These 6 Protein-Packed Cereals Prove We’ve Come a Long Way From Lucky Charms

Art: W+G Creative
For a very, very long time, breakfast cereal has been divided into two camps: fun, kid-approved cereals like Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, and Fruit Loops, and "healthy" cereals like Grape Nuts and Oat Bran. (Anyone else consider the latter strictly "dad cereals?")

If you wanted a cereal that actually had some protein and fiber in it—and wasn't loaded with sugar—it seemed like you basically had to cash in your personality and reach for something bland. Sigh. To that end, even some cereals that have branded themselves as "nutrient-rich" often don't contain enough protein to make them sufficiently well-rounded or filling. To put things into perspective, you may be wondering, "Do Cheerios have high protein?" The answer is simple: No, not really. For context, Honey Nut Cheerios have only three grams of protein and a boatload of added sugar, 12 grams per cup serving, to be exact.

Experts In This Article
  • Gabi Lewis, co-founder of Magic Spoon
  • John Gibb, John Gibb is the co-founder of HighKey Snacks, a healthy cereal and snack brand.
  • Krishna Kaliannan, Krishna Kaliannan is the CEO and founder of Catalina Crunch, a healthy cereal, cookie, and snack brand.
  • Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, registered dietitian and prenatal and postnatal health expert
  • Margaret Wishingrad, Margaret Wishingrad is the CEO and co-founder of Three Wishes, a healthy cereal brand.
  • Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, New York-based registered dietitian
  • Roger Willis, shaunte Mears Watkins is the senior brand manager for Kashi, a maker of whole grain cereals and other plant-based foods sourced from regular farming practices.

Considering that consuming sufficient protein at breakfast is of the utmost importance, it's no wonder that cereal is often overlooked. What's more, when registered dietitians are asked for breakfast recs, they're far more likely to recommend eggs or avocado toast over a good ol' bowl of cereal.

Things are changing, though. Recently, new breakfast cereals have emerged with a reimagined ethos: Nutritious and delicious (emphasis on the nutritious). Nowadays, several healthy cereal brands have been popping up that are *actually* nutrient-dense while still being fun and delicious—and, most importantly, they definitely deliver on the protein front.

Ahead are six of our favorite high-protein cereal brands and what a registered dietitian's expert take is on each one. Truth is: The only thing that would make 'em sweeter is if a toy was hidden in each box.

6 high-protein cereal brands that taste delicious

magic spoon fruity cereal
Photo: Magic Spoon
Magic Spoon Fruity Cereal, Pack of 4 Boxes — $39.00

What’s in it: Milk protein blend (casein whey protein concentrate), sweetener blend (allulose, monk fruit extract), oil blend (high oleic sunflower oil, avocado oil), tapioca starch, inulin (from chicory root), natural flavor, salt, turmeric extract, spirulina extract, vegetable juice.

What the brand says: Magic Spoon co-founder Gabi Lewis says the brand experimented with many different protein sources (including collagen and pea protein) before landing on a blend of milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate. “We chose them because these protein sources are extremely high quality, containing all the essential amino acids,” Lewis says. “They also created the best taste and texture for our cereal, adding a subtle background flavor that pairs perfectly with milk.”

For sweetener, Lewis says they picked allulose (found in figs and raisins) and monk fruit over cane sugar. “Both of these sweeteners are totally natural and won’t spike blood sugar,” he says. The end result is a cereal that’s nutrient-rich while still tasting sweet.

What an RD thinks: Registered dietitian Melissa Rifkin, RD, confirms Lewis’s statement about the protein sources being good quality, although she does point out that if someone is vegan or sensitive to dairy, this isn’t the best cereal option for them. While she does say it’s a great high-protein cereal, she does say the fiber content is low, with just one gram. Rifkin suggests boosting the fiber content by adding fruit on top! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

three wishes cereal
Photo: Three Wishes
Three Wishes Cinnamon Grain-Free Cereal, Pack of 4 — $33.00

What’s in it: Chickpea, pea protein, tapioca, organic cane sugar, cinnamon, salt, monk fruit.

What the brand says: “We chose pea protein and chickpea as the protein sources because they created the right taste and texture that we wanted in order to mimic classic cereal in a healthier way,” CEO and co-founder Margaret Wishingrad says. “When most people complain about ‘better-for-you’ products, it has to do with a mismatch in what they get and what they expect in texture. We spent two years formulating and love when we get the feedback that we got that texture just right.”

What an RD thinks: Rifkin personally loves Three Wishes, both in terms of nutrition and taste. “The light ‘O’ shapes are delicious and are dairy and soy free, making this a great option for those with allergies or sensitivities,” she says. Rifkin says that while the fiber and protein aren’t super high (three grams and eight grams, respectively), it’s still more than what most traditional breakfast cereals have. Win-win.

high protein cereal ezekiel
Photo: Amazon
Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal, Pack of 6 — $48.00

What’s in it: Organic sprouted whole wheat, organic malted barley, organic sprouted whole barley, organic sprouted whole millet, organic sprouted whole lentils, organic sprouted whole soybeans, organic sprouted whole spelt, filtered water, sea salt.

What the brand says: Inspired by their world-famous original Ezekiel 4:9 Bread, this cereal has a simple flavor and can be used as a topping for yogurt, ice cream, or as a snack. The cereal contains no refined sugar, preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors, as well as no shortening and cholesterol. Plus, it has a whopping eight grams of protein and six grams of fiber per half-cup serving.

What an RD thinks: According to Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT, a registered dietitian based in Charleston, there’s no denying that this Ezekiel cereal is packed with good-for-you ingredients. “The grains in this cereal are sprouted, allowing for the nutrients provided in these ingredients to be more bioavailable, aka our bodies may utilize the nutrients more efficiently,” Manaker says. What’s more, she notes that this cereal also has a decent amount of protein and fiber, which may mean that it has a bit more “staying power” by offering some serious satiety.

So, in case you were wondering, what is the best high protein, high fiber cereal? This is one of your best bets.

kashi go
Photo: Kashi
Kashi Go Dark Cocoa — $5.00

What’s in it: 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.

What the brand says: Another cereal that just hit shelves, senior brand manager Roger Willis says using protein from plants was a must for the brand. “We wanted to use plant proteins that provide nutrients like fiber and minerals,” he says. “Likewise, plant-based protein is also a great option to be inclusive of a number of dietary preferences.” He says it was also important that there was a variety of sources—not just one source—which is best for both health and biodiversity.

What an RD thinks: “Love the fiber content, protein is excellent, and the sugar is just one gram,” Rifkin says. “All together, this is unbelievably outstanding!” Enough said.

Catalina crunch
Photo: Catalina Crunch
Catalina Crunch Maple Waffle Cereal, Pack of 6 — $54.00

What’s in it: Pea protein, potato fiber, non-GMO corn fiber, chicory root fiber, guar gum, tapioca flour, organic high oleic sunflower oil, baking powder, natural flavors, sea salt, calcium carbonate, stevia extract.

What the brand says: CEO and founder Krishna Kaliannan says the brand landed on pea protein because it’s a great protein source with a mild taste. The cereal doesn’t have any sugar or artificial ingredients at all—something that was important to the brand but hard for them to figure out. “We spent years trying to make the cereals taste sweet without added sugar,” Kaliannan says. “We scoured the world and found that many folks in Thailand sweeten their tea with monk fruit. Monk fruit is naturally sweet but doesn’t contain sugar, making it a great fit for folks who are ditching sugar but still want to eat sweets.”

What an RD thinks: Rifkin is into the protein and fiber sources in this cereal, but she does say it has a lot of fiber, so if you aren’t used to a lot of the nutrient in your diet (or at breakfast time), start with a small serving to avoid any gas, bloating, or digestive distress. Hey, sometimes less is more.

high protein cereal purely elizabeth
Photo: Amazon
Purely Elizabeth Vanilla Blueberry Almond Superfood Cereal — $8.00

What’s in it: Sorghum, organic certified gluten-free oats, almonds, maple syrup, dried blueberries (blueberries, cane sugar, sunflower oil), organic coconut oil, organic coconut sugar, organic quinoa, organic coconut nectar, cinnamon, sea salt, organic puffed amaranth, vanilla extract, organic chia seeds, organic plant-based vitamin D3 (VegD3), vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) added to preserve freshness.

What the brand says: As labeled on the box, this cereal is “full of the good stuff.” By that, they mean it’s a gluten-free cereal that’s non-GMO, packed with vitamin D, made from sustainably-sourced coconut sugar, and has no artificial flavors. What’s more, the woman-owned brand focuses on delivering delicious taste and nutrition. Each serving contains six grams of fiber, along with five grams of protein.

According to the company website, “each box combines crispy oat and ancient grain flakes with crunchy superfood clusters, dried blueberries and almonds for irresistible taste and texture. Intentionally crafted with whole food ingredients, you can see, sweetened with sustainably sourced coconut sugar—and never anything artificial.”

What an RD thinks: “The Purely Elizabeth cereal is gluten-free and made with quality ingredients like sorghum, which is an ancient grain. I appreciate that this cereal has added vitamin D, as this is a nutrient that many of us are not consuming enough of. The fiber factor helps make this breakfast satisfying, too,” Manaker says. Basically, it’s grrrrreat!

With these high-protein cereal brands, you don't have to decide between a delicious breakfast and a nutrient-rich one. Ahead a registered dietitian answers the ultimate questions on our minds: Is high-protein cereal good for you? And the answer is straightforward: Yes! (At least for most folks.) Plus, one thing's for sure: They're far from your dad's Grape Nuts. Phew.

BTW, if you're on the hunt for some extra sweet shuteye, might we suggest some Sweet Dreams cereal? On the other hand, if plant-based is what your'e looking for, we have tons of great high-protein vegan breakfast ideas to try.

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