With more than 100 kinds of cereal in many grocery store aisles, choosing a healthier cereal can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. To help you make a good choice without spending hours in the cereal aisle, focus on three key nutrition areas: sugar, salt and fiber.
Go for Fiber
Aim to get fiber from whole grains—they should be listed as the first ingredient. Many cereals bump up fiber content with functional fibers (isolated, nondigestible carbohydrates) like inulin and oat fiber.
Look for: Dietary Fiber ≥ 3 g per serving
Some cereals are so low in calories you may be tempted to eat more. But if you double your portion, your breakfast can easily eat up a quarter or more of your daily allotment of sodium since many cereals hover around 200 mg of sodium per serving and milk adds about another 100 mg sodium per cup.
Look for: Sodium ≤ 240 mg per serving
Save on Sugar
Look for a cereal with sugar toward the end of the ingredient list (which means the cereal contains less sugar). Be aware that sugars go by many names—including corn syrup, molasses, agave nectar, fruit juice concentrate or evaporated cane juice—and cereals often contain more than one. Many cereals use dried fruit that’s been coated with sugar. Better to add fresh or unsweetened dried fruit for natural sweetness.
Look for: Sugar ≤ 7 g per serving