Clean Cereals

Clean Cereals


I went to my local supermarket to find the best options for cereal.  I think it’s very important to not only keep out the food additives, but also keep out the cereal loaded with sugar.  If your little one normally gets sugary, colorful cereal it might be hard to make the switch initial.  Here are some natural, healthy ideas to make cereal more fun:

  • Blend your milk with berries and a little vanilla extract.  That will help flavor the milk and give it some color!  Just a couple strawberries will turn a cup of milk pink, and a small handful of blueberries will turn milk blue.
  • Let them add fresh fruit, dried fruit, and sliced nuts for added taste, color, and nutrition.
  • Mixing cereal was my favorite thing to do as a kid…okay, even as an adult.  :)  Let them make their own mix – a handful of this, and a handful of that, and they’ve created their own masterpiece.
Cereal is an easy option for families in the morning, and even for dinner.  If I had a dollar for every time I had cereal for dinner as a child and in college, I would have a nice stash of cash!   Cereal isn’t necessarily a bad option for breakfast or dinner, just make sure you are buying the right one.

The cereals listed do not have artificial colors, or flavors, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial dyes, or the controversial preservative, BHT, in the packaging.  These are also are low in sugar, sodium, and have good nutritional value.   Here is why you want to avoid these additives:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup – All sugars should be limited in our diets, and high fructose corn syrup is no exception.  There is an on-going debate whether high fructose corn syrup is causing the obesity epidemic.  Princeton proved it may be the cause during a recent study.
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils (trans fat) – Trans Fats are responsible for raising the LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowering the HDL (good cholesterol), and are linked to diabetes, coronary disease, obesity, and others.  Don’t let zero trans fat fool you.  Food companies are aloud to market 0g of trans fat as long as there is less than .5g per serving.  That doesn’t mean they reduce the amount of trans fat to get below the .5g mark, they just change the serving size.
  • Caramel Color - There are four types of caramel coloring that can be added to food.  Two of the four are made with ammonia, and The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has asked the FDA to ban them.  The term ‘caramel color’ is very misleading when it’s actually ammonia, not caramel at all!  I avoid caramel coloring whenever I see it.
  • Artificial Food Dyes – Not only are artificial food dyes linked to behavioral problems, diabetes, obesity, and asthma, the three most used food dyes (red-40, yellow-5, and yellow-6) contain cancer causing substances.  Most food dyes are also petroleum based.  Get them out of your food!
  • BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) – A preservative that is added to keep fats from going rancid but is possibly linked to cancer.  This preservative is also common in snack bars, gum, make-up and lotions.  There have not been enough studies to show whether this preservative is safe, so be safe and keep it out of your food.

This is not a list of organic cereals.  This is a list of cereal you should be able to find in almost any store.  If you have an organic option available, it is likely a better solution, but I know it’s not always available or affordable.  I will continue to update this list.

  • Puffed Brown Rice – I know it may not sound appealing but we actually enjoy this type of cereal at home.  It has one ingredient and to jazz it up I’ll use vanilla coconut milk, and some fresh fruit.
  • Kashi Honey Toasted Oat Heart to Heart – this cereal is tasty, and slightly sweet.  I have seen it when traveling in small single serve boxes which is a nice option when traveling.  It is high in fiber with 5 grams per serving, a full days worth of vitamin B6, B12, E, and folic acid, 50% vitamin C, 25% vitamin A, and 3 grams of protein.  *Likely contains GMO’s.
  • Kashi 7 Whole Grain Flakes – this cereal is tasty, and full of good nutrition.  1 cup has 6 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein, and only 4 grams of sugar.  This cereal is certified non-GMO.
  • Kashi Autumn Wheat – another great option from Kashi.  This cereal is high in fiber and flavor!  Also certified as non-GMO.
  • Post Grape Nuts – just half a cup of this cereal has 7 grams of fiber, and 90% of your daily iron.  It is higher in sodium than the other choices.
  • Cheerios – I feel like this is the go-to for many families.  It does not have any controversial ingredients but it does have a long list of ingredients.  Only one gram of sugar and 100 calories per serving, and lots of folic acid and iron make this a good choice for the whole family.  *Cheerios likely contain GMO’s.  There are organic versions of Cheerios available in most supermarkets.

Some other cereals you may not find in every store but you can get online.  There are some organic and gluten-free options below:

  • Weetabix -  this cereal can be harder to find in most grocery stores.  I enjoy the taste of weetabix, it only has a couple ingredients, and is high in fiber.  You can have it cold, or warm!
  • Barbara’s Bakery Shredded Oats – This cereal has 5 grams of fiber per serving and also 6 grams of protein!
  • Udi’s Gluten-Free Granola - I have seen this product in most supermarkets by my house, so ask for it if your store doesn’t carry it.  They have a $1 off coupon available online to new customers.
  • Nature’s Path Organics – Nature’s Path offers a selection of organic cereals, and they have many gluten-free options.  I have tried several of their cereals and have always enjoyed them.  They offer free shipping through their website on orders over $39.

Cereal alternatives that are simple and fast!

  • Eggs – scrabbled eggs take just a couple minutes to make, and if you hard-boil some eggs at the beginning of the week they’ll stay good for several days.
  • Organic Plain Yogurt – yogurt is high in sugar, but if you are using greek yogurt you are getting lots of protein.  Yogurt is easy to add toppings to change the flavor.  Try adding fresh fruit, Barlean’s Omega Swirl, chia seeds, dried fruit, or nuts.
  • Oatmeal – try making overnight oats so it is ready in the morning!  I have two recipes, cinnamon raisin and blueberry.
  • Chia Puddings – similar to overnight oats, chia pudding takes about 5 minutes the night before to put together.  I have two recipes one for chocolate banana and pumpkin spice.
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22 comments… read them below or add one

BusyWorkingMama April 26, 2012 at 8:13 am

We stick to Cheerios and Quaker Oat Squares. I’ll have to check the ingredient list on the latter. We’re pretty anti-sweet in our taste preferences :)


greenplaterule April 26, 2012 at 10:12 am

Quaker Oat Squares (cinnamon) has BHT, Quaker Oat Squares (golden maple) has BHT and artificial food dyes. :(


Emi emery February 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Original Cheerios are GMO free now as of jan 2014


Lauren Cole April 26, 2012 at 8:24 am

As a “Cereal Addict” I really appreciate this post…and the one’s to come :) Thank you!


Saee April 26, 2012 at 9:57 am

All flavors of Post Great Grains:

My favorite hands down.


greenplaterule April 26, 2012 at 10:08 am

Hi Saee – These have BHT add to the packaging, so I left them off the list.


Carmen Hutchison May 13, 2012 at 7:12 am

I’m from Scotland and you can be weetabix almost everywhere its like our national cereal in the United Kingdom haha I love it with some strawberries and bananas over it. It’s such a great source of energy for the morning.


Jen August 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

I just found that out this week–that the quaker oat squares have BHT and yellow food dye. what the heck? i was so pissed about that!!


greenplaterule August 1, 2012 at 11:11 am

They sneak everything they can into food, it’s so disappointing and frustrating. :(


Sarah August 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Thanks for all the great info! Do you know of a good replacement for Chex cereals? I used to buy them around the holidays to make snack mixes, but since I have been educated at how much crap is in Chex cereals, I can’t buy them anymore.


greenplaterule August 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Hi Sarah. Here is a great organic option. If it’s not available to you at your store they do offer online orders, and you can find it in bulk on Amazon. Hope this helps you! I’m sure there are some other good options out there but this is the only one I know of. Have a great day!×12-5/dp/B005762ST8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1345918561&sr=8-4&keywords=nature%27s+path+shredded+cereal


Lea September 1, 2012 at 12:04 am

I am loving your site! I came across this article the other day. It describes how even the process of making most cereals could be not so great for us. I found it interesting and thought you might too.


Terri September 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I have found Natures Path cereal at Costco and love it! Love this site….great ideas for those of us who require a gluten free diet!


greenplaterule September 9, 2012 at 5:58 am

Thanks so much, Terri! Have a great day.


cyndi December 27, 2012 at 11:23 pm

cheerios don’t have GMOs in them??


greenplaterule December 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hi Cyndi — yes, cheerios are believed to have GMO’s. I just updated the post with that info. General Mills was recently urged to remove GMO’s after thousands of people recently flooded their Facebook page commenting. Let’s hope they take action!! Almost all cereals have GMO’s, unless labeled GMO-free, or 100% organic — and you will not see either of those often in the cereal aisle. Be sure you see the 100% organic label. If it’s only labeled Organic, that only requires 95% of the ingredients to be organic.


Becky December 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I’m so glad to have found your blog!!! What about EnviroKidz cereals by Nature’s Path? Thank you so much for making this transition so much easier!


greenplaterule December 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I’m glad you found the blog! My biggest concern with EnviroKidz cereal is they are all high in sugar, and low in nutrition. But, they are organic and gmo-free, so that’s a plus! I think there are better options out there. In general, cereals are heavily processed, high in sugar, and low in nutrition, so it’s not that they are any different than other cereals, but I think there are better options out there. With that said, my girls LOVE the Peanut Butter Panda Puffs. I let them mix a handful into oatmeal occasionally instead of having a large bowl. :)


Ashley March 20, 2013 at 8:44 pm

I found this site by accident and I am so glad I did. I have struggled with my weigh my entire life and now that I’m an adult I know how to make better choices. I am cutting processed and chemical rich foods out of my diet. I can not believe how much better I feel. Thank you for this post, I will be following you for now on :)


Sarah July 2, 2013 at 9:18 am

I have been trying the Ezekiel cereal. It takes a little getting used to; but it is worth it. I am full on 1/2 cup of cereal with Ezekiel, compared to eating at least 2 cups of the sugary cereals I used to buy. Even though eating healthier is more expensive, this will save me money in the long run, and my waistline. Thank you for your blog. I cannot wait to try some of your recipes. :)


Erika October 1, 2013 at 7:59 am

Kix, Berry Berry Kix, and Crispix do not have any of those things. I believe some of the Chex varieties are ok as well.


Vickie Sipila April 16, 2015 at 4:43 pm

I like cheerios but have been concerned about the tripotassium phosphate in them but they assure me it’s o.k.,I don’t see why they have to add it. What do you think about that?


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