5 Ways to Upgrade Your Cereal

by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
Share it:

(No ratings yet)
5 Ways to Upgrade Your Cereal

Cereal is one of those tricky foods–some can be part of a nutritious breakfast while others can sneakily be spiked with sugar. In honor of National Cereal Day, here are 5 ways to upgrade your breakfast bowl:

1. Fill up on fiber. Fiber plays an important role not only in digestive health but in keeping you satiated and preventing large spikes in blood sugar after a meal.

Upgrade: Choose cereals that provide at least 7-8 grams of fiber per serving. For ideas, check out the 5-to-Try below.

2. Avoid added sugars. Even if your cereal passes the fiber test, it’s important to avoid those with lots of added sugars. Starting your day off with a spike in blood sugar sets you up for a day of blood sugar swings that can negatively impact your mood, hunger and food choices.

Upgrade: Choose cereals that not only meet the fiber minimum but also have 13 grams of sugar or less per serving. This will rule out a lot of the worst added-sugar offenders. To naturally add a little sweetness, see Upgrade #5.

3. Up the protein. Since cereals are predominantly grain-based, your morning bowl of bran flakes likely doesn’t contain adequate protein to keep you satiated very long–even with a cup of milk.

Upgrade: Add a tablespoon or two of nuts, or instead of drowning your cereal in milk, stir some into plain, low-fat Greek yogurt which contains about 22 grams of protein per cup.

4. Add Omega 3s. Omega-3 fats have been shown to reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol which are protective against heart disease. Little did you know that incorporating them into your breakfast can be cereaously easy.

Upgrade: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed on top of your morning bowl of cereal. It provides 1.8 grams of Omega 3 fats, which meets the DRI, and contains more Omega 3s than a 3-ounce serving of salmon.

5. Give your bowl a boost. Fresh fruit can bring a boring bowl of flakes to life by adding color and just a little bit of sweetness. What you may not realize though is adding fruit can also up the fiber and help you get in some extra vitamins and minerals each morning.

Upgrade: Add a half-cup of raspberries for 4 additional grams of fiber and more than 25% of your daily Vitamin C. A sliced banana will give you 12% of your daily potassium, 20% of your Vitamin B6 and an extra 3 grams of fiber.

5-to-Try: Cascadian Farm Hearty Morning | Kashi Go Lean | Nature’s Path Blueberry Cinnamon Flax | Barbara’s High Fiber Cranberry | Fiber One Nutty Clusters + Almonds


  • Lisa

    My favorite breakfast is oatmeal with flax seed, raspberries and an egg for extra protein.

    • Gemma

      Lisa, do you have the egg boiled after or as a topping? How does that work?

      • Bobby

        ya like omg~!!!

  • Becka

    What about the super inefficient conversion the omega-3s in flax have to undergo to become DHA and actually benefit health?

    • liz in denver

      any hints for grinding flax? I know it just “passes through” if not ground. Use a coffee grinder but the tiny seeds jam it.

      • Becka

        Honestly, I might just try another coffee grinder. It’s all I’ve ever used, and I’ve used a few, and never had any trouble with it. I guess you could use a mortar and pestle, but that seems like a pain. You could try a food processor, but you’d probably want to do a fairly large quantity at once (and then freeze it). I’m not really sure a food processor would really do a whole lot to the little seeds, though.

      • Ellen Bush

        I’ve dedicated a burr-type coffee grinder to grind flax seeds. It doesn’t ever jam. Does yours have blades or a burr?

  • Jess

    My favourite at the moment is just chia seed pudding 🙂 So easy and quite tasty. I’ve never been fussed about texture so it’s great for me!

    • bodymindspirity

      I loved the article. With the exception of low-fat yogurt. A natural organic fat provids the fat needed to transport hormones and fat-soluble vitamins.

  • ejdeleon

    Awesome tips

    • Not a troll OkAy

      they’re obvious though everyone knows that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Harold_Blue_Nose

    Oatmeal, fresh strawberrys, blueberries and honey !!

  • TrOll HAH

    i love poo

  • TrOll HAH

    this disgusts me!

  • TrOll HAH

    why no candy

  • TrOll HAH

    go poo

  • TrOll HAH

    yes poo!

  • TrOll HAH

    chinese food!

  • TrOll HAH

    wwow ammazzzingng.. arti0cle!

  • TrOll HAH

    Great article! I suggest adding cooked oatmeal to the cereal. Delicious! Or eating roasted oats instead of cereal or just using the oats as a topping. EggcelienT!

  • TrOll HAH

    wow will u marry me sandra bullock

  • TrOll HAH


  • Jazzy

    Thirteen grams of sugar is too much for me (I know the article says 13 grams or less sugar in a cereal) since 4 grams of sugar is a teaspoon so I am trying to find a cereal with no added sugar.

  • Mark l

    Where can you these products in the uk , not seen any of them . I tend to stick with weetabix and blueberries as my staple breakfast cereal any advice or tips should db great .

  • alien

    Very surprised that health sites are still recommending eating highly processed carb laden cereals like these. Eat these and then you are starvign again at 11am due to the insulin spike. Fried egg, bacon, tomato, mushrooms for me. Very filling great helathy saturated fat. Lose weight ditch those processed carbs and reduce the inflammation.

  • Elle – I caught that pun in the article – cerealously. Ha! Great tips though. I know a lot of people get in the rut of just eating the same thing over and over for breakfast just out of habit. Today, I bought some granola to top my yogurt. I figured I would try something new in the morning. Do you have a favorite cereal to recommend?

  • Rebecca L

    Any gluten free cereals recommended? All of the 5 to try are wheat. I usually mix 1/2 Cascadian Farms GF granola with Greek yogurt & fruit.