Is Cereal Good For Weight Loss? The Top 3 Healthiest Plant-Based Cereals!

By Lily | Last Updated:  April 19, 2021
 

Cereals are a staple in our diet. However, cereal is not usually thought of as being healthy for weight loss.

What some people don’t know is that cereals can also be a part of your weight loss strategy!

There are plant-based cereals you can buy that are made with whole grains, high fiber, high protein, and low sugar.

But, is cereal good for weight loss? Today I want to share with you my list of the top 3 plant-based cereals to help you healthily lose weight! 

Does Cereal Make You Fat?

Cereal can make you fat if you are not eating the right kind.

It’s unfortunate that 85% of cereals out there are full of sugar. They can contain ingredients such as processed oils, maltodextrin, corn syrup, and as I’ve pointed out, tons of sugar!

Worst of all, they barely have any nutritional value and will leave you feeling hungry again in an hour or two. 

The truth is that if you want to lose weight, eating cereal for breakfast is not optimal. However, I get it, we grown-ups love eating cereal too!

Is It Okay To Eat Cereal Every Day While On A Diet?

Although I would suggest not having cereal every morning as a part of your weight-loss diet, it is ok to have cereal a few times per week.

Is cereal good for weight loss? Cereal is not as filling for breakfast when compared to eggs or oatmeal, so if you are hungry within the first two hours after eating, this might be an issue.

However, if you eat cereal that is high in fiber and protein (like the ones I recommend below), the chances of you staying full until lunchtime are much greater!

Can I Have a Bowl of Cereal Every Morning Or At Night?

You can have cereal every morning or night and lose weight, but at the end of the day, you still need to be in a calorie deficit.

Can You Lose Weight By Eating Cereal?

The brief answer is yes! You can lose weight by eating cereal.

But, depending on the type of cereal you choose, it could make this process much slower and painful, or faster and smooth sailing!

For example: if you were choosing between high vs low sugar cereals and low vs high protein cereals, you need to choose the low sugar and high protein cereal.

I liked cereal as a kid, but it was never my go-to breakfast. My dad would only allow me to eat the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal (the one with the green rooster).

Now that I think back, I am grateful for what he did. I appreciate he cared about my health when I didn’t know any better. 

Eating the right cereal will help you stay under your allotted calorie allowance per day.

You must know how many calories you should be eating. If you still have not figured this out, check out my blog post “How many Calories Should You Eat To Lose Weight” for detailed information.

woman breakfast plant based

Top Tips For Picking Cereal To Help With Weight-Loss

Here is my recommendation for picking is cereal if you are trying to lose weight:

1. Cereal that is high in fiber, 5 grams or above.

2. Cereal that is high in protein, 5 grams or above (check where these cereals are getting the protein before, some excellent sources of protein are lentils, chickpeas, beans, and pea protein).

3. Cereal that is low in sugar, 5 grams or fewer.

4. Cereal that is made from whole grains, ex. wheat, lentils, chickpeas, peas, etc.

The reason you want a cereal that is high in protein and fiber is to help keep you full for a long time. In turn, you will eat less and lose weight. 

How To Eat Your Cereal For Maximum Results

Here are some tips when eating cereal for weight loss:

Use Plant-Based Milk

Almond and cashew milk are great because they are very low in calories.

One cup of almond milk has about 30 calories. One cup of cashew milk has about 25 calories!

Compared that to whole milk, which has about 150 calories.

Add Protein

If you want to add some flavor to your cereal and increase the protein to help you keep full longer, try adding a tablespoon of powdered peanut butter or protein powder.

Avoid Adding Sugar

If you must make your cereal sweeter, use Monk Fruit Sweetener, Stevia, or organic berries instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Pay Attention To Portions  

It is easy to overeat when eating cereal.

The best way to ensure you are eating an appropriate serving is to measure your cereal and use a milk measuring cup.

That way, you know exactly how many calories you are eating!

What To Avoid In Cereal If You Wany To Lose Weight

Most people don’t realize how unhealthy cereal can be. It might seem like an easy, quick and light breakfast, however, it might set you back from achieving your weight-loss goals.

Read The Ingredients List

You might feel self-conscious when you grab the box of cereal at the grocery store to look at the label. However, knowing what you are putting inside your body is vital.

Here are some ingredients you need to avoid as much as possible:

Sugar

Sugar is detrimental to your weight-loss goals because it is high in calories. Sugar can also make you hungry, as it can increase levels of the hormone ghrelin in your body. 

If you are trying to lose weight, you should try to avoid sugar as much as you can.

If you must sweeten your cereal, add a little of monk fruit or stevia instead.

The goal is that eventually, you won’t have to add anything to sweeten your food as your taste buds will change. 

Processed Oils

Cereal can have processed oils, such as soybean oil, canola oil, or sunflower seed. These oils are high in polyunsaturated fats, which your body cannot break down.

Fillers

Some fillers that cereal may contain are high-fructose corn syrup, wheat gluten, soy protein isolate, and maltodextrin. These can cause inflammation in your body.

Inferior Grains

Cereal can contain second-rate grains such as refined flour, processed wheat, and rice.

Grains should be unrefined such as whole grain oats or quinoa flakes to get the most nutrients.   

The Top 3 Cereal Brands To Lose Weight

I eat cereal for breakfast about two to three times a week, either for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

However, is cereal good for weight loss? It can be if you are very careful about the cereal that you buy.

The cereals I recommend below are not perfect, but they are far better compared to other brands.

If you are trying to lose weight, try these cereals (in order from most to least favorite):

1. Three Wishes

Three Wishes cereal has about 120 calories, 8 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and only 3 grams of sugar per serving (3/4 cup).

The ingredients general are: chickpea, pea protein, tapioca, organic cane sugar, cinnamon, natural flavors, salt, monk fruit.

I find this cereal at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Erewhon, and Wegman’s grocery stores. You can also buy it on the Three Wishes website, but it will cost you more.

three wishes cereal

2. Kashi Go Keto Friendly

Kashi Go Keto Friendly cereal has about 160 calories, 12 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 1 of sugar per serving (1 cup).

The ingredients general are: lentil protein, sunflower oil, chickpea flour, pea protein, tapioca starch, allulose, chicory root fiber, cocoa†, guar gum, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, natural flavors, monk fruit extract, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) for freshness, rosemary extract for freshness.

I can usually find this cereal at Target or Walmart.

kashi go keto cereal

3. Magic Spoon

Magic Spoon cereal has about 140 calories, 12 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of sugar per serving (1 cup).

The ingredients general are: Milk Protein Blend, Sweetener Blend, Oil Blend, Tapioca Starch, Chicory Root Inulin, Natural Flavors, Salt.

magic spoon cereal

I believe it can only be bought online, as I’ve never seen it in stores. This brand is more expensive than the other two I’ve mentioned.

Why Are My Recommend Cereal Brands More Expensive

The brands of cereal I buy are a bit more expensive than other cereals, about $5-6 per box. 

I know what you might think, “Oh my god! $5 for a box of cereal! I can buy cereal for $2!”

However, I like to think about it this way: if I go to Starbucks and buy an egg sandwich and a coffee, that is already $5+, and I only ate once. 

With that money, I can buy an entire box of cereal and eat breakfast all week. If you think about it this way, you are saving money and eating healthier!  

What Is The Lowest Calorie Breakfast Cereal?

If your goal is to lose weight, I understand the temptation to want to buy the lowest-calorie cereal.

The lowest calorie cereals you will find in the market are around 100 calories per cup.

Although calories are important, also check the cereal’s fiber and protein content. A high protein and fiber cereal will help keep you full longer.

Some of the lowest calorie cereals in the market are:

  1. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes (100 calories per cup)
  2. Multigrain Cheerios (110 calories per cup)
  3. Rice Chex (110 calories per cup)
  4. Fiber One Original Bran (120 calories per cup)

Honorable Mentions

Several other cereal brands are healthier than most brands out there.

However, they just don’t have as much fiber or protein as I believe to be adequate to help specifically with weight loss, which is why they didn’t make it into my list. 

But if you aren’t looking to lose weight, these are the brands I recommended:

  1. Grape Nuts
  2. Ezekial
  3. Barbara’s
  4. Alpen
  5. Love Grown
  6. Nature’s path
  7. Arrowhead’s Mills
  8. Cascadian Farms
  9.  Kashi

Is Special K Cereal Good For Weight Loss?

Kellog used to promote a 14-day challenge they called “The Special K Challenge” which claimed it could help you lose up to 6 pounds in 2 weeks.

The problem with following these kinds of diets is that it often becomes tough to maintain.

To keep weight off, you need to have the right mindset and understand the basic science of weight loss. Ideas and facts that Special K doesn’t teach you.

If you still want to eat Special K cereal, I recommend you buy the “Kellogg’s Special K Original Cereal”. In my opinion, it has the best nutrition label out of the bunch.

It has about 150 calories, 7 grams of protein, 0 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of sugar per serving (1 1/4 cups).

Besides the fact that Special K Original cereal doesn’t have any fiber, the protein and sugar amount cut it very close to the requirements I listed above for a good cereal.

What I don’t like about this cereal are the ingredients: Rice, wheat gluten, sugar, defatted wheat germ, contains 2% or less of salt, malt flavor.

I don’t want any of that in my body!

Conclusion

Most cereals are high in sugar, low in protein, and low in fiber. High-sugar cereals can cause a spike in blood sugar, which leads to an energy crash and hunger.

Cereal is the most popular breakfast food, but it’s also one of the highest calorie options available. So, is cereal good for weight loss?

To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn each day—and that means skipping the sugary cereal bowls for more nutritious plant-based options.

Brands such as Three Wishes, Kashi Go Keto, and Magic Spoon are great cereal choices for weight loss.

Now you don’t need to give up cereal for breakfast, even if you are on a weight loss journey!