The healthiest way to start the day isn’t usually a branded product, but might be any whole food from eggs, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes to whole grains like quinoa, oats, buckwheat, barley or rye.
But cereal manufacturers seem to be getting with the program, and there are now loads of healthy breakfast cereals on the market, low in sugar and full of whole grains that support the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Comparing all the nutrition information panels is a tedious task so, to save you time trawling the cereal aisle, I’ve chosen 17 that get the Nutrition Coach stamp of approval.
The selection criteria
My top picks need to contain:
- Mostly whole grains
- Less than 10% sugar
- More than 7% dietary fibre
- A good fibre to sugar ratio for health and sustained energy – for example, Uncle Tobys Vitabrits have 31.5 times more fibre than sugar, whereas Kellogg’s Five Wholegrain Muesli has 1.2 times more fibre than sugar. The higher number the better, as this means that the the cereal will provide you with sustained energy and will be better for your gut and overall health.
- Less than 400mg sodium per 100g
Healthy brands of cereal
|Brand||Product||Energy (kj/100g)||Sugar (g/100g)||Dietary Fibre (g/100g)||Fibre:sugar ratio (the higher the better)||Sodium (mg/100g)||Comment|
|Uncle Tobys||Shredded Wheat||1520||0.7||12.2||17.4||21|
|Food for Health||Simply Fibre Muesli||1690||1.8||18.5||10.3||14|
|Carman’s||No Added Sugar Cashew & Coconut Muesli||1840||1.8||12||6.7||6|
|Carman’s||Goodness & Grains Low Sugar Almond & Coconut Flakes||1590||3||18.9||6.3||121||Added iron and vitamins B3, B2 and E|
|Sunsol||10+ Natural Muesli||1790||2||11.9||6||21||A good mix of grains, seeds and nuts|
|Freedom Foods||Barley+ Porridge Traditional||1490||3.4||19.4||5.7||7||High in beta-glucans|
|Sanitarium||Weet-Bix Kids||1480||2.9||11||3.8||45||Added B vitamins, calcium and iron|
|Carman’s||Low Sugar Granola Raspberry & Coconut||1670||4.8||17.2||3.6||13||Contains prebiotic chicory fibre|
|Woolworths Essentials||Processed Bran Sticks||1340||9.7||33.9||3.5||290||Cheap (under $2 for 500g)|
|Sanitarium||Weet-Bix||1490||3.3||11||3.3||270||Added B vitamins and iron|
5 Grains & Hazelnut
|1560||4||10.6||2.7||10||Added B vitamins and iron and inulin|
|Jordans||Low Sugar Granola Almond & Hazelnut||1880||2.9||7.9||2.7||10||Contains oats, barley and prebiotic chicory root fibre|
|Food for Health||Fruit Free Clusters Chia and Cinnamon||1750||6.9||9.6||1.4||32||Gluten free, fructose free|
|Be Natural||Whole Grain Mini Bites Original||1470||8.7||11.9||1.4||5||Gluten free, fructose free|
|Kellogg’s||Five Wholegrain Muesli||1590||9.1||10.8||1.2||5|
Kellogg’s Guardian, Kellogg’s All-Bran Wheat Flakes, Woolworths High Fibre Bran and Uncle Toby’s BranPlus didn’t meet the selection criteria because they contain more than 10% sugar, but they are still good choices due to their high fibre content. Look out for products with more fibre than sugar for sustained energy, better gut health and easier weight management.
Tips for kids
- Pull two or three healthy choices off the shelf and let your child decide which one you should buy. This gives them choice within your boundaries
- Top with fruit instead of honey
- For kids who won’t eat meat, try a cereal that is fortified with iron and top with a fruit high in vitamin C like strawberries to help absorb the iron.