If you haven’t spent much time looking into cereal, and more importantly what’s in it, you may not know that a good percentage of our supermarket cereals are jam-packed with sugar. Often unbeknownst to them, many Americans start their day with a bowl full of sugar – it’s no wonder that chronic diseases linked to sugar intake (like obesity and diabetes) have become such a problem for such a large percentage of our population.
If you’re ready to make a change, whether willingly or forced via a health scare – congrats, you’re about to learn about the wonderful world of sugar-free cereals that can help you start your day in a healthy way!
Which Is The Best Cereal for Diabetics?
If you are diabetic, a good, healthy breakfast will help you keep control of your blood sugar and your need to snack throughout the day. This sort of logic can be applied to anyone though because when you have a carb heavy or sugary breakfast, your blood sugar peaks quickly then drops again making you feel the need to snack again, thus perpetuating the rollercoaster that is your blood sugar levels.
Cereal is a natural and easy choice for a good breakfast – provided you choose the right one, and that usually means avoiding many of those on the supermarket shelves. The best low sugar cereals are no-added-sugar options with whole grains, as whole grains release their energy slowly as they are digested, not in a sudden rush in the same way sugar does.
One major caveat to this logic is to check the nutritional label on the box. Cereal companies know how to market their foods, and they know using terms like “whole grain” and “whole wheat” will get people to pick up the box. However, if you take a look at the back of the boxes on some of these you will find more cereals than ever with sugar or sugar alternatives like high fructose corn syrup, barley malt, agave, honey etc. listed as a main ingredient. (You can find a complete list of tricky words used on labels, that are really just sugar here) If you’re diabetic, relatively plain oatmeal is a great choice, (though beware of instant oats, since they are often presweetened) and so are many keto cereals. The ketogenic diet is an extremely low carb diet and any cereal considered keto friendly will contain little sugar and only sweeteners that won’t elevate blood sugar levels.
Best Sugar-Free Cereal List
Finding a sugar-free cereal that is palatable can be a challenge as many add some form of sweetener. Here’s a list of some options:
Oatmeal may be “boring”, especially if you want to go sugar-free, but it’s also one of the healthiest and most nutritious options you’ve got. You can add nuts, seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, unsweetened nut milks and a low sugar fruit to jazz it up a bit!
It is fairly easy to find sugar-free cereals in the form of granola, but be sure to read the label because again many do use some sort of sweetener. Sugar-free granola is easy to customize and you can make it at home to your own dietary needs and preferences. Use oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, bake it in the oven for a little while and eat it as a cereal or as an easy-to-eat snack throughout the day.
Muesli is granola’s younger sibling – it’s essentially granola before you combine it and bake it. Mix together nutrient rich nut flakes, coconut, seeds, buckwheat, dried fruit, and anything else you like that’s naturally low sugar or sugar-free, combine it, and eat it as cereal every day. While it may not seem exciting at first, the different textures and flavors with your unsweetened milk may surprisingly have you craving for it after a day or two.
The Cereal School
Okay – so you don’t want to make your own or eat nuts, you just want cereal, dammit! Fine, I hear you. The Cereal School makes a great breakfast cereal that contains 0g of sugar, it comes in serving-size packets, and it even looks like the cereal you had in your childhood (except it’s not full of artificial colors or sugar). Each bag contains a huge 16g of protein, which is a great way to start your day and prevent you from mid-morning snack attacks!
Arrowhead Puffed Cereals
Arrowhead’s range of Puffed Cereals are all 100% whole grain, one-ingredient only, which makes them a great alternative to plain old oatmeal. Their puffs are crunchy, light, and many of them are even gluten-free. They’re not as high in fiber as some other no sugar breakfast cereals, but considering they are completely sugar-free, we’ll let them off. You can easily add a keto or diabetic friendly sweetener, some chopped nuts, or even some dried berries to give them a little more flavor.
No Sugar Added Cereal List
If you can’t find, or don’t like sugar-free cereals, those with no added sugar are the next best thing. Here are some of the best options:
Love Grown Original Power Os
Love Grown Original Power Os are made with beans and brown rice with no sugar added. Because they’re made out of beans they’re relatively low-carb and release energy slowly as they digest, which is perfect for blood sugar control.
Eden Brown Rice Flakes
Eden Brown Rice Flakes are a great gluten-free flake cereal that you can eat as is, or add hot water or milk to turn into an oatmeal consistency. They contain 20g of carbs, no added sugar, and 1.5g of protein. For a twist, add them to unsweetened yogurt with a few dried fruit pieces.
Thrive Market Coconut Flakes
Thrive Market’s coconut flakes are – unsurprisingly – made using coconut, and all 5g of sugar is naturally occurring. Plus the fat and fiber content will keep you feeling full for longer. They’re worth a try if you find yourself craving something naturally sweet for breakfast.
HighKey Keto Cinnamon Spice Hot Cereal
Our Cinnamon Spice hot cereal contains just 1g net carbs, and absolutely no added sugar. We use keto friendly sweeteners to make our popular range of instant hot cereals to improve the taste without elevating blood sugar levels. Awesome, right?
HighKey Keto Cocoa Almond Hot Cereal
Our Cocoa Almond flavor is extremely popular, has a chewy oatmeal-like consistency and a delicious nutty chocolate flavor, without any added sugar. Our Keto Cocoa Almond hot cereal contains just 1g of sugar while being packed with 4g of fiber and 8g of protein. Oh, and it’s also gluten-free and grain-free, so it’s suitable for anyone who doesn’t have to avoid dairy, soy, or nuts.
HighKey Strawberries and Cream Hot Cereal
If you prefer a fruity cereal but know you need to avoid too much fruit or artificial flavorings, our Strawberries and Cream flavored is a popular choice. Again, this cereal contains no added sugar but has a delicious strawberry and creamy taste. Yum!
Healthiest Gluten-Free Cereal List
Kay’s Naturals Gluten-Free Protein Honey Almond Cereal
Kay’s Naturals Honey Almond Cereal makes a great Cheerios replacement and contains just 3g of sugar, which is almost comparable to diabetic and keto-focused cereals. With 4g of fiber and 12g of protein in each serving, they’re worth a try if you’re looking for a traditional cereal to replace your old sugar-heavy cereal habit.
Love Grown Original Power Os
Love Grown Original Power Os are made from beans – so are gluten-free, and in a 1 cup serving there’s just 1.5g of fat (all good), 2g of naturally occurring sugar, 6g of protein, and 4g of fiber. Due to their 19g of net carbs they’re not keto-friendly, but that’s about the only place this cereal falls short. For a chocolatey traditional breakfast cereal, this is a great choice.
I Heart Keenwah Toasted Quinoa Flakes
Quinoa is a versatile grain that releases energy slowly, and has a warm, nutty flavor. If you like oatmeal but want something else that’s naturally low in sugar (2g), high fiber (5g), and has a good amount of protein (5g), this cereal is a good option.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Muesli
We’ve talked about muesli from a homemade stand point, but you can buy it ready-made, too. Bob’s Red Mill Muesli is gluten-free, low in sugar (4g), low carb compared to many other oat-based options – containing just 19g, and contains 3g of fiber and protein. While it doesn’t win any awards for being the best, it’s a great all-round cereal.
Low Sugar Gluten-Free Cereal Options
Eden Brown Rice Flakes
We mentioned these brown rice flakes above as being low in sugar, but because they are made out of brown rice, they’re gluten-free as well.
Barbara’s Brown Rice Crisps Cereal
Barbara’s Brown Rice Crisps are both gluten-free and low in sugar, with just 1-2g per serving. The Brown Rice Crisps are sweetened with a little organic pear juice, but that’s the only other ingredient besides the brown rice and a little salt, so they’re a great low-sugar option.
Barbara’s Puffins Honey Rice
Barbara’s Puffins Honey Rice isn’t quite as low sugar as the Brown Rice Crisps, but they’re fairly similar. They’re made with white rice and are puffed into square shapes, and do contain a little honey. They’re a good choice to keep both children-who aren’t happy about other low-sugar gluten-free cereals.- and their parents happy!
Corn Chex Gluten-Free Cereal
Corn Chex are one of the only low sugar, gluten-free cereals you’re likely to find while doing your weekly trip to the typical mainstream cereal aisle at the grocery store. With just 3g of sugar, they’re probably the best off-the-shelf gluten-free cereal you’re going to find. Just be careful about which box of Chex you pick up, because while many of their cereals are gluten-free, they also make Wheat Chex which aren’t gluten-free and they have several flavored options that are loaded with sugar.
How to Make Sugar Free Cereal
Making sugar free cereal at home is easy and fast, so is well worth doing if you have other dietary requirements that make it difficult to find a sugar free cereal to suit you, or if you simply want to save yourself some money.
The easiest way to make sugar free cereal at home is to make muesli. All you need to do is combine ingredients like oats, sliced almonds, coconut flakes, chia and flax seeds or anything else you like, pour into the bowl, add milk, and you’re done! For a toasted muesli recipe, here’s a great one. Just swap the maple syrup for a diabetic-safe liquid sweetener, or leave it out completely.
Of course, where muesli goes, granola follows! If you like muesli or granola, it’s incredibly easy to make it sugar-free for yourself at home. Again, all you need to do is combine the ingredients you love with some egg whites or coconut oil and bake. Okay, so that may be a little simplified, but this simple homemade granola is a good one to take a look at and follow along with.
Homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Sugar free homemade cereals aren’t all oats and grains – you can make what your kids might call “real” cereal too. This cinnamon homemade keto cereal recipe is easy to make and can be eaten with milk or as a dry snack on its own. Plus, it’s crunchy and doesn’t disintegrate when you add milk, so it really will tick all your boxes.
While sugar free cereals aren’t easy to come across on a walk down the cereal aisle in Walmart or Target, they are out there, so all you need to do is find the ones you love and stock up your pantry.Regardless of if you happen to be diabetic, if you are on the keto diet, or if you are just making the health conscious choice to cut back your sugar intake, refer to the low sugar cereal options discussed above and you will be on the right track to a healthy and sugar-free start to your day!