Rise and Shine: The Healthiest Cereals

Brian Klutch/Fitness MagazineBy Samantha Shelton

If your morning meal can be best described as "Pour, eat, repeat," it's time to shake up your wake-up. But venturing into the cereal aisle, where every box seems to be plastered with confusing claims that make even the biggest nutritional dud seem like a winner, is enough to make you want to skip breakfast. To the rescue: eight cereals that really belong in your bowl. Our nutritionists verified that each one contains at least 3 grams of fiber, no more than 13 grams of sugar (some of which comes from dried fruit), and less than 230 calories per serving, while our testers ensured that they tasted great.

Related: Healthy Food Awards: The Best Greek Yogurts

What Makes a Winner
Companies submitted nearly 40 new cereals to FITNESS. Our experts -- Anar Allidina, RD, a dietitian in private practice in Toronto; Keri Gans, RD. the author of The Small Change Diet; and Stephanie Middleberg, RD, the founder of Middleberg Nutrition in New York City -- helped us determine which ones should move on to the next round. Those finalists were sampled and voted on by FITNESS staffers.

Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds

"These are way too delicious to be healthy," one staffer declared. The nutrition facts prove otherwise: One bowl delivers close to half the fiber you need in a day. (180 calories per cup)

Post Grape-Nuts Fit Cranberry Vanilla

Pair this blend of barley and oats with a small carton of nonfat Greek yogurt -- our favorite way to eat it -- for 23 grams of power-you-up protein. (220 calories per 2/3 cup)

Three Sisters Multigrain Cinnamon
Many cereals contain almost 200 milligrams of sodium per serving. But these frosted squares, which are "just the right size for snacking," have only 10, the least of any cereal we tested. (190 calories per cup)

Health Valley Organic Oat Bran Flakes

This "hearty, filling" cereal has nearly a third less sugar than the frosted-cornflake version. (190 calories per cup.)

Related: The Best of the Crunch: Guilt-Free Snacks

Bear Naked Fit Autumn Blend
Between the dried apples and lightly salted pumpkin seeds, "this tastes like fall in a bowl -- and I want to eat it year-round," one staffer said. Eight kinds of whole grains make that totally okay. (210 calories per cup)

Van's Natural Foods Cinnamon Heaven
Many gluten-free cereals are low in fiber, but this one has five grams of the filling nutrient. Plus, the subtle cinnamon flavor is so good, it's "sinful." (120 calories per 3/4 cup)

Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Crunch Brown Sugar

These are sweet enough to satisfy an afternoon sugar craving, but not too sugary to eat for breakfast. And tester loved the texture: "They stayed crunchy in milk to the last spoonful," one said. (200 calories per cup)

Related: Souper Stars: 7 Healthy Soups from the Store

Kashi Blackberry Hills
This six-ingredient cereal drew raves for its big freeze-dried berries and crispy flakes. "You could hear me eating this three cubicles away!" a staffer said. (180 calories per cup)

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