If you’re a parent in the 21st century, you are well aware of the multiple holidays on which sugar consumption is at its peak—and Halloween is among the worst culprits. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that spending hundreds out of pocket for your children’s fillings is slightly less fun than trick-or-treating. A nice way to offset the sugar rush is to feed your young ones better, healthier cereals at the start of each day. But what exactly are “healthy” cereals, anyway?
You’ll find many different answers to this question online, including recommendations of brands allegedly preferred by nutritionists. The Cleveland Clinic, on the other hand, recommends looking at whole grains, fiber, protein, and of course, low amounts of sugar and sodium.
To pinpoint the best cereals, I took the Clinic’s advice and melded it with my own knowledge of what my family will eat. The criteria were simple:
- 200 calories or less per serving
- 10(ish) grams of sugar or less per serving
- Some kind of whole grain promise
- Low sodium content
(I figured my kids can get their protein and fiber from other sources like eggs, sausages, and Greek yogurt.)
Even with these criteria narrowing the field, I was overwhelmed by the amount of cereals available at the grocery stores in my area. One store alone had two separate aisles dedicated to cereal: one with “regular” brands such as General Mills, Post, and Kellogg’s, the other full of “natural” or smaller organic brands. Below is a selection of ten cereals that best fit the criteria above, ranked from worst to best.