Whole grain cereal

Best Whole Grain Cereal That Actually Tastes Good

A 50g serving contains:
Energy 755kJ / 183kcal, 9% of your RI
Fat 3.1g, 5% of your RI
Saturates 0.7g, 3% of your RI
Sugars 10.6g, 12% of your RI
Salt 0.17, 3%

Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst

We’ve ranked the most popular cereals from best to worst based on their nutritional value – in particular added sugar, fibre content, salt. Read on to get your day off to a heart-healthy start.

1. Porridge

porridge with blueberries

Porridge is our top choice for a heart healthy breakfast – when it is made with low-fat milk or water and unsweetened. All porridge oats are wholegrains and they all contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which can help lower your cholesterol level if you have 3g or more of it daily, as part of a healthy diet. (A 40g serving of porridge oats contains 1.6g of beta-glucan.) As well as this, you’ll be getting the fibre from the whole grains, plus there is no added sugar or salt.

Make sure you don’t add extra sugar or salt to your porridge as this will undo all your good work – instead, try adding a banana or some fruit for extra sweetness. For every 80g that you add it will be one of your 5-a-day at the same time.

A serving of porridge made with 40g of oats and semi-skimmed milk contains:

Energy 1016kJ / 241kcal, 12% of your Reference Intake (RI)
Fat 6.2g, 9% of your RI
Saturates 2.5g, 13% of your RI
Sugars 8.2g, 9% of your RI
Salt 0.2g, 3% of your RI

A 40g serving of oats (not made up) contains:
Energy 645kJ / 152kcal, 7.6% of your RI
Fat 3.2g, 5% of your RI
Saturates 0.5g, 2.6% of your RI
Sugars 0.1g, 0.1% of your RI

  • Our expert answers the question ‘Instant or traditional porridge?’
  • Try our 14 delicious heart-healthy porridge variations

Want to get fit and healthy?

Sign up to our fortnightly Heart Matters newsletter to receive healthy recipes, new activity ideas, and expert tips for managing your health. Joining is free and takes two minutes.

2. No added sugar or salt muesli

no added sugar muesli

No added sugar muesli contains a mixture of grains, fruit and nuts and the combination will differ between brands and varieties so the amount of oat beta glucans will be more variable than porridge, which is made only of oats. The dried fruit that is added should provide all the additional sweetness you need and will also count towards your five a day but choose a muesli with no added sugar and be aware that many fruit and nut mueslis (especially tropical fruit versions) contain sweetened dried fruit, which means they have sugar added even if it isn’t listed separately on the ingredients. Banana chips are another popular muesli ingredient that will contain added sugars and saturated fats.

A 50g Swiss-style no added sugar or salt muesli serving contains:
Energy 758kJ / 179kcal, 9% of your RI
Fat 2.9g, 4% of your RI
Saturates 0.6g, 3% of your RI
Sugars 6.5g, 7% of your RI
Salt 0.08g, 1%

  • Why not try making your own delicious and healthy Apricot muesli or Bircher muesli?

3. Shredded whole wheat cereal

shredded wheat

Shredded whole wheat cereal with low-fat milk is the best choice of conventional breakfast cereals, because it doesn’t contain any added sugar or salt, and is high in fibre. Watch out, though, for the kind with fruit fillings, which may contain added sugar, or that are ‘frosted’ as they will almost certainly will have sugar added. Instead try adding fresh fruit such as a banana or berries for sweetness.

A 45g serving contains:
Energy 688kJ / 163kcal, 8% of your RI
Fat 1.0g, 1% of your RI
Saturates 0.2g, 1% of your RI
Sugars 0.3g, Salt 0.02g,

4. Bran flakes

Bran flakes

Wholegrain cereals like bran flakes, malted wheat cereal and wheat biscuits are high in fibre and will also have sugar and salt added to them usually, so avoid adding any more sugar and opt for fruits or berries for sweetness. The wholegrains mean they are high in fibre and so have benefits for your digestion too as well as your heart health.

For a ready to eat cereal that is an even more heart-healthy start to the day, swap for a shredded whole wheat cereal or no added sugar or salt muesli (see above) as these don’t contain any added sugar or salt.

A 30g serving contains:
Energy 425kJ / 100kcal, 5.0% of your RI
Fat 0.7g, 1.0% of your RI
Saturates 0.1g, 1% of your RI
Sugars 6.3g, 7% of your RI
Salt 0.27g, 5% of your RI

5. Cornflakes

corn flakes

Cereals like cornflakes or puffed rice served with low-fat milk – can be part of a healthy breakfast but are low in fibre so not as good a choice as a wholegrain cereal. Adding a piece of fruit will help to balance your breakfast as well as making it more filling to eat. These cereals, and their wholegrain equivalents, usually come with added sugar and salt but also often have added vitamins and minerals which are good for your overall health. Other low-fibre unsweetened cereals (like crisped rice or malted flakes) will be similar from a heart health point of view.

Salt levels do vary between the brands so make sure you check the nutritional labels before you buy.

A 30g serving contains:
Energy 481kJ / 113kcal, 6.0 % of your RI
Fat 0.2g, 0% of your RI
Saturates Sugars 2.2g, 2% of your RI
Salt 0.13g, 2% of your RI

6. Muesli with added sugar

muesli with added sugar

Most people naturally believe muesli to be healthy, and it does have a lot to commend it, but if you don’t check that you’re buying one with no added sugar or salt it can contain almost as much sugar as a bowl of frosted flakes. You’ll still get some health benefits from the nuts, grains and fruit but these are offset by the sugar, so be sure to always choose no-added sugar muesli.

A 50g serving contains:
Energy 755kJ / 183kcal, 9% of your RI
Fat 3.1g, 5% of your RI
Saturates 0.7g, 3% of your RI
Sugars 10.6g, 12% of your RI
Salt 0.17, 3%

  • See our infographic of how much sugar is in different foods

6. Sugar-frosted cornflakes

sugar frosted flakes

Sugar-frosted cornflakes are high in sugar and low in fibre as well as usually coming with added salt. Sugar-frosted flakes are usually nutritionally similar to other sweetened cereals like chocolate rice cereals, or honey-nut coated cereals. Swapping to an unsweetened equivalent, like cornflakes or puffed rice, would be a good first step and add a serving of fruit for one of your five- a-day plus some added sweetness.

A 30g serving contains:
Energy 447kJ / 105kcal, 5% of your RI
Fat 0.2g, < 1% of your RI
Saturates Sugars 11.5g, 13% of your RI
Salt 0.2g, 4% of your RI

7. Granola with dried fruit, nuts or seeds


This sounds healthy but isn’t, as it’s high in fat and sugar. An average portion of granola with nuts is 60g, which without milk packs in 270 kcal and 12.3g fat of which 2.8g is saturated fat. Serve this with 125ml of full fat milk and this adds another 81 kcal and 4.6g of fat of which 2.9g is saturated fat. Which why it made our list of 12 foods you wouldn’t believe are so fatty.

Why not try swapping granola for heart-healthy no-added sugar muesli?

A 60g serving contains:
Energy 1135kJ / 270kcal, 14% of your RI
Fat 13.3g, 19% of your RI
Saturates 2.7g, 14% of your RI
Sugars 10.8g, 12% of your RI

8. Granola with chocolate

chocolate granola

Granola with chocolate has all the same issues that regular granola has, in that it’s high in fat and sugar, but with added chocolate – so even more fat and more sugar! Granola with chocolate is best enjoyed as an occasional treat.

A 50g serving contains:
Energy 924kJ / 220kcal, 11% RI
Fat 15g, 21% RI
Saturates 6.8g, 34% RI
Sugars 24g, 27% RI
Salt 0.5g, 8% RI

  • Shopping basket tool
  • Obesity myths
  • Shockingly fatty foods
  • Surprisingly sugary foods
  • What does 100 calories look like?
  • How much sugar is in different foods?
  • How bad are sugary drinks for your health?
  • Watch: What is the Mediterranean diet?
  • Eating out
  • Subscribe to Heart Matters

Best Whole Grain Cereal That Actually Tastes Good

best whole grain cereal

Credit: Merc / Instacart / Walmart / Target

The best whole grain cereal not only checks the healthy box, it also tastes good. Okay, maybe not Cocoa Puffs good, but it shouldn’t be tough to tell the difference between it and a bowlful of hay. We taste tested 15 top whole grain cereal brands to find the best whole grain cereals you can buy. You can thank us in the morning. I love whole grain cereals. I like my cereal to taste hearty and full of nutrients. I don’t want the cereal brands to sugarcoat it (literally), I just want flakes and clusters and oats. So, I was one of the few Sporked team members who was excited about tasting through 15 different boxes of whole grain cereal. Here’s what I was looking for: good flavor, texture, and perceived healthfulness. I want not only the best tasting whole grain cereal, but I also want it to maintain its crunch after being submerged in milk—and I want to know (or at least feel like) I’m starting the day off responsibly. Here is the best whole grain cereal you can buy at the grocery store. The following article contains affiliate links that may generate a small commission to us when you make a purchase through the link. Learn more about how we work with affiliates here.

I loved the variety of textures in this whole grain cereal. There are sandy bits. There are clumps. There are rice puffs and oats. It’s almost granola—but not quite. It’s not as dense, so it still qualifies as cereal. The flavor is somewhat akin to Honey Smacks—light and honeyed and the perfect level of sweet with a sprinkling of cinnamon. It’s really everything I look for in a cereal. It also boasts 9g of protein so you won’t crash an hour later. It’s the best whole grain cereal for pretty much anyone. Credit: Merc / Walmart