Forget the eggs and bacon. America is ready for a healthier breakfast, and the solution is nothing out of the ordinary. Cereal is America’s timelessly reliable and versatile breakfast –– and there are plenty of plant-based options stocking the aisles of every major grocery store. Whether you want your breakfast to be healthy or indulgent, hot or cold, or sweet or savory, there is a vegan cereal brand specially catered to your taste buds.
With 283.39 million Americans eating breakfast cereal, cereal is the most popular breakfast in the United States. Surveying 2,500 adults in the United States, Kitchen Infinity found that eating cereal is America’s favorite way to kickstart the morning – surpassing toast, fruit, and even eggs!
It is not difficult to understand why Americans enjoy cereal. Not only is there a brand for everyone, but a bowl of cereal is also easy-to-prepare, affordable, and typically, full of essential nutrients. This grain-based breakfast can be sourced from a wide variety of ingredients including oats, wheat, barley, sorghum, maize, corn, rice, and millets.
What Makes Cereal Nutritious
Most importantly, cereals provide a great, essential source of energy. Cereals can provide nearly 30 percent of the total calories needed in a regular diet, ranking as one of the most widely consumed caloric foods in the United States.
Typically, cereal is packed with minerals including magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Other cereals contain varying levels of zinc, copper, and manganese. Most cereals also contain significant levels of fiber and protein that deliver essential nutrients to consumers at the beginning of their days. These nutrients include vitamin B, Vitamin E, thiamin, and folate. The high levels of fiber from whole wheat cereals have been linked to cancer risk reduction.
High-fiber cereal provides the most substantial health benefits. A morning breakfast filled with fiber not only helps reduce the risk of cancer but helps maintain blood sugar levels and lower constipation. These health benefits are linked to better gastrointestinal health and decreased risk of high blood pressure. Wheat can also help reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes and several cardiovascular diseases.
The biggest tips for choosing the best, healthier cereal for you or your kids are to find the lowest sugar, aim for higher fiber, read the ingredient list, and add some ingredients of your own. For example, choose some vegan yogurt, nuts, or a selection of your favorite fruits for your morning meal.
Why Are Most Cereals Not Vegan?
Several major cereal brands surprisingly contain no animal products at all including Cap’n Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunch, and Kellogg’s Mini Wheats. But some habits can be hard to break. Those who love brands such as Lucky Charms, Honey Nut Cheerios, Special K, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Rice Krispies fail to cater to plant-based breakfast lovers.
But why? Major cereal companies rely on several popular and sneaky animal-derived ingredients. But before purchasing your favorite cereal, double-check its ingredient list to see if anything makes it not vegan.
- Milk-Based Proteins: You can avoid milk in the bow, but the cereal might already contain dairy protein isolates.
- Honey: The main ingredients keeping Honey Nut Cheerios or Honeycombs away from vegan shoppers.
- Vitamin D3: This sneaky ingredient is not vegan because most vitamin D3 is derived from sheep’s wool.
- Gelatin: The same ingredient keeping vegans away from marshmallows is often used in several popular bowls of cereal including Rice Krispies and Lucky Charms.
- Refined White Sugar: Occasionally, sugar content is refined using bone char, rending this ingredient absolutely not vegan. Organic cane sugar does not use bone chat, making it the most common replacement.
Choose Your Favorite Vegan Milk
Even though there are some dry cereal lovers, a good plant-based cereal deserves proper dairy-free milk. Luckily, the plant-based milk market is one of the fastest-growing vegan industries worldwide. The plant-based milk market is expected to reach $30.79 billion by 2031, according to Future Market Insights.
Instead of eating cereal without any milk, there are plenty of plant-based options perfect for whatever cereal you decide on. From Oatly to Moola, check out The Beet’s favorite plant-based milk to accompany your healthy, vegan cereal.
The Best Vegan Cereals
Bob’s Red Mill Muesli Fruit and Seed
Eaten hot or cold, Bob’s Red Mill’s Muesli delivers a simple, tasty breakfast option, filled with nutritious grains, nuts, and dried fruit. Containing 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving, this cereal ranks as one of the most gut-healthy options you can find. Fans who have reviewed Bob’s on Amazon tell you it’s best to soak your muesli in yogurt or milk overnight to soften the grains and provide a juicier bite. And they’re right! Choose your favorite oat milk or dairy-free yogurt and prepare your breakfast the night before to start your morning off right!
Total Fat 3.5g, Saturated Fat 1g
Ezekial 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal – Almond
You may know Ezekial’s high-protein bread, but the company also makes cereal sold in a striking gold-colored box that is hard to miss on the shelf. Named after the verse Ezekial 4:9 which reads: “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.” Or, in this case, cereal. The Almond flavored Whole Grain Cereal is packed with 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per serving. This flourless cereal contains less than 1 gram of sugar and no saturated fat. For a health boost in the morning, then try Ezekial 4:9.
Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0g
Forager Project Organic Grain-Free O’s – Chocolate
Forager’s chocolate cereal provides a cereal so tasty that you won’t believe it’s actually nutritious. With 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, this grain-free cereal surpasses other leading brands. The indulgently chocolate flavor somehow manages to taste like kids’ cereal but without the usual added sugar. Made from chickpeas, navy beans, and pea protein, this plant-based cereal gives chocolate lovers a reason to rejoice.
Total Fat 1.5g, Saturated Fat 0g
Post Grape Nuts
You might not get excited about Grape Nuts when you first try them, but these highly nutritious, plant-based nubs are actually high in protein and add a much-desired crunch to your parfait or other cereal bowls. Add your favorite fruits or non-dairy yogurt to this crunchy cereal for a healthy start to your morning. With just 1 gram of fat (and zero sat fat), 6 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fiber per serving, you can feel great about starting your day with a 1/2cup of Grape Nuts or make it an any-time snack.
Total Fat 1g, Saturated Fat 0g
One Degree Brown Rice Cacao Crisps
Going plant-based means that you probably had to give up the snap, crackle, pop of your favorite classic Rice Kripsies, but try One Degree’s Brown Rice Cacao Crisps which satisfies the same craving. These are a healthier version of your beloved childhood Cocoa Krispies. With all organic ingredients, One Degree assures that everything in the box comes from “farmers we know.” This low-fat cereal is perfect for a heart-healthy breakfast.
Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 0.5g
Barbara’s Puffins – Peanut Butter
Barbara’s Puffins can be enjoyed with your favorite plant-based milk or straight out of the box. This crunchy peanut butter cereal is highly addictive, giving cereal lovers a low-fat option with 3 grams of protein per cup. The peanut butter flavor manages to be not too sweet, but still tastes like a treat. This corn-based cereal uses real peanut butter to keep you coming back to pour another bowl.
Total Fat 2.5g, Saturated Fat 0.5g
Three Wishes Cinnamon
Three Wishes manages to do the impossible by granting your wish for low-sugar cereal that still tastes like a treat. With 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving, this cereal is one of the most nutrient-dense options you can find. Made with chickpea, tapioca, organic cane sugar, monk fruit, and pea protein, this allergen-friendly cereal creates a delectable choice and a smart start to the day.
Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 0g