Navigating the Cereal Aisle

Make cereal a healthy breakfast by choosing the right one.


By Linzy Ziegelbaum


The cereal aisle of the supermarket can be overwhelming. With so many different brands and options, it is hard to know which products to choose. Cereal can be a healthy breakfast or snack, but if you don’t choose the right options, you can end up eating a day’s worth of sugar in your bowl.

One teaspoon of granulated sugar is equivalent to 4 grams of sugar. Therefore if a bowl of cereal contains 10 grams of added sugar, it is the equivalent of adding 2.5 teaspoons of sugar. Choosing the right cereal will help energize you for the day, while the wrong cereal will have you feeling hungry within an hour or two.

When choosing a cereal, look for a product with at least 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving. You should also look for a short and recognizable ingredient list, with a whole grain listed as the first ingredient.

While not necessary for everyone, cereals labeled as fortified with vitamins and minerals can help people meet their micronutrient needs. When a food is fortified with vitamins and minerals it means that vitamins or minerals have been added to a food that they were not initially in. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that many children and adolescents do not meet their micronutrient requirements and the fortification of ready to eat cereals with vitamins and minerals can help people meet their nutrition needs.

Bowls are often deceivingly large, and as a result people pour more than one serving of cereal at a time. Using a measuring cup to measure the serving size listed on the package can help you learn what a serving should look like. If you are not satisfied with what an actual serving of cereal looks like, there are ways to make your cereal more filling and more nutritious.

Adding fruit, nuts, and seeds to your cereal is a great way to increase the fiber, protein, and nutrients to help you feel fuller. Another great way to add more protein is to mix your cereal with plain Greek yogurt instead of milk. Greek yogurt provides ~23g of protein/8 oz compared with milk which provides ~8g of protein/8oz.

In addition to ready to eat cereals, the cereal aisles have many hot cereals to choose from too. Instead of choosing pre packaged oatmeals that can be high in sodium and sugar and low in protein and fiber, make your own hot cereals. Making your own hot cereals allows you add the toppings of your choice to change the flavors while controlling the sugar, sodium, fiber and protein. Oatmeal and quinoa both make great hot cereals and taste great sweetened with cinnamon and fruit.

Remember, always read the nutrition facts label and learn what portions should look like!

Linzy Ziegelbaum, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and owner of the private practice LNZnutrition LLC. She provides nutrition counseling and education to clients of all ages with many nutrition needs. Linzy enjoys sharing her love and nutrition expertise with others through counseling, her LNZnutrition blog and social media pages, including Facebook and Instagram.

Main Photo Credit: Elnur/; Second Photo Credit: wavebreakmedia/; Third Photo Credit: Daxiao Productions/

Tue Aug 14 00:48:24 UTC 2018

How do I access a past article I missed last week?

Mon Aug 20 04:10:09 UTC 2018

On my phone i go to the bottom corner where is says more. From there i choose health and fitness reads i think it says. Then scroll for the post you are looking for. I am not sure if you have to follow the blog or not to view past posts. Hope this helps

Mon Aug 20 11:01:37 UTC 2018

Thanks so much, Lynn Martin ! I hope to try it. I appreciate you responding! Hope you are well!!??👍🍃🌷

Tue Aug 28 02:54:47 UTC 2018

I’m not sure there is a healthy choice in this aisle. Ten years ago I almost dief from a flu shot. I was bedridden for years and hit 200lbs. I worked with a nutritionist who did not allow me to shop the aisles for food in the middle of the store, only the periphery, which in most grocery stores is fresh food, meat, produce and dairy. The rule was, “Nothing in a box, can, or in the freezer.” Although frozen spinach I hear healthier than fresh and a lot cheaper.

Tue Aug 28 03:01:15 UTC 2018

Hang in there, Kaplan Kaplan! Have a similar story....every step is progress!! I, we're, here to cheer you on!

Wed Aug 29 04:13:13 UTC 2018

Thanks MOT. When I first had my teeth extracted, I was grinding up Mom’s Meals. This week I had two fresh avocados and eggs and give or threw away all of my instant rice and potatoes. Any food you put in the blender looks like poop but it’s amazing how good fresh food tastes!

Wed Sep 05 12:39:25 UTC 2018

Thu Sep 13 11:05:34 UTC 2018

My steps won’t sync from my Apple Watch, how do I set it up to do that? It’s connected to my health app but when I go to the list of syncing options, steps isn’t one.

Fri Oct 12 07:44:58 UTC 2018

Thu Nov 29 11:21:19 UTC 2018

The devils isles!!!

Wed Jan 02 04:42:37 UTC 2019

No cereal for me .. #keto2019

Tue Feb 05 22:08:36 UTC 2019

Navigating? Don’t do it.