Parental Tips

Tiny Tummies, Big Choices: Parent’s Guide to Healthy Cereal Choices for Kids

Are you sick and tired of the daily breakfast battle? Want your little ones to eat something even remotely healthy as the first meal of the day?

We hear you.

Cereal has long been given a bad rap, villainized because it tends to be loaded with sugar. However, when you choose the right cereal, it can actually provide some actual, lasting nutrition for your mini-me.

Say goodbye to the days of settling for sugary goodness that leaves your kids on a sugar high. These cereals are not only yummy enough to have your kiddos asking for seconds but also packed with the nutrients they need to fuel their little bodies and minds. And trust us—you won’t have to fight them to eat it.

Grab a spoon, and let’s eat some healthy cereal for kids!


Cereals: Pros and Cons for Kids

kids cereal

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Let’s be real—breakfast can be a pain. Cereal is a speedy option, requiring little prep work and minimal clean-up. Pour some milk, throw in some cereal, and you’re done. It’s especially handy for busy mornings when you’re short on time.

Many cereals are enriched with vitamins and minerals that are essential for your growing child. Iron, calcium, and vitamin D are often included in the mix. Iron is vital for making red blood cells and carrying oxygen around the body, while calcium and vitamin D are essential for building strong bones and teeth.

There are so many different types of cereals available, from whole-grain options to fruity loops. Choosing cereal for breakfast means that you can give your kids a wide variety of options to choose from, and mix it up for them as well.

And, of course, cereal is often an affordable option for breakfast. Even better if you can buy them in bulk! You can also supplement cereal with sliced fruits like bananas to make the breakfast much healthier.

As for the downsides?

  1. Sadly, sugary cereals abound, and they often have colorful packaging and cartoon mascots that attract children. Chocolate puffs and frosted flakes might taste great, but they’re usually high in sugar, which can lead to increased weight gain, and can cause tooth decay.
  2. Also, the processing of most cereals strips the grains of the beneficial fiber and nutrients present. You’ll want to choose whole-grain cereal to make sure your child’s needs are met.
  3. Without enough fiber, cereals fail to be very filling. Your child will likely be hungry again soon after eating, causing them to snack throughout the morning—leading to overeating.
  4. And finally, most cereals lack protein, which is a crucial micronutrient needed for your child’s growth and development. While milk can be added to cereal to boost its protein content, it’s essential to include other protein-rich foods in the morning meal.

How to Choose a Healthy Cereal

healthiest cereal for kids

Ground Picture/

With so many cereal options on the market, it can be overwhelming to sift through them all and find one that is actually good for you and your loved ones.

  1. First and foremost, you want to pay attention to the ingredients in the cereal. Don’t be fooled by flashy marketing and pretty packaging—take the time to read the nutrition label and understand what you’re putting into your body.
  2. Look for cereals that are made with whole grain ingredients, such as whole wheat, rolled oats, or barley. These grains contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for a healthy diet.
  3. When it comes to sugar, less is definitely more. Many cereals on the market today are loaded with added sugars and artificial sweeteners, which provide no real nutritional value and can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and other health issues.
  4. Try to choose cereals that have 5g of sugar or less per serving—or better yet, ditch the added sugars altogether and opt for unsweetened cereals like plain oatmeal or bran flakes.
  5. It’s also important to pay attention to the serving size listed on the nutrition label. A cereal might seem healthy at first glance, but if the serving size is much smaller than what you would normally eat, you could end up consuming more calories and sugar than you bargained for. Be mindful of portion sizes, and make sure to measure out your cereal with a measuring cup or kitchen scale.
  6. Another thing to consider is the amount of protein in the cereal. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles, and it also helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. Look for cereals that contain at least five to ten grams of protein per serving. Some good sources of protein include nuts, seeds, and nut butters, which can be added to cereal for an extra boost.

What Are the Best Healthy Cereals for Kids?

As you can see, not all cereals are created equal. You want to make sure you’re choosing ones that are low in sugar, high in fiber, and made with good, organic grains. Lucky for you, we’ve done the research and put together a list of the best cereal for kids.


best cereal for kids

Let’s start with the classics—Cheerios. These little O’s are made from whole grain oats, making them high in fiber and low in sugar. Plus, they’re gluten-free, so they’re a great option for kids with gluten sensitivities. You can grab a box at your local grocery store or order them online here.

Barbara’s Puffins

toddler cereal


If your kids are fans of sweetened cereals, try Barbara’s Puffins. These little puffs are made from whole wheat and barley, and have only 5 grams of sugar per serving. Plus, they come in fun flavors like cinnamon and peanut butter. You can find them at most grocery stores or buy them online here.

Kashi’s Heart to Heart

healthy kids cereal


Looking for something a little more grown-up? Kashi’s Heart to Heart cereal is made from a blend of organic whole grains, including hard red wheat, oats, and barley. It’s low in sugar, high in fiber, and has a delicious, nutty flavor. You can buy it at most grocery stores or order it online here.

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Nature’s Path Granola

cereal for toddlers


If your kids are fans of granola bars, they might like Nature’s Path granola. Their Honey Almond variety is made from organic whole grains, including oats, brown rice, and wheat. It’s sweetened with honey and has a satisfying crunch. You can find it at most grocery stores or order it online here.

Kashi GoLean Crunch

healthy cereal for toddlers


Fat is an essential component of a healthy diet, but not all fats are created equal. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the “good” fats that promote heart health and brain development. Saturated and trans fats, on the other hand, can increase cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease.

Kashi GoLean Crunch is a cereal that contains 6g of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats per serving. It’s also high in protein and fiber, making it a great way to start the day. This cereal comes in a variety of flavors, including honey almond flax and vanilla almond.

You can find it online here.

General Mills Chex Cereal

healthy cereals for kids


Maybe your kids like a little more variety in their breakfast routine. In that case, try General Mills’ Chex Cereal, made from whole grain rice. It’s gluten-free, low in sugar, and comes in fun flavors like chocolate, peanut butter, blueberry, and honey nut. You can find it at most grocery stores or order it online here.

Gerber Organic Oatmeal Cereal

high fiber cereal for kids


When it comes to feeding little ones, it’s important to choose cereals that are age-appropriate and easy to digest. Gerber Organic Oatmeal Cereal is a great choice for babies starting solid foods. It’s made with organic whole-grain oats and is easily mixed with breast milk or formula.

FiberOne Original

healthiest kids cereal


One great option for a low-sugar cereal is Fiber One Original. With only 0g of added sugar and 14g of fiber per serving, this cereal will keep your child feeling full throughout the morning. Plus, it’s made with whole-grain wheat, making it a high-quality source of fiber.

You can buy some online here.

Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal

what cereals are good for a child


Last but not least, we can’t forget about oatmeal. Bob’s Red Mill makes a delicious organic oatmeal that’s perfect for kids. It’s high in fiber, low in sugar, and can be customized with all sorts of toppings—like fresh fruit, nuts, or honey. You can find it at most grocery stores or order it online here.

How We Chose the Healthiest Cereals for Our Roundup

best cereals for kids

LightField Studios/

Here’s how we chose the top picks for our healthiest cereal roundup:

  • Low Sugar: Too much sugar can lead to weight gain, tooth decay, and even diabetes. That’s why we aimed for cereals with no more than 8 grams of sugar per serving.
  • High Fiber: Fiber is important for digestive health, and it also helps keep your child feeling full until lunchtime. Look for cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Organic: Organic cereals are free from harmful pesticides and genetically modified ingredients. Plus, supporting organic farming helps protect the environment.
  • Grains: Whole grains are packed with vitamins and minerals and help regulate blood sugar levels. Look for cereals made with at least 50% whole grains.
  • Toddler and Baby-Friendly: It can be tough to find cereals that are appropriate for little ones. Look for cereals that are fortified with iron and other vitamins and minerals.
  • Free Of: Some children have food allergies or sensitivities that require them to avoid certain ingredients. Whether it’s gluten, dairy, or nuts, there are plenty of cereals out there that are free from common allergens.

Key Takeaways

cereals for toddlers

Dmytro Zinkevych/

When it comes to choosing a healthy cereal for your child or toddler, there are plenty of options available that are low in sugar, high in fiber, and made with organic grains.

And remember, just because a specific cereal is marketed towards children doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthy—always be sure to check the nutrition label and ingredient list for added sugars and artificial additives.

When you prioritize healthy cereal choices in your household, you’re getting your child up for a lifetime of good eating habits. Good nutrition can fuel their growing bodies and minds, and promote healthy habits that will stick with them into adulthood.

So don’t be afraid to get creative with different toppings and mix-ins to make breakfast fun and exciting—the possibilities are endless!


healthy cereal for kids


Which cereal is the healthiest for kids?

Look for cereals that are high in fiber, low in sugar, and made with whole grains. Some great options include Barbara’s Puffins, Kashi Whole Wheat Biscuits, and General Mills Cheerios.

Are Cheerios good for kids?

Not only are Cheerios low in sugar, but they are also made with whole-grain oats, which provide fiber and important nutrients like iron and vitamin B. Plus, they’re an excellent finger food as a cereal for toddlers learning to self-feed.

What cereals are low in sugar for kids?

Always check the nutrition label and aim for options with less than 6 grams of sugar per serving. Some tasty options that fit the bill include Kellogg’s Special K Original, Rice Krispies, and Shredded Wheat.

The picture on the front page: Jiri Hera/

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