We’ve never been big on boxed cereal in our house, but lately my middle daughter, Rosie, has been asking for it. When we handed her a bowl of Ezekial Golden Flax flakes the other morning, she choked it down with some effort, and compared it to cardboard soaked in milk. “Could we try something else?” she asked, as she grabbed her backpack and raced for the bus.

After she left, I turned to the list of recommended cereals I wrote about in Rise & Shine (with one new addition).  Since the cereal aisle leaves much to be desired from a nutrition standpoint, it’s not always so easy to find ones that are going to really fuel kids, not just fill them up.

Look for brands with a whole grain listed as the first ingredient, such as whole wheat, brown rice, or oats. Also, keep an eye on calories, because some cereals pack a lot of them into a small portion. Last, aim for at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 or fewer grams of sugar per serving, with some wiggle room if the cereal has added dried fruits (which add natural sugars).

Here are 10 better breakfast cereals that fill the bill:

  1. Nature’s Path Flax Plus: A good one if you’re looking for a flake cereal, because it keeps the sugar down and the fiber up, at 4 grams and 5 grams, respectively.
  2. “O” Cereals, such as Cheerios: The kid classic with a mere 1 gram of sugar per serving.
  3. Uncle Sam Original Cereal: This is a winner for its fiber content, with 10 grams per serving. The fact that it has just four ingredients is also a plus.
  4. Barbara’s Original Puffins: A kid favorite that tastes like a “sugar” cereal even with just 5 grams per serving.
  5. Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls: Another one with plenty of kid appeal that’s made with oat and corn flour.
  6. Original Kix: Made with whole grain corn, this is another popular choice for little ones, and boasts just 3 grams of sugar.
  7. Post Grape-Nuts: This tiny cereal has an impressive 7 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per serving, but keep an eye on the portion, because it’s 210 calories per half cup.
  8. Weetabix: This UK brand with a crunchy texture has made its way over the pond and has only 2 grams of sugar per serving.
  9. Back-to-the-Roots Cocoa Clusters: A chocolatey cereal that is low and sugar and a good source of fiber is a win. This one has 4 grams each of fiber and sugar. It’s also comes in a milk-carton-style package that makes pouring easy for kids.
  10. Shredded Mini Wheats: This has just two little ingredients and no sugar at all. Even if you add a teaspoon of sugar to your own bowl, it will still come in under that 5 gram goal.

If you want to make your own breakfast cereal, check out Homemade Buckwheat Granola. It’s easy to prep, super tasty, with a texture similar to Grape Nuts. My kids like it too.

TIP: To make the most of every bowl, add sliced banana, berries, chopped nuts or favorite seeds.

I’d love to hear what your healthier cereal picks are, so please share in the comment section below.