Food Showdown: Battle of the Breakfast Cereals

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When I was growing up, my parents kept our pantry stocked with at least five different kinds of cereal, and I spent many a Sunday morning eating it out of a bowl the size of my head while reading the comics. I got smarter about portion control in college, but cereal remained my favorite sweet and crunchy breakfast and late-night studying snack. I would try to gravitate toward healthier, whole-grain varieties, and two of my favorite old standbys were Kashi GoLean Crunch and Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins. These seemed to be good choices, as both of them boasted all-natural ingredients and whole grains. However, despite the health claims that these two cereal boxes tout, both of them still contain some sugar—and one contains much less than the other. Out of these two seemingly healthful cereals, which one is the ultimate low-sugar winner?

The Winner: Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins!


(Source: Flickr)
Despite the healthy-sounding name of the cereal, just one serving of Kashi GoLean Crunch contains 13 grams of sugar—that's over three teaspoons! The Peanut Butter Puffins come out on top with just 6 grams of sugar per serving. However, Kashi GoLean Crunch does have some redeeming qualities: it has 9 grams of protein and 8 grams of dietary fiber, whereas the Puffins only contain 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. For a cereal with maximum protein and fiber with just a touch of sweetness, try Kashi GoLean Original (6 grams of sugar, 13 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fiber per serving). For a high-fiber choice with virtually no sugar, dig into a bowl of plain Shredded Wheat (0.5 to 1 gram of sugar per serving and 6 grams of fiber, depending on the variety).
What's your favorite healthy cereal?

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BLAZE4EVER 10/15/2019
I adore cereal and milk. Usually some variety of Cheerios. I know it’s not the healthiest, but I find it hard to resist it. Maybe I’ll switch to the Peanut Butter Puffins. Report
KHALIA2 4/17/2019
I love oatmeal with peaches and cream. Report
For a cold cereal, I realize now in my 50s it's Overnight Oats using Old-fashioned oats. But if I had to pick a boxed cereal that I like, I am very fond of Raisin Bran. I really doubt it's all that healthy , but I do like it. I need to watch my weight and have health problems, so my new loyalty is the oats, hot or cold. Cheerios is TOO salty to consider at all. I get tempted by all the "new" flavors though --Maple and Chocolate_Peanut Butter. I have become resistant to trying them, thank goodness! Report
XREPHA 12/1/2018
Oatmeal is the best one chilly Michigan morning. Report
I go with Fiber One basic with 60 calories, low in sugar and high in fiber. Also like Quaker's high fiber oatmeal. Report
I enjoy Kroger bran flakes or Post shredded wheat with bran. I fill a 3/4 cup measure not quite full and add a tablespoon of Naked Bear granola on top for crunch. Some times I add an extra small banana Report
Back when I was responsible for feeding my kids, the only cereals allowed in the house were shredded wheat, bran flakes, cheerios, and kix. Then kix started adding sugar. It's almost criminal what is allowed to be labeled as cereal. Most of them should be in the candy aisle. Report
I eat Kroger's Bran Flakes. Being diabetic, I have to make every carbohydrate count. Bran Flakes has only five grams of sugar and offers five grams of fiber, three grams of protein, and eighteen grams of whole grains. Report
2 Slices of Arnolds Steel cut oats Bread with 1 pat of butter divided. Report
I enjoy cereal every morning, with a variety of choices - multigrain cheerios with ancient grains, Fibre 1 Clusters, kelloggs raisin bran and a couple others I buy when on special. Report
I stick to Cheerios (plain) as much as I like the Honey Nut Cheerios- I like the fact that I can add fruit- strawberries, bananas or blueberries to give it that extra oomph. So yup Cheerios for me! Report
Giant Eagle (grocery store in my area) makes a very nice blueberry granola with flaxseeds. A little high in calories but very filling and very tasty, with almond milk. Report
Steel cut oats with frozen sugar free berries. I can't do milk and alternatives just don't cut it with me. Report
Quaker Oats Fiber Oatmeal 10 grams of fiber, 17 net carbs. I have this for dinner 6pm, it lasts all night long. No snacks! I don't wake up in the middle of the night hungry. The down fall is it's sweetened @ 160 calories. Report
I stock up on American bought Grapenuts. For some reason, the Canadian ones are a different recipe and aren't as delicious. The box looks the same. Report
cheerios, plain shredded wheat, all bran, corn flakes and special K with 1/2 cup of fresh fruit and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk. very tasty Report
A1/2 cup serving of All Bran (original) cereal and milk, Sometimes I put my own raisins in because usually the ones in cereal are tossed with sugar so they don't stick together. May add walnuts for the good fat if I need it for the day. I forgot to say I just eat cereal for my evening snack usually 3-4 hours before bed, not for breakfast. Report
Plain old regular Cheerios are the BEST!!!
Hi all!
I enjoy pretty much all the gluten free chex cereals. Either as breakfast or as a snack, when I'm going out. Report
Try regular Shredded Wheat . It tastes great and it's made of whole grains. Report
I was buying Kashi cereals, also, but found that they are very high in sugar (carbs), and were about 6 points plus value with fat free milk on Weight Watchers. I like to save my points for the later part of the day, so I started buying Special K with berries. A serving of that with fat free milk and some berries on top are just 4 points plus and it's yummy! Report
A few things...

One, to the person that said cereal is expensive. We don't buy cereal if it costs more than .50 cents a box any more. Coupons + Sales happen about every 3-4 weeks for most brands..but not all.

Second, cereal (pre-packaged) does not really fill me...and is normally high in sugar so I just avoid it.

I do understand that my breakfast only rates a C+ from a health perspective but I almost always have 1 FiberOne / FiberPlus bar and one Greek Yogurt. 140x2 = 280 calories for breakfast and I am full to boot.

I am almost never hungry before Lunch time. The most important thing for ME is to make sure when I sit down to eat I am not overly hungry or I can and will over eat. So I avoid that at all costs..even if I occasionally have to eat snacks in between meals.

So I am fairly Fiber Bar / One Greek Yogurt. I do sometimes mix it up with Oatmeal and Fruit etc..but to be honest I almost always feel hungrier when I do mix it up.

For whatever reason FIber bar + Greek Yogurt is my go to breakfast for feeling full. There are healthier breakfasts out there but this works for me.

My favorite cereal? All of them!!!

I think there should be a Baskin & Robbins 31 Flavors Cereal! I have been known to binge on boxes of the stuff at a, the only cereal I eat nowadays is oatmeal.

I just am unable to handle refined carbohydrates - breakfast cereals are made of them...wheat is a huge "no,no" for me. The addictive cycle rages on and on...

The simplest thing for me is to just stay away from them...'cuz I can't just eat one!

I've gotten hooked on Giada DeLaurentis' oatmeal recipe which includes 1/2 c old fashioned oats cooked with water in the microwave. To the cooked oatmeal, add 1T EVOO and a little sea salt to taste. It's an acquired taste but once you get it ... delicious! Report
I alternate breakfasts with Kashi GoLean Original, then oatmeal (w/ a few walnuts in it), and the third day I eat an egg. I've been eating GoLean Original for a decade or so; and if you're lucky enough to get HEB Mootopia milk, its a great, healthy combination. Report
I like the Fiber One 80 Calorie Honey Squares cereal. It's only 80 calories per serving, 3 grams of sugar and 10 grams of fiber. I have that with skim milk and a banana, but on days when I do have 2 servings (160 cal) it may cause some other side effects because of the fiber, however I really like this cereal. Report
I don't have cereal on a daily basis but when I do, it varies.

Right now I'm enjoying a mixture of Uncle Sam original cereal (7g protein, 1g sugar & 10g fiber) and Nature's Path optimum banana almond cereal (10g protein, 9g sugar & 5g fiber).
I love adding cinnamon to my cereal (whether hot or cold) & then top it off with berries : ) ! Report
Special K with Strawberries Report
My favorite Cereal is Special K Protein plus. It has 5 fibers 10 proteins and only 2 sugars. Only 100 calories for 1 serving (only 3/4 c - but it's filling to me). This is of course before the milk. I use nonfat milk. Sometimes I add a fresh sliced strawberry to it. Yum! After the milk and the strawberry, I'm only sitting at 150 calories. Report
I've usually bought cereal based on a combination of price and being similar to granola, e.g., mostly oat-based with some fruit and nuts. Since starting SP, I've noticed that some of the granola that I've liked are around 300-350 calories for a cup of cereal, which is less than I used to eat. So now I'll be using somewhat different criteria. I used to love Wheatabix when we lived in Kenya. I think I'll be looking into Shredded Wheat and Special K.

I like the Kashi GoLean, but it gives me terrible gas. [Embarrassment!] Report
Grapenuts in plain yogurt with raspberries and pecans and a bit of brown sugar added.

For oatmeal, I hated it until I found real steel cut oats--takes a long time to cook but tastes great and has texture, nothing like quick oats. Also good to serve savory, cooked with broth and with veggies and cheese added. Report
20 Frosted mini-wheat biscuits per morning with !/2 cup skim milk and a banana.....consistent and dull....but....I LIKE IT Report
I'm not sure how healthy it is, but I love chocolate cheerios with almond milk. The chocolate colors the milk and the milk is already a bit denser than regular skim milk.

Also, Quaker Oatmeal Squares are great too. Report
Cheerios, Frosted mini- wheats or oatmeal! Report
Metamucil! Ha ha! I love McCann's Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish O atmeal. Tried it just yesterday with diced fresh apple and a bit of brown sugar, and it was tasty. I can't eat it without some kind of sweetener...sad as it sounds. I do have to add here that Metamucil has been a wonderful addition to my routine. Can't say enough about how much better I feel since incorporating it!
I don't really do cereal anymore - for one, it's pretty expensive! And I always find myself wracked with indecision in the cereal aisle, staring at All.Those.Boxes and trying to figure out what I want to eat first thing in the morning for the next week or so. Too much pressure in the grocery store :)

Lately I've been eating cooked barley with a touch of honey and some dried fruit, plus a steamed vegetable (this week it's carrots) and a hard boiled egg. It's yummy!

(To be perfectly honest, though, I LOVE Frosted Mini Wheats right out of the box...) Report
Post Raisin Bran and Bob's Red Mill Brown Rice Farina Report
Cheerios. Oatmeal on the weekends. I've got to try those PB Puffins since you all give them such a good review. Report
Trader Joe's bran flakes do it for me. I can add a lot to them, and getting 40% of my daily recommended fibre is huge. Report
I like Trader Joes organic Corn Flakes. I use one cup, put 5 half walnuts in it. I use two tsb. of honey. Great tasty and filling breakfast. Report
I've always been a cereal fanatic -- it's been my go-to breakfast all my life. My current favorite is the Kashi Island Vanilla. It is lower in sugar than other sweetened shredded wheats I've tried, though at 9 g per serving still not super-low. But the Island Vanilla is high fiber and free of additives and preservatives. I usually eat about 2/3 of a serving, with a small side of almonds for fat and additional protein and fiber, and find it very satisfying. Report
I have been making my very own granola since 2007 (before I joined Spark) and that's what I eat every morning with a half cup of Greek yogurt. It's nutritious, delicious, food additive free, it keeps well, it's not too sweet (only a half cup of honey in a recipe that makes 31 half cup servings) and the 8g of fat that is in it comes from nuts and flax and canola oil - all good stuff. There is also 9g of protein in it and 6g of fiber.
Check it out! I can't post html here so can not share the link to the recipe, but if you do a search at Spark recipes for Hippi Granola, Submitted by: HIPPICHICK1, you'll find it. Report
I wish I could stomach oat meal. But had to eat too much of it as a child. No matter how I doctor it up, it's horrible . I do like hot Cream of Wheat in the cold weather.
Have Kellogg's Crunchy Nut, and Cheerios new Peanut Flavored cereals.
I remember a recipe that made oatmeal out of plain yogurt and oatmeal--mix the two together with fresh fruit and allow it to sit for a few minutes--it is good, very good for you, and could not be easier. Report
I love the Cheerios Multigrain Peanut Butter Cereal, it has become
my new Favorite Cereal. it only has under 10 grams of sugar. Report
Plain oatmeal with nuts and banana Report
I love oatmeal was raised on it. I use steel cut and I dress it up with fruit, flax seed cinn, walnuts. Makes a good healthy breakfast. Report
I have been enjoying savory oatmeal, sometimes with a poached egg, lately. As it becomes warmer, overnight oatmeal will be my choice often. I tend to avoid sugar as it can bother my arthritis.
Dianne Report
I just make my own sugar-free musli and mix it in with some nonfat Greek yogurt, but when I indulge, I go for Peanut Butter Pandas. I imagine they're no better than the Puffins, but I think they taste better. I used to go straight for the Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch--anything PB makes me happy. I'm always on the lookout for tasty sugar-free cereals for my boyfriend, though, but the best compromise I've found for him was the Kashi Go Lean. Report