On days when you need a quick breakfast| try one of these healthy cereal recommendations from Self!
While we’ll always have a soft spot for the nostalgic| cartoon-covered cereals of childhood| our grown-up selves are wise enough to know by now that the sugary stuff doesn’t cut it anymore. Thankfully| a host of innovative companies have come out with artisan protein- and fiber-packed cereals and muesli worth exploring (lentils in your cereal? It’s a thing). And if you need another reason to pour yourself a bowl| the latest research connects whole grain and cereal fiber consumption with lower risk of chronic disease. “A cereal should have no more than 6 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup or 100 calories and have a whole grain listed as the first ingredient|” says Bonnie Taub-Dix| nutrition expert and author of Read It Before You Eat It. Armed with these parameters| we braved the ever-expanding cereal aisle to round up the best new clean eating options that you can feel safe spooning up| guilt-free.
Seven Sundays Bircher Unsweetened Muesli
The husband and wife team behind this new brand discovered muesli on their honeymoon to New Zealand. They couldn’t find anything like it back home| so they made their own. Yummy hot or cold| this Swiss-style muesli made with oats| barley and rye is raw and sweetener-free| but that doesn’t mean it’s flavorless. Almonds| apples| dates| currants| plus flax and sunflower seeds| pepitas| brazil nuts and banana chips| all coated in a heavy dose of cinnamon| equal yummy| filling| and amazing with almond milk. Their Vanilla Cherry Pecan is also delish and a little higher in sugar (9g for 1/2 cup).
240 cal| 8g fat| 7g fiber| 6g sugar| 8g protein per 1/2 cup. $4.99 for 12 oz.; available nationwide at Target| The Fresh Market| select Whole Foods stores and other retailers (find a store here)
18 Rabbits Jr. Organic Granola Cereal
These new blends from artisan organic granola maker 18 Rabbits were made exclusively for Target. They were also made for kiddies| but hey| we aren’t above borrowing from the kids’ aisle. Made from organic and non-GMO ingredients| this better-for-you line comes in two delicious flavors| Caramel Apple and Chocolate Banana| both surprisingly low in sugar.
Chocolate Banana| 140 cal| 6g fat| 3g fiber| 5g sugar| 3g protein per 1/2 cup; Caramel Apple| 130 cal| 5g fat| 2g fiber| 6g sugar| 3g protein per 1/2 cup. $4.99 for 8 oz.; available at Target stores nationwide
Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Organic 6-Grain Hot Cereal
There’s a new ancient grain in town and it’s in this cereal from Purely Elizabeth. Kaniwa is a cousin of quinoa and has similar nutrition stats: gluten-free| high in protein| fiber| amino acids| iron and zinc. Blended with organic gluten free oats| buckwheat groats| millet| quinoa| amaranth| chia| hemp and flax| this is a superstar super-grain line-up if we’ve ever heard one. They also have quick-cooking apple cinnamon pecan version that has less than 1 gram of sugar per serving.
170 cal| 3.5g fat| 5g fiber| 0g sugar| 7g protein per 1/3 cup dry (about 1 cup cooked). $6.39 for 14 oz.; available at natural food stores nationwide| including Whole Foods and at purelyelizabeth.com
Food for Life Baking Co. Flourless Flake Cereal
Ezekiel Bread has long been a fave of healthy eaters| and their brand new line of cereal is just as cult-worthy. Made of lentils| soybeans| and grains that have been soaked in water until they sprout (this makes them low glycemic and easier to digest)| the hearty flakes are lightly sweetened with agave| delicious| and contain all 9 essential amino acids (a.k.a. a complete protein). You also get a healthy dose of omega-3s with the Flax + Chia flavor.
105 cal| 1g fat| 3g fiber| 3.5g sugar| 4g protein per 1/2 cup (recommended serving size is 3/4 cup). $5.49 for 16 oz.; available in natural food stores nationwide Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Muesli
This hearty mix of extra-thick rolled oats is packed with the good stuff: plump| juicy raisins| sweet-tart dried cranberries| raw sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds| almonds| brown rice crisps| dry roasted soybeans| and unsweetened coconut flakes.
220 cal| 6g fat| 4g fiber| 10g sugar| 6g protein (recommended serving size is 1/4 cup). $6.29 for 16 oz.; available in most grocery stores nationwide and online at BobsRedMill.com
Ancient Harvest Ancient Grain Hot Cereal
Quinoa| millet| amaranth| and rolled oats pump up the protein in this earthy hot cereal. And just like your regular oatmeal| all you have to do is pour it into a bowl| add water or milk| stir and microwave for a few minutes. It comes in flavors like Banana and Brown Sugar| but we say stay with the lower-sugar plain version and add fresh fruit yourself.
180 cal| 3g fat| 4g fiber| 0g sugar| 7g protein per pouch. $6.99 for box of 6 single-serve pouches; available at natural grocers nationwide (buy online or find a store here)
Love Grown Foods Power O’s & Mighty Flakes
Cereal made with navy beans| garbanzo beans and lentils? Whaaaa? Yep. This brand brings to mind two classics (cough| Cheerios and Wheaties)| but with more fiber and protein thanks to the legumes.
Power O’s| 65 cal| 1g fat| 2g fiber| 1g sugar| 3g protein per 1/2 cup (recommended serving size is 1 cup); Mighty Flakes| 110 cal| 1g fat| 2g fiber| 4g sugar| 4g protein per 1/2 cup. $4.99 for 10 oz. Power O’s and 12 oz. Mighty Flakes; available at Kroger| Sprouts| select Whole Foods and lovegrownfoods.com
Great Grains Protein Blend
Crunchtastic whole grain flakes (cracked wheat and whole kernel barley) sweetened with molasses and honey| topped off with pumpkin seeds| almonds and sunflower-seed-studded clusters make for one satisfying mix.
110 cal| 2.5g fat| 3g fiber| 4.5g sugar| 4g protein per 1/2 cup (recommended serving size is 1 cup). $4.99 for 13.5 oz.; available at grocery stores nationwide| including select Walmart stores
GrandyOats Real Granolas
Based in rural Maine| GrandyOats is committed to making real food. Translation: hearty| wholesome| organic| non-GMO| no refined sugar or artificial sweeteners| and lots of healthy fats from nuts| seeds| and coconut. Classic Granola and Swiss-Style Muesli are their two lowest sugar options| but the Mainely Maple is really tasty| too| and not outrageously high in sugar (9g for 1/2 cup).
Classic Granola| 260 cal| 13g fat| 5g fiber| 7g sugar| 7g protein per 1/2 cup; Swiss-Style Muesli| 210 cal| 5g fat| 6g fiber| 5g sugar| 8g protein per 1/2 cup. $6.99 for 13-15 oz.; $15.99 for 48-oz. value pack; available at grandyoats.com and select natural food stores
Back to the Roots Stoneground Organic Flakes
Back to the Roots founders/entrepreneurs Nik Arora and Alex Velez| the people who made it possible to grow organic mushrooms from a box of recycled plant-based soil| are getting into breakfast biz with an impressively minimalist (and tasty) 3-ingredient organic cereal made of non-GMO stoneground wheat from California| cane sugar from Florida and a pinch of sea salt from the San Francisco Bay.
80 cal| 0g fat| 2.5g fiber| 2.5g sugar| 3g protein per 1/2 cup (recommended serving size is 1 cup). $4.99 for 11 oz.; available in select Whole Foods and Costco stores| via Amazon Prime or at backtotheroots.com
Peace Cereal Maple Buckwheat Hemp Supergrains
This non-GMO brand delivers a protein- and fiber-packed cereal that tastes like a crunchy version of soul-satisfying buckwheat pancakes with organic maple syrup. Plus| they make a contribution to non-profit causes for every box of cereal sold.
120 cal| 2.5g fat| 2.5g fiber| 4g sugar| 4.5g protein per 1/2 cup (recommended serving size is 3/4 cup). $5.49 for 9 oz.; available at select grocery stores and PeaceCereal.com
ThinkThin Original Sprouted Grains Oatmeal
Get your fiber and protein on-the-go with this new whole grain hot cereal a mix of rolled oats| steel cut oats| sprouted buckwheat and sprouted quinoa with a hint of brown sugar.
200 cal| 3g fat| 5g fiber| 7g sugar| 10g protein per packet. $5.49 for box of 6 packets; available at select grocery stores| including Sprouts and Kroger Stores or thinkproducts.com
Pereg Quinoa Cocoa Pops
Cuckoo for cocoaïquinoa pops? A yummy alternative to puffed rice or corn cereal| these itty bitty gluten-free puffs are made by popping whole grain quinoa under high pressure and a bit of heat (like popcorn). With only three other ingredients sugar| cocoa powder and vanilla they’re super-chocolately| but a little light on fiber and protein| so enjoy in small portions with milk or Greek yogurt and fruit.
80 cal| 1g fat| 1g fiber| 5g sugar| 1g protein per 1/2 cup (recommended serving size is 25g| about 5/8 cup). $4.99 for 3.53 oz.; available at select grocery stores including Giant Foods and Fairway or pereg-gourmet.com
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