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Tasty healthy cold cereal?

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I'm thinking of strting to eat cold cereal for breakfast. There are about a million choices of cereal at the store. Totally overwhelming, so I'm hoping to get some recommendations. Here are some things that I'd like:

* not too sweet
* moderate calorie count
* tasty, not like cardboard
* good source of whole grains and fiber
* filling enough to more or less last until lunch
* dried fruit is ok
* no preservatives, HFCS, artificial anything including sweetners
* no hot cereals - I hate them!

I'm probably forgetting something, but thanks!

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  1. I like the Kashi line of Go Lean cereals. http://kashi.com/products/category/Co...

    I don't like milk, so I just snack on them, but from what I hear they go pretty good with the white liquid stuff ...

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I will second Kashi. I'm a college student and looked for a very long time for a healthy, not-terribly-expensive cereal and GoLean was what I settled on. As a result I've ordered a few 6-packs of boxes (over a year or so). It's a great cereal because it's high in fiber and protein and is only mildly sweet. And when I say mild, i do mean mild, not just in comparison to Cocoa Puffs.

      Note that this Golean and not GoLean Crunch. Crunch is much sweeter.

    2. I've got a batch of granola in the oven as I type - I make a couple of cookie sheets at once and it allows me to control how sweet / what's in it. The one I have in the oven is:
      7 cups rolled oats
      1/2 cup flaked coconut
      1 cup wheat germ
      1 cup almonds, chopped
      1 cup pecans, chopped
      1 cup sunflower seeds
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      3/4 cup maple syrup
      3/4 cup vegetable oil
      1/2 tablespoon vanilla
      1 cup raisins
      1 cup dried cranberries
      1 cup date bits

      Preheat oven to 250. Combine all dry ingredients (excluding fruit), then add in liquids and mix with your hands. Spread over 2 large cookie sheets, bake for 2 hours, stirring after the first hour or so. Let cool completely, then add dried fruit & store in airtight jars.

      1 Reply
      1. re: THewat

        I've been eating Special K..the one with yogurt bits and fruit bits. pretty good..

      2. I really like the Trader Joe's brand of Toasted Oat Flakes. They come in a brown box.

        1. +1 on Kashi cereals.

          As far as keeping you full, a good balance of fat, protein, and fiber is key! I always chuckle when people eat a cup of cereal with half a cup of skim milk for a total of <200 calories (at 7:00) and then complain that they're hungry by ten. Well, of course you are! If I aim for a breakfast of around 500 cals, I a) don't get hungry until lunchtime, and b) eat less the rest of the day. Even the best cold cereal will likely let you down in the fat department unless you're eating it with copious amounts of whole milk, so throw a handful of almonds into one of those yummy Kashi cereals and you're set.

          My go-to most mornings is bircher muesli, because I can make most of it the night before. I just get up, mix in the fruit and yogurt, and I'm out the door. I use this recipe, cut down to one serving: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/494/b... but with more berries, or whatever other fruit I have on hand. It's insanely, unaccountably delicious.

          2 Replies
          1. re: LauraGrace

            I love muesli too, but I soak in the yogurt overnight. I like the texture.

            1. re: magiesmom

              I just soak it in juice overnight, and then mix in the yogurt in the morning. For some reason I prefer the texture that way! That Taste.com.au recipe is dynamite -- highly recommended!

          2. Ate Grape Nuts for years until I decided it could've been responsible for a couple of cracked teeth. Now my go-to cereal is Nature's Path "Heritage" flakes, made with wheat, oats, spelt, barley, millet & quinoa. Good flavor, not too sweet, and -- most important -- doesn't get soggy that quickly. Look for it in the natural food section. (TJ's has it too.)

            10 Replies
            1. re: azveggieguy

              My normal every-other-day cereal (alternate w/eggs) is the Go-Lean Crunch, which I eat with milk and a sliced banana on it. My special-treat cereal is Grape-Nuts, or rather Ralphs (Kroger) store-brand knockoff, served the same way. My dirty little secret with those is the half-cup of half-and-half I pour over the cereal maybe ten minutes before pouring on the low-fat. This is a holdover from childhood, taught to me by my butterfat-loving Grandpa Kuntz, who always had "coffee cream" on his breakfast table. Not only does it move those pebbles well out of tooth-breaking range, it endows them with a warm richness that the low-fat renders less cloying.

              1. re: azveggieguy

                Like Heritage Flakes, too, as well as Quaker's Oatmeal Squares.

                1. re: azveggieguy

                  I love Heritage Os cereal. They're sturdier (and more full of fibre) than Cheerios and other similar cereal, great for mixing with milk/yogurt or just snacking.

                  1. re: piccola

                    Have you compared the nutritional labels? Based on the labels that I find online Heritage has no more fiber, and more sugar (and calories) than Cheerios.

                    Both are basically oat flour and sugar. Heritage adds a bunch of other flours after sugar. Do those flours really change the taste, texture or nutritional content? Or are they just a way of 'padding the resume'?

                    Oats are pretty high in fiber. But that fiber is soluble, so it does not taste as rough as wheat bran. Both types of fiber a beneficial.

                    1. re: paulj

                      I haven't looked at the labels in a long time, much less side-by-side, if only because I really prefer the taste and texture of Heritage Os -- they're much crunchier and hold up better to milk, plus they have a vaguely molasses-y flavour.

                      I do like Cheerios, though, and since they're infinitely cheaper, I buy them more often.

                  2. re: azveggieguy

                    I love Grape Nuts Flakes--the taste of Grape Nuts but not so loud (or hard on the teeth).

                    1. re: Jeri L

                      Grape Nuts Flakes? that's a new one to me. i used to nuke Grape Nuts for a few seconds or let them sit in yogurt to soften enough so i could eat them without breaking a tooth. it's been many years, but i recall them being extremely salty for a cereal...do they taste salty to you?

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Grape Nuts Flakes reminds me of stale corn chips.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          blech. guess i'm not missing anything! sounds like they're as salty as the "Nuts."

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            It's Grape Nuts for folks with dentures.

                  3. I was a Kashi fan too, but after awhile I got a little bored. Now I'm eating Optimum Slim. Delicious with some fresh blueberries. Not too sweet, good texture, fills me up.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: CathyR

                      I like Nature's Path Optimum Slim, too. Like Kashi Go Lean, it's high in protein, has an okay amount of fiber, and not too sweet, but better flavor and texture to me. I like the flavor of Go Lean Crunch, but I find it way too sweet.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        Speaking of sweet, I tried the GoLean Crisp, which sorta showed up in the market and then slunk off. Too sweet, but I loved the texture … and then, on the second day, that berry flavor started to annoy me. By the end of the week, it had become the olfactory equivalent of an earworm, the aromatic counterpart to Achy Breaky Heart. So if you see a box, RUN!

                    2. Can't think of any common commercial product that meets all the criteria. So, two options come to mind. One is to just buy a good basic cereal like Cheerios and add your own stuff. Another is to have a company do it for you and we have one in: http://www.meandgoji.com/

                      For taste, you of course are going to want at least one spice and one fruit. To make it filling/lasting, you're going to have to focus on a base and fruit that's relatively high in soluble fiber (like oats and apples). Insoluble fiber just speeds things up, so don't go overboard. A type of nut or seed is a must for the bit of protein and fat. That said, I'd avoid flax. If it ain't ground up, it's pretty useless to you and the ground type doesn't add anything in terms of texture.

                      1. I love the Kashi GoLean Crunch. I am usually a bottomless pit when it comes to eating cereal, but the time it takes to "crunch" through the bowl of cereal really satisfies me. Plus, it doesn't get soggy even after being in the bowl for a while.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: JillyLeigh

                          The Kashi cereals taste good and have impressive nutrition but the soy ingredients can be a problem for some.

                          I like Nature's Path Organic Pumpkin FlaxPlus Granola. It's delicious...especially when left to soak a bit in kefir. Add a banana and/or berries and you have a bowl of happiness.

                          1. re: JillyLeigh

                            I really enjoy the Kashi Go Lean crunch as well. I usually eat it with milk, sometimes stirred in Stonyfield Farm yogurt. You said no cardboard and this fits the bill. I never cared for Grapenuts and these have a very different flavor.

                          2. We really like the Barbara's cereals, particularly the Shredded Oats and Shredded Spoonfuls (a healthy, less sweet version of Life cereal). I have a personal sugar limit of around 10 grams per serving of cereal, and these fit the bill.

                            But my favorite cereal is this: 1/4 cup all bran (yup, it's cardboard, but when you add the other stuff, it's fine--buy the Trader Joe's version because it's low in sugar and tastes okay); 2 dried California apricots, cut up; 2 prunes, cut up; 2 tablespoons sliced almonds. This will last you until lunch. My mother's doctor gave this recipe to her 35 years ago when she needed to lose 10 lbs and it has been a family favorite ever since.

                            1. Even most of the high fiber cereals are very sweet, so I make my own granola out of oats, almonds, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, a little salt, and dried blueberries. Then I eat a bowl of about 2/3 granola and 1/3 Bran Buds with one percent milk. I don't get hungry enough to eat again for about 3-4 hours.

                              1. I really like Post Great Grains crunchy pecan cereal. Here's the link to nutrition facts

                                http://www.postcereals.com/cereals/po...

                                Appears it has corn syrup, but not HFCS. Has BHA "to preserve freshness". 6 grams of fat per serving, most of it from pecans.

                                1. Trader Joe's Mango Passion and Apple Cinnamon granola are both pretty good. I also like Nature's Path Granola cereal, with pumpkin and flax seeds.

                                  1. Another vote for Kashi Go Lean, i.e. the original. Crunch is way too sweet for my taste. And I agree with LauraGrace about the need for a substantial breakfast - I mix the cereal with fruit and plain non-fat or low-fat greek yogurt. Keeps me feeling full for hours.

                                    1. Have you thought about making your own meusli? It's a combo of oats that you soak overnight, and then mixed with diced apple, some vanilla or plain yogurt, some chopped almonds or other nuts, maybe a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg. Fantastic stuff; very variable; can add dried fruits, bananas, coconut milk, fresh chopped fruits, other yogurts, cream, etc.

                                      1. I like Kashi Heart to Heart, the Warm Cinnamon flavor. It's not one of the flake/crunch cereals listed here, more like much tastier and heartier Cheerios.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Pia

                                          I like the Kashi Heart to Heart as well and prefer the Honey over the Cinnamon. Low in calories and high in fiber. With a bit of fresh fruit, it's a satisfying breakfast. I sometimes eat it for lunch too!

                                        2. How about the classics? -
                                          Shredded wheat (Barbara's round biscuits are my favorite)
                                          Grape nuts (lightly sweetened with malt)
                                          Weetabix - use just enough milk/cream to wet half a biscuit
                                          These can be sweetened to taste. Sometimes I'll use a sweeter cereal (e.g. granola) as the sweetener.

                                          My grandfather's favorite was Cheerios sweetened with honey.

                                          1. as others have said, muesli or homemade granola is the way to go for the ultimate control over flavor and nutritional balance, but i know some people would just rather keep it simple, buy a box or two, and be done with it ;)

                                            you've gotten a lot of suggestions for Kashi Go Lean, but i can't bring myself to recommend products with that crappy soy isolate added to them...unfortunately i won't give the Nature's Path "Optimum" line the thumbs-up for the same reason. BUT, the regular Nature's Path cereals are great - i used to *love* their Heritage Flakes and Flax Plus Flakes. the Mesa Sunrise Flakes are excellent too, but avoid the flavored (Vanilla or Maple) ones - they're too sweet. oh, and i was also a big fan of their Pumpkin Flax Plus and Hemp Plus granolas.

                                            others i used to enjoy - Barbara's Bakery Puffins, Uncle Sam's (Original Flavor), various Health Valley cereals, and good-old Weetabix or shredded wheat.

                                            1. I nominate: Post Grapenut Flakes.

                                              1. I love Barbara's, the ones shaped like small pillows. The vanilla or the regular oat are awesome. They are great even without milk so you can run out of milk and still eat them.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: crowmuncher

                                                  You mean Barbara's Puffins, right, as ghg mentioned upthread? I just tried the peanut butter kind. Mmmmm! Like Cap'n Crunch, but worlds better! And for whatever reason, they don't tear up the roof of your mouf! :) I'll hafta try the other flavors, too. Not to mention, their commercial is pretty cute ("I'm not a penguin! I'm a puffin!").
                                                  http://shop.barbarasbakery.com/?gclid...

                                                  Oooh, they have peanut butter AND chocolate now? I'm on that like sticky on sweet!

                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                    I really like Barbara's Puffins too! The peanut butter is my favorite, but I also like the cinnamon.

                                                  2. re: crowmuncher

                                                    The regular Barbara's Puffins are very like Quaker Crunchy Corn Bran, a longtime favorite of mine that's not so easy to find. I like the cinnamon a lot, too.

                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                      Corn Bran is a lot easier to find in Canada than in the U.S., based on my experience. It's one of my favourites.

                                                      1. re: piccola

                                                        It used to be much easier to find, up through the '80s, at least, but then for some reason it became much more obscure. Not sure what's going on there, but I was pretty happy to discover that original Puffins is very much the same in flavor and texture.

                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                          It took me most of a year to come to the same conclusion when I lived in the States. :) Though the Puffins have the advantage of the peanut butter version...

                                                  3. Kashi or Barbara's Puffin cereal. I eat them both right out of the box...so good.

                                                    1. Nature's Path has some great options! Their organic oaty bites are super yummy, though you'd probably need more than the 3/4 cup serving size to last you until lunch. If you want something with more protein, I'd look into Kashi Go Lean or Kashi Go Lean Crunch

                                                      1. im a big crispex fan myself.

                                                        but i also have to throw in another vote for Barbaras Puffins. especially the peanut butter ones

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                                          have you seen the new Peanut Butter and *Chocolate* Puffins?
                                                          http://shop.barbarasbakery.com/Puffin...

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            i have, but i have never been a fan of chocolatey cereals. since i love the pb ones so much, i have a hard time justifying watering down that awesome PB flavor with anything else.

                                                            now if someone happened to have some sitting around and i had a chance to try them....

                                                            but i have a feeling i would end up eating all the pb first aha

                                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                                              nothing wrong with being a purist - straight PB it is then. and if you get tired of the Puffins, there's always Panda Puffs!

                                                        2. I just read an article about 'organics' which I know you don't mention in your list above. However, Nature's Path is still an organic label, and I really recommend their cereals. Before going low carb I was eating this: http://tinyurl.com/6875dzm Flax Plus® Flakes. Now that I eat low carb I am eating this: http://tinyurl.com/6d5de7l SmartBran™ Cereal.

                                                          NP cereals tend to give you fiber and blends of good grains--all in an organic package. This is one purchase I can afford to make that is totally organic. But more than that, the cereals taste good. There are several varieties to choose from, in the health food aisle probably, and there are several sorts that seem more sweetened than others.

                                                          The bran cereal needs to have a little protein added to the mix, in my opinion, but the flakes seem good as is. I believe you will have to try a variety or two to find the ONE. So, enjoy eating breakfast!

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                            @sueatmo, i'm sure you already know this, but the Smart Bran isn't any lower in carbs than the Flax Plus Flakes, and it's actually higher in sugar. it just has added insoluble fiber/bran.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              No, I don't know that. In my comparison done about 1 year ago, the Smart Bran had fewer carbs after subtracting the fiber. That's how I was taught to figure carbs. I'll doublecheck that. I like the flakes a lot! There is more protein in them as well.

                                                              I think you must figure carbs differently than I do. I honestly don't know any more than to subtract the fiber grams from the carb grams. I do know that I disagree about beans though. I think I can have more than 1/2 C of them per serving. At least I allow myself more.

                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                ah, you're a net/effective carb counter, not total...in that case, yes, you calculated it correctly. personally i focus more on *total* carbs because you do still absorb/digest between 1.5 and 2.5 calories per gram of fiber.

                                                                but stick with whatever works for you!

                                                          2. Post Grape Nut Flakes is #1 on my cereal shelf, I don't like Grape Nuts but the Grape Nut Flakes are good.

                                                            1. Is it possible to make a cereal that is 'tasty' without using sugar? (or a fake sugar?

                                                              Of the Nature's Path products only puffs have no added sugar, and only the Kamut ones have some fiber.

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                i still vote that crispex are delicious and have very low sugar content. the corn gives them a pretty good sweetness too IMO

                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                  Is it possible to make a cereal that is 'tasty' without using sugar? (or a fake sugar?
                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                  depends on your idea of tasty. i always loved those NP Puffs, as well as shredded wheat and Kashi Whole Grain Puffs...but i'm weird :)

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    In high school I'd sometimes pack shredded wheat biscuits in my field trip lunch.

                                                                    Sweetened cereals, especially when the sugar is a glaze, stay crisp longer in the milk.

                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      just eat faster ;)

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        With Weetabix the trick is to use just enough milk to wet the bottom half of the biscuit. That way you get a blend of the soft and the crunchy.

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          indeed! i used to do the same thing.

                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      I love plain shredded wheat. The bite-size ones are great for snacks. But it also works when it's all mushy, almost like cooked cereal.

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        I don't really like sweet cereal, so I love the Kashi puffs (not the sweetened ones) - nice flavor and texture. Otherwise I'm a cheerios girl.

                                                                      2. re: paulj

                                                                        I think it is possible, but I also think it wouldn't have much of a market. Imagine granola without any honey. The OP doesn't like hot cereals, but there are some hot cereals that don't have added sugar. Imagine unsweetened oatmeal.

                                                                      3. Is All Bran available in the US? It's great with skimmed milk.

                                                                        About 1/3 down this page:

                                                                        http://www.pilates1901.com/blog/what-...

                                                                        Edit: I now see that it's a US site!

                                                                        1. I mix up several cereals together I consider "healthy." Equal proportions, more or less, stir them in a large mixing bowl with a sturdy wooden spoon, and store the mix in an air-tight container.
                                                                          The mix:
                                                                          Kashi Go Lean
                                                                          Kellog's All Bran original or Bran Buds (uh-oh- just read the label---> HFCSs)
                                                                          Uncle Sam cereal
                                                                          Honey Nut Cherrios (Interestingly, "Vitamin E, mixed tocopherols, added to preserve freshness.")

                                                                          At breakfast, I usually spoon a few spoonfuls of ground flaxseed and/or mix in a cut up banana or something.

                                                                          1. I a fan of Post's shredded spoonfuls. I like wheat n bran and vanilla almond.

                                                                            1. Buy Greek Gods Yogurt and top it with raw rolled oats.

                                                                              1. I'm diggin' Holy Crap and Skinny B cereals...http://holycrap.ca/