
Healthy Snacks At Costco For The Whole Family
Types of snacks:
Best Healthy Gluten-Free Snacks
Healthy Store-Bought Tortillas
Healthy Crackers for Kids and Adults
Healthy Store-Bought Granola Bars for Kids
Individually Wrapped Snack Ideas
Peanut & Tree Nut Free Packaged Snacks
Healthy Cereals For Kids
Why am I such a fan of cereal? Here are a few things to remember!
It’s often fortified with beneficial things like B vitamins, Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Vitamin D. Iron is especially important for kiddos so cereal can be a good way to add some extra to their diet.
There are lots of whole-grain options available. If the box says whole grain, then at least half the grain ingredients are whole grain. If it says 100% whole grain then all the grain ingredients are whole grain. You can look for the yellow and black whole-grain stamp. If it says 100% whole grains, it has at least 16g whole grains which is one serving of whole grains.
Remember that this list can also be helpful to find low-sugar cereal for adults. Nothing says only kids can eat these!
Criteria for Best Low Sugar Cereals
Whenever you make a list like this, you have to pick a cut-off. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to eliminate anything from your list. So for the purposes of this list, here’s what I used for my criteria:
Grams of sugar per serving
Aim for 6 grams or less of added sugar per serving.
Protein and fiber
Look for at least 2 grams of both protein and fiber per serving.
Another factor to consider when choosing a cereal
It doesn’t matter how healthy it is if it doesn’t get eaten! I made a secondary/alternates list that goes up to 9 grams of added sugar because there are some options out there that have 5-6 grams fiber/protein etc but a little more added sugar as well…so you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons depending on what you’re looking for in a cereal.
I tried to pick cereals that are kid-friendly because let’s be real…not a lot of kids are going to eat plain bran flakes so I didn’t put them on the list even though they are low in sugar.
I didn’t include granola. I felt like it deserved its own list that perhaps I’ll put together in the future. I tried to include cereals that are commonly found, not just available at one store like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
Other Notes For Kid Cereals
For this list, I really just focused on the sugar, protein and fiber content.
There are several other factors to consider when it comes to cereal and it would be hard to address them all, so as a responsible consumer, you should do your own research on the following factors if they’re important to you because I didn’t address them:
Allergens- some cereals may contain nuts, dairy etc
Artificial colors/sweeteners- some cereals may include these.
Safety – some cereals may be too hard/crunchy for younger toddlers, even when soaked in milk
Serving size – be sure to check it. Comparing a ⅔ cup serving size to 1 cup serving size is not apples to apples
Sodium and calorie content
Here are some lower added sugar cereals and a simple trick for reducing added sugar:
What cereal is good for high blood sugar?
Just like any carbohydrates, cereal can spike your blood sugar so I recommend looking for fiber. If it’s low in sugar but also low in fiber, add some fresh fruit, nuts or seeds to boost fiber content.
In case you need a refresher, fiber intake goals are as follows: 19 grams per day for 1-3-year-olds, 25 grams per day for 4-8-year-olds, and continues to increase for older kids and adults. Cereals like Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes and Crispix fall into this category, with just a few grams of sugar but no fiber either.
Finding a cereal that is both low and sugar and high in fiber is important for most people but especially those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic and are working to control their blood sugar.
What makes a cereal nutritious?
In addition to choosing cereals that are lower in added sugar and have some protein and fiber, here are a few more tips:
If your kids are used to higher-sugar cereals, look for similar lower-sugar options and start by mixing half and half.
I usually try to pair cereal with a protein source like milk, yogurt, cheese, nuts, etc.
Get out your measuring cups and measure out a serving size of your cereal so you can see what it looks like
Check the box. Things change. Recipes change. The numbers in this post could at some point become inaccurate.
So, are you ready for the list? Here you go! Remember, this is not an all-inclusive list. That would be a huge task to tackle. This is just to give you a starting place and provide some cereals you maybe haven’t heard of or tried.
Lower Sugar Cereals For Kids
The following cereals have six grams or less added sugar and at least 2 grams of both protein and fiber (I had to move several options from my original list to the alternate list because they’ve raised the amount of added sugar since I originally posted this in 2019. Be sure to pay attention to the serving size when comparing labels and eating cereal!
Barbara’s Puffins Original (3g protein, 3g fiber, 6g added sugar)
Barbara’s Puffins Cinnamon (3g protein, 3g fiber, 6g added sugar)
Cascadian Farms Purely O’s (4g protein, 4g fiber, <1 g added sugar)
Chex Cereal (Rice/Corn) – (3g protein, 2g fiber, 3g added sugar)
Chex Cereal (Wheat) – (6g protein, 8g fiber, 6g added sugar)
General Mills Plain Cheerios (3g protein, 3g fiber, 1g sugar)
General Mills Kix (2g protein, 3g fiber, 3g added sugar)
General Mills Total (3g protein, 4g fiber, 6g added sugar)
General Mills Wheaties (3g protein, 4g fiber, 5g added sugar)
Kashi Cinnamon Oat Cereal (4g protein, 5g fiber, 6g added sugar)
Kashi Honey Toasted Oat (4g protein, 5g fiber, 6g added sugar)
Nature’s Path Crispy Rice (3g protein, 3g fiber, 3g added sugar)
Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes (5g protein, 7g fiber, 5g added sugar)
Nature’s Path Whole O’s (4g protein, 4g fiber, 4g added sugar)
Nature’s Path Sunrise Crunchy Cinnamon (3g protein, 4g fiber, 6g added sugar)
Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise (4g protein, 5g fiber, 4g added sugar)
Alternates (9 grams of added sugar or less and at least 2 grams of protein and fiber)
My top choices in this category would be Barbara’s Multigrain spoonfuls and Cascadian Farms Raisin Bran because they have a good amount of protein and fiber and only 7g added sugar. Quaker Oat squares are another one with a lot of protein and fiber but also have 9g added sugar. You could try mixing with plain Chex or Shredded Wheat which have a similar shape but are lower in added sugar.
Barbara’s Puffins Peanut Butter (3g protein, 2g fiber, 9g added sugar)
Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls (5g protein, 5g fiber, 7g added sugar)
General Mills Multigrain Cheerios (3g protein, 3g fiber, 8g added sugar)
Cascadian Farms Raisin Bran (5g protein, 7g fiber, 7g added sugar)
Cascadian Farms Multigrain Squares Cereal (6g protein, 5g fiber, 9g added sugar)
Chex Cereal Cinnamon (2g protein, 2g fiber, 8g added sugar) *other varieties available
Kashi Maple Waffle Crisp (4g protein, 4g fiber, 8g added sugar)
Kellog Raisin Bran (5g protein, 7g fiber, 9g added sugar)
Nature’s Path Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs (3g protein, 3g fiber, 9g added sugar)
Nature’s Path Sunrise Crunchy Vanilla/Maple/Honey (2g protein, 4g fiber, 7g added sugar)
Post Honey Bunches of Oats Cinnamon/Honey Roasted (3g protein, 2g fiber, 8g added sugar)
Quaker Life (original) (4g protein, 3g fiber, 8g added sugar)
Quaker Oatmeal Squares – brown sugar & cinnamon (6g protein, 5g fiber, 9g added sugar)
So there you go! I’d love to hear some of your kiddos favorite lower-sugar cereals if they’re not on this list! A few more questions:
Breakfast Cereal FAQs
What cereals are lowest in sugar?
In general, here are some of the cereals that tend to be the lowest in sugar are the plain varieties of things like Cheerios, Chex, Corn Flakes, Rice Crispies, although some of these are also low in fiber and protein.
There are also some that are low in sugar because they use sweeteners like monk fruit ( Three Wishes, Magic Spoon etc). You can read more about sugar substitutes here.
Best cereal for toddlers?
Under age 2 is when I pay the most attention to added sugar. Cereals like Cheerios/toasted oat cereals, as well as puffed whole gran cereals like (kamut, wheat, rice etc) are great option. Shredded wheat soaked in milk to soften it can also be a great choice!
Why does cereal make my blood sugar drop?
Eating high sugar cereal, especially by itself, can definitely lead to a blood sugar crash. The sugar in the cereal spikes your blood sugar, then your body has to produce a lot of insulin to lower your blood sugar leading to a crash that can leave you hungry again quickly, as well as shaky, irritable and more.
To help avoid this, choose a cereal that is low in added sugar and also has some protein and fiber to help balance your blood sugars and prevent a spike and crash.