Choosing the healthiest cereal for kids doesn't have to be hard. You just have to know the brands to look for when browsing the aisles.
With an endless choice to pick from, it can be confusing to know which is healthiest cereal for kids. Much like deciphering the healthiest adult cereals from the vast array on the supermarket shelves, picking a healthy cereal for kids that isn't full of secret sugars but is packed with nutrients instead is really important. Eating a healthy breakfast in the morning is a vital part of a balanced diet and will give kids (and adults) the energy they to start the day.
"Having a healthy, nutritious breakfast each day has been found to drastically improve children’s physical and mental wellbeing in a wide range of ways," says nutritional expert Mina Khan, founder of Formulate Health. "Some of the most striking improvements have been observed in behaviour, focus and academic performance at school, with much research also pointing to a link between skipping breakfast and childhood obesity."
The healthiest cereal for kids
These are the top 10 healthiest cereals for kids according to our experts. They were picked because not only did they have the lowest amount of sugar per serving, but they also contain added vitamins and minerals.
- Weetabix Banana
- Rice Krispies Multigrain
- Corn Flakes
- WK Kellogg Kids Strawberry, Apple & Carrot Multigrain Shapes
- Nestlé Cheerios Multigrain
- Nestlé Cheerios Honey
- Shreddies Original
- Weetos Chocolate Cereal
- Weetabix Crispy Minis Chocolate Chip
"Looking for a cereal that has a lower sugar content is always the best place to start," says Mina. "From there, opting for fortified cereals can be a great way to help ensure your child is having a healthy, more balanced breakfast."
Cereal really is a good choice for children at breakfast. "Cereal can be a great way of getting healthy, slow release carbohydrates into our children's diets at the start of each day," says Mina.
"These foods will help keep your child feeling energised and alert during the day. Plus, cereal can help with digestion and providing some of the essential nutrients they need. What’s more, cereal is quick and easy to prepare and many kids can even prepare it themselves, making it a really handy option for those rushed mornings before school."
Healthiest breakfast cereal for kids ranked from best to worst
Want to find a new cereal for your child? "Parents should look not only on the nutritional guides on the front of packages but also on the back," says certified integrative health and nutrition coach Liberty Mills. She recommends:
- Read the labels "Look out for added sugars and words such as syrups, dextrose, sucrose, molasses – all terms for sugar. As a rule of thumb, the less ingredients on the back means the less processed the cereal is and closer to its natural form."
- Note the portion size "The nutritional label's information is a guide based on an average adult’s intake of calories and adults daily recommended amount of sugar, not a child's."
- Know the sugar guidelines "The NHS recommends children aged seven to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day. Plus, children aged four to six should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day."
Portion size: 2 biscuits Sugar: 1.6g per serving Calories: 136 Fat: 0.8g
Top healthiest cereal for kids, alert! "Weetabix is higher in protein and fibre, and lower in sugar than most other cereals and are extremely versatile," says Mina. "This makes them a great choice for kids’ breakfasts. Get creative and pair with berries or a favourite yogurt."
2) Weetabix Banana
Portion size: 2 biscuits (adult size) Sugar: 5.7g per serving Calories: 159 Fat: 0.8g
If your kids think the original is too dull, then this banana version could be a great choice. "It's 100% whole grain wheat, high in fibre and tasty - what’s not to love?" says Mina. "Banana Weetabix are also fortified with riboflavin, niacin and folic acid, which help combat fatigue and contribute to overall health and wellness."
3) Kellogg's Rice Krispies Multigrain Shapes
Portion size: 30g (adult size) Sugar: 4.5g per serving Calories: 115 Fat: 0.9g
These shapes may be just the thing to appeal to your child, plus the flavour isn't too overwhelming, either. "Rice Krispies Multigrain variant is packed with vitamin D, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12 and iron," says Mina. "This makes it a great way of ensuring your child gets a good amount of nutrients right at the beginning of the day."
4) Kellogg's Corn Flakes
Portion size: 30g (adult size)Sugar: 2.4g per serving Calories: 113 Fat: 0.3g
"Corn Flakes are lower in fibre than other varieties of cereal, but they’re also packed with vitamins and minerals," says Mina. "They are also low in sugar and made from natural grains, making them a fantastic choice for breakfast for children."
5) WK Kellogg Kids Strawberry, Apple & Carrot Multigrain Shapes
Portion size: 30g (adult size) Sugar: 2.4g per serving Calories: 109 Fat: 0.8g
"This wholegrain cereal option is high in fibre, contains no artificial sugar and has been designed specifically for children," says Mina. "I’d definitely recommend this option."
6) Nestlé Cheerios Multigrain
Portion size: 30g (adult size) Sugar: 5.3g per serving Calories: 115 Fat: 1.4g
"Although this cereal contains a fair amount of sugar, it’s also high in fibre and is fortified with vitamin D and calcium," says Mina. "This makes it a relatively good choice compared to some of the other sugary cereal options." Plus, it tastes good without milk, ideal for fussy eaters.
7) Nestlé Cheerios Honey
"In terms of nutrition, there’s not much difference between Cheerios Multigrain and Cheerios Honey, as they both contain a moderate amount of sugar and are fortified with vitamins and minerals," says Mina. This choice might sound sweeter, though, which could be a reason your kids would want to try it.
8) Nestlé Shreddies Original
Portion size: 40g (adult size) Sugar: 5g per serving Calories: 145 Fat: 0.7g
"Original (unflavoured) Shreddies are an OK choice of breakfast cereal for children," says Mina. "They contain around 5g of sugar per serving which isn’t the best - but make up for it with the added iron and vitamin B."
9) Weetos Chocolate Cereal
Portion size: 30g (adult size) Sugar: 5.7g per serving Calories: 116 Fat: 1.3g
Kids love chocolate and refuses everything else? This is your pick. "Another one for children who are trying to improve their breakfast choices without losing the chocolatey taste is Weetos," says Mina. "With 5.7g of sugar per serving, they’re definitely not the healthiest cereal option. However, if you’re in the process of trying to get your child to reduce their sugar intake at breakfast time, this can be a great place to start."
10) Weetabix Crispy Minis Chocolate Chip
Portion size: 40g (adult size) Sugar: 8.4g per serving Calories: 156 Fat: 2.2g
"If your child is a lover of chocolatey cereals and you’re struggling to encourage them to try healthier options, this could be a good start," says Mina. "Although they’re fairly high in sugar, these contain a really good amount of fibre, which will help aid digestion and keep your child feeling energised and satisfied."
11) Kellogg's Rice Krispies
Portion size: 30g (adult size) Sugar: 2.4g per serving Calories: 116 Fat: 0.4g
"Rice Krispies are definitely not too bad in terms of their sugar content, however they are lower in fibre than other cereals on the market," says Mina.
12) Kellogg's Coco Pops
Portion size: 30g (adult size) Sugar: 5.1g per serving Calories: 115 Fat: 0.06g
"Over the last few years, Kellogg's has actually reduced the amount of sugar that goes into Coco Pops, with them now containing around 5g per bowl," says Mina. "They’re also fortified with vitamin D and contain no artificial sweeteners. However, they are low in fibre and the sugar content is still a little high."
13) Nestlé Cookie Crisp
Portion size: 30g (adult size) Sugar: 7g per serving Calories: 116 Fat: 1.5g
"Very low in fibre and fairly high in sugar, these are definitely not the best option when it comes to your child’s breakfast," says Mina. "If they’re big cookie fans, why not bake your own healthy cookies using oats and fruit for sweetness? These can even be batch baked at the weekend so that no prepping is required in the mornings."
14) NAT Bears Honey Cereal
Portion size: 32g per "bear" Sugar: 4.8g Calories: 139 Fat: 3.8g
"This option is made with whole grains, which is great in terms of slow release energy and aiding digestion," says Mina. "It’s also pre-portioned in the form of a bar, making it much less likely for your child to overeat."
15) Nestlé Golden Nuggets
Portion size: 30g (adult size) Sugar: 7g per serving Calories: 113 Fat: 0.5g
"These are another OK-ish choice when it comes to our children's breakfast cereal," says Mina. "They’re made from fortified wheat and maize, however are then flavoured with a substantial amount of sugar. If your child enjoys the taste of this cereal, try them out with plain cereal topped with a drizzle of real honey for a more nutritious start to their day."
16) Tesco Blueberry Wheats
Portion size: 45g (adult size) Sugar: 7.6g per serving Calories: 150 Fat: 0.6g
"This option has a fair amount of sugar due to the blueberry centre of each wheat biscuit," says Mina. "A much healthier alternative would be plain Shredded Wheat or Shreddies topped with a a handful of blueberries."
17) Honey Monster Wheat Puffs
Portion size: 30g (adult size) Sugar: 6.6g per serving Calories: 107 Fat: 0.5g
"Honey Monster Wheat Puffs contain a moderate amount of sugar, however not nearly as much as other varieties," says Mina. "They’re also fortified with vitamins and have a great fibre content, meaning they’re likely to help keep you fuller for longer."
18) Nestlé Frosted Shreddies
Portion size: 40g (adult size) Sugar: 10g per serving Calories: 148 Fat: 0.6g
"One serving of Frosted Shreddies contains the same amount of sugar as a Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo Bar," says Mina "However, they are relatively high in fibre and are fortified with vitamins and minerals. So, if you’re looking for an option that’s ‘the best of a bad bunch’, this may be it."
19) Curiously Cinnamon
Portion size: 30g (adult size) Sugar: 7.5g per serving Calories: 126 Fat: 3.1g
"Although they’re fortified with various vitamins, calcium and iron, the 7.5g of sugar per serving is even higher than chocolatey cereals, such as Coco Pops," says Mina. "If your child enjoys the taste of cinnamon, why not go for a healthier cereal and top with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon?"