How to choose a healthy breakfast cereal

Clients tell me it can be stressful & confusing when it comes to buying breakfast cereals – here’s how to make a better choice;


Why Eat Breakfast:

Breakfast is why I get out of bed in the morning!  Eating cereal can be an easy and inexpensive way to get plenty of fibre, protein and calcium into your diet.  Plus breakfast cereals are often fortified with iron and B vitamins, helping you get all the nutrients you need.  Encouraging you to go for the wholegrain varieties will also help to keep you fuller for longer as energy from wholegrains is released more slowly.


The Key is Learning to Read the Label:

In order to make healthier choices when it comes to breakfast cereals, we MUST become better at reading labels.  As a rule of thumb aim to buy a cereal which has <10g sugar per 100g and <3g fat per 100g you’re doing pretty good.

All measures per 100g



A healthier choice


OK Most of the time


Eat just occasionally

Sugars 5g or less 5.1 – 15g More than 15g
Fat 3g or less 3.1g – 20g More than 20g
Saturates 1.5g or less 1.6g – 5g More than 5g
Salt 0.3g or less 0.31g – 1.5g More than 1.5g

 How Much Fibre?

Again rule of thumb, aim for >6g fibre / 100g and the more fibre the better as guidelines recommend that as a nation we should be eating 20 – 30g fibre per day and most of us aren’t coming close to this.

Sugar?…but from where?

Yes try to go for a breakfast cereal that has less than 10g of sugar per 100g and that’s the best rule of thumb to go by.  Don’t be fooled by the addition of table sugar / refined sugar alternatives like honey or agave nectar – at the end of the day these are all added sugar.  There is no getting away from the fact that sugar is sugar no matter what type is added.

Be Mindful of Your Portion Size:

It’s very easy to overeat breakfast cereal because it tastes so good!  Aim for a portion size of 30g and you can always add chopped fruit to bulk it up a bit without adding too many extra calories.

What About Granola:

Yummy yes it is but…it’s basically sugar and fat as often granola will be baked in oil and honey.  Yes it’s true there will often we plenty of goodness in there like dried fruit, seeds, nuts, oats but NEVER eat a whole bowl of granola.  I would recommend having one tablespoon on top of your 30g cereal just to add a bit of texture and crunch.

Do I Need to go Gluten Free?

Unless you need to be avoiding gluten don’t!  Gluten free cereals tend to be lower in fibre and and cost a bit more to buy. It’s really not a recommendation unless you have to.

What About Breakfast Bars?

I wouldn’t be an advocate of breakfast bars as generally I feel they are a marketing ploy and certainly wouldn’t recommend them on a daily basis due to their higher refined sugar content and low protein content as well as not really containing that much fibre.  However, if you’re in a rush they have their place, better than skipping breakfast altogether.  If there’s more than five ingredients in the list or if there’s any you don’t recognise…I’d be a bit wary!

So Which Breakfast Cereals to Go For:

Definitely in the top 5 cereals when it comes to adhering to the label:

  • Shredded Wheat
  • Weetabix
  • All Bran
  • Porridge
  • Shreddies