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Healthy, Keto Friendly Breakfast Cereal Options & Brands

Carina Wolff
14 - 16 MIN.


Are you looking for healthy, keto friendly breakfast cereal? At HighKey, our protein cereals are $1.50 per serving, gluten free and grain free! 0 Net Carbs* - 10 Grams Protein - 90 Calories

IN THIS ARTICLE
  • Healthy Cereal Options & Brands
  • What Are the Top 5 Mainstream Healthy Cereal Brands?
  • What Cereals Are Good for A Keto Diet?
  • What Are The Lowest Carb Cereals?

Can You Eat Cereal On A Keto Diet?

02-25-2020


You can’t eat cereal on keto… right? Wrong – unless, of course, you’re planning to run to the store to buy a box of Lucky Charms, as they most certainly fall into the most unhealthy cereal category and they are definitely not keto-friendly.

With so many different cereals on the shelves being marketed and labeled as “healthy”, it’s difficult to know what you can eat if you love cereal and follow the keto diet. Many new keto dieters  throw up their hands and say it cannot be done – but it can, and today we’re going to guide you through some of the cereals that might be considered healthier and those you can and can’t eat on keto.

healthy, keto friendly cereal

Healthy Cereal vs Low Carb and Keto Friendly – What’s the Difference?

By definition the term “healthy” characterizes a food as having “healthy” levels of particular nutrients like certain vitamins, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. However the word is loosely used to describe a wide variety of products and the official definition has been under scrutiny for years.  For the purpose of our discussion here, while a cereal might be considered a healthy breakfast cereal, that does not necessarily mean it is keto-friendly. Many cereals rely on a base of whole grains (in other words, carbs) which are good for our heart and digestive health, but are not considered keto-friendly. Also, whether the cereal companies want to admit it or not, many labeled as “healthy” are still loaded with sugar to make the cereals more palatable.

Low carb and keto-friendly healthy cereal options  don’t contain whole wheats and grains to comprise the base of their cereal, instead, they use seeds and nuts to make a “cereal” that is both filling and low carb. These low carb cereals don’t rely on sugar to make their cereal taste good, but instead use keto-friendly sweeteners and ingredients such as nuts to provide flavor and an added crunch

So, Are Cereals That Are Healthy Also Keto-Friendly?

As discussed, not necessarily.  However, keto-friendly cereals usually are healthy, because they don’t contain added  sugar and they rely on natural flavorings, nuts, and seeds which contain healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, and satisfy our appetites.

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Healthy Cereal Options & Brands

So now we know that not all healthy cereals are keto (or even as healthy as they claim), let’s take a look at some of the cereal brands and options that are out there and see if they  really are healthy.

What’s the Healthiest Cereal You Can Eat?  

If you’re not a keto dieter, one of the healthiest cereals you can eat is plain, old fashioned oats. Oatmeal has long been a favorite for a nutrient and fiber rich breakfast staple and is often recommended as part of a balanced diet and weight loss plan, but it’s not suitable if you are following a keto diet.

If you are following keto, a great healthy keto cereal option is  DIY muesli, which is similar to granola but it’s typically  eaten loose in milk, rather than in little clusters and is consumed raw. Many muesli recipes include oats, but you can replace  oats with nuts and seeds, like flaked almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sprinkle in a little unsweetened coconut  for added taste and texture..

What Are The Top Mainstream Healthy Cereal Brands?  

healthy, keto friendly breakfast cereals cheerios

  • Cheerios - Relative to some other cereals, yes. Cheerios contain whole grain oats, which are great for heart health and slow-release energy but they also contain modified corn starch, added sugar, and wheat starch. They also contain Vitamin E, but it is  added to preserve freshness. Cheerios are low in saturated fat, cholesterol-free, and are relatively low sugar – less than 8g per cup, for the standard variety.
    So, while they are relatively healthy, because they contain over 20 grams of carbs per cup Cheerios are not keto – so give them a wide berth if you’re following the keto diet.
  • Life Cereal - Like Cheerios, Life Cereal is a better choice than many of the sugar-filled cereals on the market but isn’t necessarily “good” for you. It is low in sugar, with less than 6g per serving, and has no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and a healthy dose of potassium. While Life Cereal is fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, it also contains a lot of preservatives to maintain freshness. Life Cereal is not keto.
    Life Cereal contains more than 25g of carbs per cup, and just 2g of fiber, so don’t eat Life Cereal if you’re following the keto diet.
  • Oats (Oatmeal) - While not keto-friendly, whole, unsweetened and unflavored, oats are the best nutritional choice for a healthy breakfast. Oats contain a good amount of fiber (4g), 68% of the daily recommended intake of manganese, 18% of your phosphorus, 18% of your selenium, and 16% of your zinc, all of which help with healthy brain and organ function, plus B vitamins and minerals. See Also: Is Oatmeal Keto Friendly?
  • Muesli - Muesli a very flexible cereal you can make your own, and so can easily be made to be friendly for any diet, keto, gluten-free, or otherwise, simply by omitting or including certain ingredients. The healthiest muesli is homemade (there are plenty of recipes online for your diet needs and preferences), but you can also find mixes in-store with little or no added sugar.
  • Granola - Granola is essentially muesli that has been mixed and baked, so has many of the same qualities, you just need to watch out for a lot of added sugar in store-bought versions. Granola is often rich in protein and good fats and contains essential vitamins and minerals that help with healthy organ function.

keto friendly granola

  • Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets - While also not suitable for those on keto, Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggetscontains 7 different types of whole grains which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber (7g), as well as 7g of protein. It’s also relatively low in sugar – just 2g – which is almost unheard of in the cereal aisle. 
  • Post Foods Grape Nuts - You’ve probably glanced at Grape Nuts a few times without really ever seeing it, but it’s actually one of the healthier cereals available on store shelves. Again, they’re not suitable for keto followers, because there are approximately 30g of carbs in each serving, but there are also 7g of fiber and only naturally occurring sugars. Grape Nuts are made of just four ingredients: whole-grain wheat flour, malted barley flour, dried yeast, and salt, so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.
Keto-Friendly Cereal  

We’ve seen that many healthy breakfast cereals on our shelves aren’t keto-friendly, so how do we find low carb cereals and what’s in them?

What’s in Low Carb Cereals?  

Low carb cereals ditch the whole grains and the sugar and use alternative ingredients like seeds (sunflower, flax, chia) and nuts (almond flakes, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts) with natural flavorings like cinnamon, coconut oil, and keto friendly sweeteners.

keto friendly cereal with milk carton
Can You Add Milk to Cereal While on Keto?  

You can, but you need to opt for dairy milk with high fat content, like whipped cream that can be diluted with water if it is too creamy for your liking. For dairy, the lower the fat the higher the carb count. The most keto friendly option is unsweetened plant-based milk. Coconut milk and almond milk are two great  choices (unsweetened, of course) with less than 2 grams of net carbsmaking them extremely keto-friendly.

What Cereals Are Good for A Keto Diet?  

While it is easy to make a keto-friendly cerea lat home, there are several  branded cereals you can conveniently buy instead. Some of the best healthy keto cereal brands are:

keto friendly breakfast cereal
  • HighKey Instant Hot Cereal - Shameless plug, but that’s only because we know our four delicious Instant Hot Cereal options  taste great, are good for you, and have no more than 3g net carbs per serving – many at just 1g or 2g, depending on which flavor you choose. They’re grain-free, gluten-free, and packed with nutritional goodness from  hemp, flax, chia, and sunflower seeds, plus they are lightly-sweetened with keto-friendly sweetener!
  • HighKey Granola - If hot cereal is not your jam, and you are simply wanting a cold cereal for your keto breakfast, then HighKey’s Keto Granola is just the ticket.  With only 2 grams of net carbs per serving this crunchy, lightly sweetened granola packs a punch of flavor and nutrition with sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds, almonds, and a hint of cinnamon, vanilla and coconut. It is perfect with your favorite low carb milk or as a yogurt topping. Although it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will love this granola, you can find other keto friendly cold cereals but be cautious that the carbs  are within what the keto calculator suggests for your daily carb allotment.
  • NEW! HighKey Protein Cereal - Missing the taste of your favorite childhood cereal, but not the sugar? You're in luck! HighKey's new Protein Cereal is 0 Net Carbs*, No Added Sugar, Gluten-Free, 90 Calories and tastes amazing. The best part is that it's under $1.50 per bowl! Try all 3 flavors here.
  • Magic Spoon - Magic Spoon is another brand of keto-friendly cereal that is shaped like Cheerios and nets just 3g of carbs per serving and is a popular option for those who simply can’t give up traditional cereal.
  • Catalina Crunch - Catalina Crunch is another keto-friendly cereal brand for those who need traditional cereal in their lives. With 5g net carbs, they aren’t the lowest on the list, but they’re not bad, either!
  • The Cereal School - The Cereal School makes a keto-friendly pebble-shaped cereal that has an impressive 16g of protein and just 1g net carbs, so if you like something old-school you might like to keep a few packets in your pantry.
  • Thrive Organic Grain-Free Granola - Thrive Market grain-free granola is the keto cereal you’re most likely to find in your local grocery, and though it’s slightly higher in net carbs than our own HighKey granola (6g to our 2g), it’s certainly not a bad find if you have it locally!  

What Are The Lowest Carb Cereals?

The lowest carb cereals are:

  • HighKey Instant Hot Cereal – 1g – 3g net carbs per serving – see the section above!
  • HighKey Protein Cereal – Get ready for this....0 Net Carbs*! Yes, you've read this right in the section above. 
  • The Cereal School – 1g net carbs per serving, again, see the section above.
  • Julian Bakery ProGranola – Julian Bakery makes some great keto-friendly products, and their ProGranola range is very similar to our own, with just 2g net carbs and 97 calories per serving.
  • ProMix Nutrition Chocolate Whey Protein Puffs – While this cereal doesn’t look like the most appetizing on the list, each scoop contains 10g of protein and just 2g net carbs.
  • The Granola Bakery KPX Keto Protein – don’t let this cereal’s looks fool you, it is full of protein (10g), good fat (14g), and just 3g net carbs.
  • Diabetic Kitchen Cinnamon Pecan Granola – perfect for diabetics, this cereal has just 3g net carbs and gets its sweetness from organic stevia and monk fruit extract.

keto friendly breakfast hot cereal

Can I Add Bananas to Cereal on Keto Diet?  

Unfortunately bananas are naturally full of carbs – 27g, to be exact, only 3 of which are fiber, so it may be time to give up bananas if you are strictly following keto! Although, some who have long been keto-adapted find they can easily get back to ketosis with an occasional ½ of a small banana. 

Are There Carbs in Cereal?

Yes, there are a lot of carbs in most cereals, unless you choose one of the low-carb options listed in the section above.

What Keto Cereals Can You Make at Home?  

The best healthy cereal options to make at home for those on a keto diet, are:

  • Muesli – as mentioned in one of the earlier sections, muesli is essentially an unbaked and loose version of granola, and can easily be made at home by mixing flaked, crushed, chopped, and small whole nuts, seeds, and some dried fruit pieces if you are careful to only use a few.
  • Granola – Granola is a staple for keto cereal lovers and if you want to put it together at home, this Keto Cereal granola recipe by Delish is a great place to start.
  • Crunchy Cinnamon Toast Squares – you’ll find a lot of keto cereal recipes for little squares, and this Cinnamon Homemade Keto Cereal recipe is great for those who don’t like muesli or granola but still want to have some cereal in their lives.
  • Nut-Free Keto Cereal – nuts are a staple of the keto diet, but if you for any reason need a nut-free keto cereal, this Nut-Free Keto Cereal recipe might be a good choice for you.

Healthy Cereal for Weight Loss Questions  

Is Cereal Good for Losing Weight?

There is no one food or category of food that can necessarily help you lose weight. If you are committed to the keto lifestyle as a means for weight loss,  the low-carb cereals we talked about in the section above are going to be the best choices to help you stay in ketosis while on your weight loss journey.

See Also: How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight On Keto?

keto friendly milk for breakfast cereal
Which Milk is Best for Weight Loss?

Coconut milk is the best milk for weight loss, followed closely by almond milk and other nut milks. Coconut milk contains just 1g net carbs (all the carbs in it minus the fiber) and almond milk typically has around 1.4g.

Of course, these kinds of milk have to be unsweetened, or they’ll be packed with added sugar that will sabotage your weight loss efforts.

Can You Lose Weight Eating Cereal for Dinner?

Yes – with a caveat. Say your normal dinners are 600 calories and you replace them with a big bowl of low carb cereal, which totals 300 calories. If you stopped eating after dinner, you would be in a 300-calorie deficit simply by swapping your normal dinner to cereal, which could indeed, help you lose weight.

However, if you swap out your 600-calorie dinner for an equal calorie  cereal, or start eating more during the day to help combat your hunger later, you’ll make up that deficit elsewhere, and so you won’t lose weight because you’ll be eating as much as before, if not more.

Bottomline is that it’s not necessarily the cereal per se that you eat for dinner, it’s your total daily calorie and macronutrient intake.

Are Cheerios Good for Weight Loss?

Cheerios themselves aren’t going to help you lose weight. However, if your options are Cheerios or Lucky Charms, then yes, swapping to Cheerios will be the better choice and if you change nothing else in your diet, would help you lose weight.

The key to using “healthy” cereals like Cheerios is to be conscious of why you’re eating them, what you’re eating throughout the day, and paying attention to portion control. A huge bowl of cheerios that has 300 calories will be the same as eating a 300 calorie doughnut, at least calorie-wise, though obviously one contains whole grains that are beneficial for your overall health, while the other doesn’t.

Healthy Cereals for Weight Loss

We’ve covered a lot of great, low carb cereals in this article already, so if you haven’t read the whole thing it’s well worth working your way through and noting down any low-carb cereals that sound appealing to you. Here are some more great suggestions for healthy cereals for weight loss:

  • Cheerios ­– we talked about Cheerios earlier and how they’re not exactly full of nutrition, but regardless they are relatively low carb (20.5g) and low sugar (6g).
  • Kashi Go Peanut Butter Crunch – we mentioned another one of Kashi’s cereals earlier, and their Go Peanut Butter Crunch is another great one. It contains 6g of fiber per serving, 13g of whole grains, 10g of protein, but also 10g of sugar. While not as high as some other cereals on the market, that’s notably much higher than the levels in our pick of low-carb cereals.
  • Fiber One Original Bran – Not the sexiest of cereals, we know, but more fiber is always a good thing. This cereal contains a whopping 14g of fiber per serving (over half your recommended intake), 1g of fat, and 3g of protein. While it contains a lot of fiber, the carbohydrate content is also high, at 34g.
  • Special K – Special K certainly wins the award for the biggest marketing push on the list, as they aim it at women who want to lose weight and even created a whole diet based upon it. While it is low sugar (5g) it’s also pretty high carb (39g), so don’t eat more than the recommended serving if you want to see effective weight loss.
  • All-Bran Wheat Flakes – While not exactly as low sugar and low carb as you’d hope, wheat flakes contain 7g of sugar and 30g of carbohydrates, so while we know there are cereals that do better, there are also a lot that do significantly worse.

Most Unhealthy Cereal Options

What’s the Most Unhealthy Cereal? aka What’s the Sugariest Cereal?

For the purpose of this discussion, let’s look at a couple of cereals that are loaded with sugar as perhaps the most unhealthy cereals.  Coming in with 18 grams of added sugar per one cup serving is Kellogg’s Honey Smacks with 18 grams of added sugar per 1 cup serving which is more sugar in a single serving than a Twinkie. Yikes!   Another popular cereal that could be deemed unhealthy is Apple Jacks, with one cup boasting 12g of sugar! Needless to say, neither of these unhealthy cereal options are even close to keto!

What Cereal is the Highest in Fat?

The cereal that is the highest in fat does not need to be named and shamed in the same way the sugariest cereal does – the cereal with the highest fat content is Natures Path Organic Flax Plus Pumpkin Granola, with 10.1g of fat per serving.

Why so high? Because it contains flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and other good sources of fat, so while it has the highest it only contains 1.5g of saturated fat, which means most of what’s in it is the good stuff. Phew – cereal companies aren’t filling our cereals with fat the same way they are sugar.

What Are the Worst/Most Unhealthy Cereals to Eat?

Looking for a list of cereals to avoid so you don’t have to suspiciously eye every box? Not to worry, here’s a list of the worst and most unhealthy cereal options you should be avoiding.

  • Kellog’s Honey Smacks – we mentioned this offender just above, and at over 55% sugar, they ought to be removed from the shelves.
  • Kellog’s Apple Jacks – another we had to mention above, with less than 1g of fiber and 12g of sugar, they’re not doing anyone any good.
  • Kellog’s Froot Loops – seeing a trend yet? These colorful rings are almost 50% sugar, so no matter how fun they are, they ought to be avoided at all costs.
  • French Toast Crunch – another cereal with 12g of sugar in each 1 cup serving.
  • Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries – 15g of sugar in these with just a little more fiber, they’re not doing much better than the worst offenders on this list.
  • Jif Peanut Butter Cereal – cereal companies can even turn peanut butter against us, and for 1 cup you get 13g of sugar, which is 40% of each piece.
  • Cinnabon Cereal – like the pastry treat they’re modeled after; they aren’t any good for you. 12g of sugar and 25g per serving.
  • Kellog’s Cocoa Krispies – Kellog’s is back with another 40% sugar cereal, again marketed at children. At least they tell you they’re sweetened on the box.
  • Cocoa Puffs – Another puffed cereal somehow infused with 13g of sugar in each serving – “naturally and artificially flavored frosted corn puffs”, in other words, “this cereal is made from sugar”.
  • Chocolate Protein Granola – the name sounds convincing, doesn’t it? Protein, granola, and dark chocolate? Problem is, for just 1 cup you’ll find 440 calories, 62g of carbs, 26g of sugar, and only 20g of protein. Probably should be the other way around, right?
HighKey Alternatives to “Healthy” (and Unhealthy) Cereal

As a keto dieter all of those unhealthy cereal options can be a little overwhelming and make you  feel a little stressed out. Fortunately, there are brands out there creating nutritious, low carb, keto-friendly cereals so you don’t have to give up cereal for good.

At HighKey we’ve worked hard to create  the “healthy” hot cereal options and granola that I mentioned above that are, actually, good for you. Don’t believe us? Feel free to look up the nutritional information and see for yourself. It’s okay. I’ll wait in between each recommendation while you go check. Ready? Here they are.

keto friendly breakfast hot cereal cocoa almond
HighKey Keto Cocoa Almond Hot Cereal

Eat our instant hot cereal at home, at work, or literally anywhere else you have access to boiling water. Made with hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia and sunflower seeds, and with a sweet rich cocoa flavor, your taste buds will not believe that this instant hot cereal is keto friendly with  only 2g net carbs per serving. Our Cocoa Almond flavor is a particular favorite with our customers, so feel free to have a look through our rave reviews as you double-check the nutritional information.

NEW! HighKey Cinnamon Protein Cereal

No sugar, but plenty of spice and everything nice. Our Cinnamon Protein Cereal packs 10 grams of protein per serving and all the sweetness you crave without any of the added sugar. Each serving of our crispy cereal has zero net carbs, no gluten, and no grains. Plus we added MCT’s to keep you and your tummy happy! With fewer calories, more fiber, and more servings than the other guys, it’s kind of a big deal.

"I am so impressed with this cereal.....The taste and crunch are amazing! Not too mention the clean ingredients and nutritional values which make this cereal a perfect breakfast, snack, or dessert while staying in ketosis. Everything I have purchased from Highkey has impressed me and made sticking to my diet and lifestyle choices easy. I recommend the pancake mix and the cinnamon cereal!!!" -Sara P.

NEW! HighKey Frosted Protein Cereal

No, this isn't a frosted fluke! Our Frosted Protein Cereal has zero net carbs and the childhood taste you crave. Enjoy a bowl of this sweet, crunchy vanilla cereal with a splash of your favorite low carb milk or on its own. One serving of these tiny, rice-like frosted pieces is packed with 10 grams of protein so you can stay full longer and banish cravings. With no gluten, no grain, and no added sugars, our ready-to-eat cereal offers you fewer calories, more fiber, and more servings than the other guys!

NEW! HighKey Cocoa Protein Cereal

You’re going to love this flavor a choco-lot. Sweetened without all the added sugar, our Cocoa Protein Cereal has no gluten, no grain, and packs 10 grams of protein per serving. With fewer calories, more fiber, and more servings than the other guys, you have to choc it out for yourself. Loaded with added MCTs, our cereal will help you stay fuller longer and say good-bye to cravings!

Or...try all 3 flavors under $1.50 per bowl with our HighKey Protein Cereal Variety Pack.

HighKey Keto Strawberries & Cream Hot Cereal

Another delicious offering in our hot cereals line is our Strawberries and Cream flavor which is sure to be an instant hit with those who like something a little fruity for breakfast. Packed with 9g of protein and just 2g net carbs, you’ll feel ready to take on the day after a bowl of this yummy hot cereal. It’s a great replacement for traditional hot oatmeal!

HighKey Keto Cinnamon Spice Hot Cereal

There are those people out there who don’t like cinnamon, but it’s difficult to believe even they wouldn’t enjoy our Cinnamon Spice Hot Cereal. Cinnamon spice is the perfect flavor for this hot cereal blend, and it’s lightly sweetened for just 1g net carbs. Yep, you read that correctly, 1g net carbs. It’s a bit of a shock after reading about all those cereals with 12g+ sugar per serving!

HighKey Keto Maple Brown Sugar Hot Cereal

Maple syrup is delicious, there’s no denying it, but there’s one big problem with traditional maple syrup: it’s loaded with carbs. That rules it out for anyone following keto which is  one of the reasons why it’s so exciting that we were able to use natural flavorings and offer his delicious Maple Brown Sugar flavor hot cereal, with just 3g net carbs, you  can have a little taste of maple syrup… without actually having to consume any at all.  

keto friendly breakfast pancakes

HighKey Low Carb Breakfasts

While our hot cereal is our favorite, we also do a delicious Cinnamon Almond granola which is great for breakfast, or as a snack to take on the go. And, if you’re sick of all this talk of cereal and granola, grab a packet of our Pancake and Waffle Mix instead which contains just 2g net carbs per serving. Eating keto can be easy, especially with a little help from your friends at HighKey!

Healthy Keto Breakfast Cereal Does Exist

Provided you’re willing to put in a little extra effort to find it or make it yourself. Always be on the lookout for great low carb cereal options if you’re a cereal fanatic and don’t be afraid to try something new! We’re always experimenting with new flavors and ways to bring you great keto-friendly cereals and snacks, and there are some other great brands (like those we’ve listed in the keto-friendly cereal section above) who are doing the same. The goal is to avoid all those sugar-laden cereals we see lining our supermarket shelves and spend a minute or two thinking about whether or not a “healthy” cereal is really all it claims to be.

Remember to always check the nutritional labels of the cereals you intend to buy (yes, ours too) to see exactly what you’re putting in your own body. Going keto  doesn’t have to mean that you toss the idea of cereals out the window- – that’s why we created our hot cereals and granola – you can now enjoy an easy and healthy keto cereal for your breakfast any day of the week, no sacrifice necessary.

NEW KETO FRIENDLY CEREAL
VARIETY PACK
— LIMITED TIME OFFER — SAVE NOW
Carina Wolff
Carina Wolff is a health and wellness writer and food blogger based out of Los Angeles. She graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism and psychology. She writes for a number of websites, including Bustle, FabFitFun, Reader's Digest, and more. She also runs a healthy food blog called Kale Me Maybe, where she develops clean-eating recipes.

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