The 8 Best Keto Cereals of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Satisfy your craving without the excess carbs

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When you think of the ketogenic diet, cereal might seem like an impossible food to enjoy. Conventional cereals tend to be filled with carbohydrates, some of which are healthy (think whole grain, high fiber) but many of which are just plain sugar bombs. 

The ketogenic diet is designed to get the body into ketosis, a state in which your body is in a carbohydrate deficit, so it turns to burning fat for fuel, producing a byproduct called ketones. It requires an individual to consume fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day, or no more than 5 percent of daily calories from carbs.

For reference, one medium-sized apple contains approximately 25 grams of carbohydrates. If fruit is off the table, then a bowl of classic honey nut cheerios with 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving is definitely not keto-approved. Today, thanks to food science and innovative brands, you can enjoy cereal without disrupting a keto lifestyle. Using protein isolates and high fiber, grain-free starches, many keto-friendly cereals are not only diet-approved but more nutritious than their conventional counterparts.

 Here are the best keto-friendly cereals on the market.

Magic Spoon Cereal

Pros
  • High in protein

  • Gluten- and grain-free

Cons
  • Contains common food allergens

Magic Spoon has been making big waves in the cereal aisle. For those on a ketogenic diet or following a lower-carb lifestyle, this cereal contains only 3 to 4 grams of net carbs and zero grams of sugar per serving. Aiming to mimic the taste of traditional, sugar-packed cereals like Fruit Loops and Reese’s Puffs, Magic Spoon offers a healthier take on some of your childhood favorites. Packed with 11 grams of protein per serving, a morning bowl of this cereal will definitely be more filling than other cereals out there. 

A word to those with allergies or food sensitivities, these products contain milk, and some contain peanuts. It’s sweetened with monk fruit and allulose, generally recognized as safe (FDA GRAS) and are naturally occurring, low-calorie sugars that are not considered to be artificial sweeteners or added sugars. Allulose may cause GI discomfort if consumed in large quantities, so foods with this sugar  should be eaten in moderation.

Catalina Crunch Cinnamon Toast Keto Cereal

Pros
  • Plant-based source of protein

  • High in fiber

Cons
  • Small portion size

Catalina Crunch is a gluten- and grain-free cereal that is keto and low-carb lifestyle-friendly. One serving contains 11 grams of plant-based protein and a whopping 9 grams of gut health-promoting fiber, with only five net carbs. This cereal is non-GMO and vegan, sweetened with monk fruit and stevia.

One serving is just half a cup, which might be enough as a topping to yogurt or smoothie bowls but could feel very small in your cereal bowl. Doubling the portion will provide a filling amount of protein, but if you aren’t accustomed to eating high fiber foods, it may cause some gastrointestinal discomfort. Be sure to slowly increase the portion and consume extra water.

Pros
  • Only three ingredients

  • Organic and vegan

Cons
  • Low in protein (1 gram per serving)

Looking for a keto-friendly cereal with minimal ingredients? NUCO Coconut Crunch Cereal keeps things very simple with three vegan ingredients: coconut water, coconut meat, and palm starch. Naturally gluten- and grain-free, this cereal has just two net carbs and is also vegan, kosher, and free of common allergens such as egg, corn, soy, and dairy. We also love that this cereal is versatile and can be used as a low-carb topper in salads or soups.

Containing only 1 gram of protein and 8 grams of fiber, this cereal may not fill you up as well as some of the other keto cereals on the market. We suggest enjoying it with a good protein source like Greek yogurt and a fiber source like fruit to keep you satiated.

Julian Bakery ProGranola Vanilla Cinnamon

Pros
  • 12 grams of fiber and protein

  • Includes nutrient dense seeds

Cons
  • Small serving size (½ cup)

Granola can still be part of your morning routine, even if you are on a ketogenic diet. Julian Bakery’s Pro Granola is a high-protein granola cereal that is gluten-, grain- and soy-free. Great for those following a low-carb lifestyle, this granola has only 2 grams of net carbs per serving. 

Pro Granola is packed with protein from egg white powder, a good alternative to commonly used milk protein isolates for those with a lactose intolerance. One serving contains 12 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber and six percent of the daily recommended intake of iron. This granola is also filled with nourishing seeds such as chia, flax, pumpkin, and sesame, which are healthy sources of fat and support gut and brain health.

Wildway Hot Cereal Cups, Toasted Coconut

Pros
  • Made with 100 percent whole ingredients

  • No added sugars or sweeteners

Cons
  • Slightly higher in net carbohydrates

Traditional hot cereals like oatmeal or cream of wheat are high in carbohydrates, making these classic warm breakfast options a thing of the past if you are following a ketogenic diet. Thankfully, Wildway has created a grain-free, hot cereal cup that is keto-friendly. 

These instant hot cereal cups are rich in healthy fats from nuts and seeds, which will help keep you fuller for longer. Each single-serve cup contains 9 grams of fiber and 8 grams of net carbohydrates. Though this option is slightly higher in carbs than some others on this list, we love that Wildway uses whole, unprocessed ingredients.

Pros
  • Real food ingredients

  • Good source of healthy fats

Cons
  • Low in protein (4 grams) and fiber (2 grams)

Paleonola’s Grain Free Granola is a great keto-friendly granola option if you’re looking to add some crunch without the carbs. Packed with real food ingredients like almonds, pecans, pepitas, honey, walnuts, cinnamon, and sunflower seeds, a sprinkle of this granola is sure to not only taste good but also add a ton of nutritional value. 

One serving of Paleonola contains 7 grams of net carbs, 15 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein. One serving is 1/4 cup, so be mindful of your portion size—it’s best enjoyed by the handful for a low-carb snack or sprinkled on top of yogurt.

Purely Elizabeth Cauli Hot Cereal, Cinnamon Almond

Pros
  • Made with freeze-dried cauliflower

  • Vegan, gluten- and soy-free

Cons
  • Higher in net carbohydrates (12 to 15 grams per serving)

Cauliflower for breakfast never tasted so good! Made with clean and simple vegan ingredients that are free from additives and GMOs, Purely Elizabeth’s Grain-Free Cauli Hot Cereal makes following a low-carb lifestyle super easy and tasty. Consumers can feel good about eating vegetables first thing in the morning, thanks to the special, freeze-dried cauliflower. 

One instant cup is filled with 8 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and 11 grams of fat. A note on carbs, this breakfast cereal is higher in carbohydrates than some of the others on this list. One cup contains 12 to 15 net grams of carbs, so serious ketogenic dieters may need to be mindful of their carbohydrate intake at lunch and dinner when choosing this option for breakfast.

Three Wishes Unsweetened Cereal

Three Wishes Cereal
Pros
  • Zero added sugars and non-nutritive sweeteners

  • Four simple, whole food ingredients

Cons
  • Low in fat

  • Higher in net carbohydrates

Made with just chickpeas, pea protein, tapioca, and salt, Three Wishes unsweetened breakfast cereal is a great choice for vegans and low-carb, keto dieters. This cereal checks the health food boxes: it is kosher, certified gluten-free, free of many common food allergens, and uses plant-based ingredients. 

Three Wishes offers five different flavors—for those seeking the lowest carb option, we recommend the unsweetened version. One serving of this cereal contains 15 net carbs and 8 grams of protein. Keto dieters beware, this cereal only has 2 grams of fat, so you may want to add nuts, shredded coconut, or a splash of coconut milk to your breakfast bowl to hit your daily healthy fat intake goals.

Final Verdict

If your goal is sticking to the right range of 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, Julian Bakery’s Pro Granola (view at Amazon) or Nuco’s Coconut Crunch (view at iHerb) have the lowest amount of net grams of carbohydrates. We like Nuco for its simple, vegan ingredients, and Julian Bakery’s granola is great as a breakfast option, because it is filled with protein and fiber.

What to Look for in a Keto Cereal

Sweeteners

Many keto cereals are sweetened with artificial or other sugar alternatives, including sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, and erythritol), and non-nutritive sweeteners, both naturally derived and lab-produced. FDA-approved artificial sweeteners include aspartame, saccharin, neotame, sucralose, and acesulfame-k. 

The research on artificial sweeteners suggests that they can have a negative effect on the gut microbiome when consumed in large amounts. Meanwhile, natural, non-nutritive sweeteners, such as monk fruit and stevia, may have less negative side effects. However, all sweeteners should be consumed in moderation as they can cause increased cravings for sugar.

Macronutrients

In addition to looking for the source of sweetness in a keto-cereal, it is wise to check the macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) that are available in one serving. Cereals that have at least 10 grams of protein, as well as healthy fats and fiber, will help to keep you fuller for longer. 

If the cereal is low in fiber, add fruit to the bowl and if it’s low in fat, try adding nuts or seeds. Cereals that are low in protein can be paired with yogurt (try a plain Greek yogurt for extra protein) to make your breakfast a more satisfying and complete meal.

FAQs

How to make keto cereal (DIY)

In order to make a cereal “keto-approved” you will need to be mindful of the types of sugars and starches used. An easy way to make your own cereal is to stick to high-fat, low-carb ingredients such as nuts and seeds. You can make a crunchy granola by coating a mix of nuts, seeds, cinnamon, and sea salt in olive oil and egg whites and then baking it for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often.

Which milk is best for Keto?

One cup of traditional dairy milk contains roughly 12 grams of carbohydrates per serving with no fiber. Stick to unsweetened, dairy-free nut milks such as almond, cashew, or flax milk. Coconut milk should be used in moderation as it is higher in saturated fats than other nut milks. 

Is a ketogenic diet safe?

Though the ketogenic diet may help achieve significant weight loss, it is important to note that long-term compliance is difficult. This may lead to rebound weight gain. Ketogenic diets also restrict the intake of healthy, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, legumes, and whole grains, so you may miss out on certain vitamins and minerals. Consuming a very low carbohydrate diet can also lead to water losses, causing dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, so it may not be suitable for people with certain chronic diseases. 

Because the keto diet calls for a high intake of fats, it can lead to increased consumption of saturated fats which can cause high cholesterol and other potential health complications. When considering any restrictive diet, consult your physician and work with a dietitian to make sure you are meeting your nutritional needs.

What Experts Say

"Overall, these cereals offer a nice alternative for those on a ketogenic diet—who need variety for breakfast beyond eggs and sausage. When consuming these cereals, especially those with protein isolates, fiber additives, and non-nutritive sweeteners—I recommend starting with small amounts to see how their digestion tolerates it. Some may experience cramping, bloating, and other digestive difficulties to protein isolates, fiber additives and non-nutritive sweeteners. Two tablespoons of hemp seeds can help boost the protein content." — Pegah Jalali, RD

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

As a Registered Dietitian, Sydney Greene takes nutrition product recommendations seriously. She has a focus on integrative, customized nutrition counseling and coaching for individuals in recovery from substance use. She also works with individuals who are looking to change their relationship to food and body image, and runs nutrition workshops at corporations throughout New York City.

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