Best Cereal for Diabetics: 10 Breakfast Choices to Start Your Day

Managing diabetes means you're always aware of your blood glucose levels. Your glycemic index (or GI) goes hand in hand with what carbohydrates and sugars your body needs to process. But that doesn't necessarily mean breakfast cereal can't be part included in healthy eating for a diabetes diet. There are still some great breakfast options out there for diabetics. So, what are the best cereals for diabetics?

The best breakfast for managing diabetes can include cereal options. Ideally, a breakfast that will keep your blood sugar levels from spiking will include protein, healthy fats, high fiber, low carbs, and will be low in added sugar. A registered dietitian can give you breakfast ideas that will work for your medical needs.

When reading cereal boxes, look for cereals that list a whole grain as the first ingredient. Whole grain cereals give you more bang for your buck, with more fiber to lower your risk of heart disease as well as keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Cereals with a low GI are digested more slowly which helps cut down on blood sugar spikes after meals. Whole grains to look for include whole wheat flour, wheat bran, oat bran, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, and real oatmeal. The American Diabetes Association also has great information about suggested meal plans if you're still not sure what to pick.

 woman mixing oats flour, banana and blueberries in a bowl.
Getty Images

Instant oatmeal is delicious and convenient but it's not a great hot cereal choice for diabetics. Make a pot of whole grain oats and refrigerate for a few days. You can heat up portions in the microwave for a healthy breakfast just as fast as instant. Adding fiber rich dried fruit and sprinkling some chia seeds put this option on the list of a healthy cereal for diabetics.

The American Diabetes Association recommends you look for cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber and less than 6 grams of sugar per serving. But sugar can go by different names and even with the best intentions, you may be eating more sugar that you think. Other names for sugars include corn sweetener, fruit juice concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, maltose, and sucrose among others.

Cereal needs milk obviously but cow's milk has also has natural sugars and carbs to think about. All milk has sugar, but whole milk will raise your blood sugar slightly less due to its fat content. Unsweetened almond milk has lower carbs and sugar, but you should always read the label and keep track of your sugar throughout the day.

Even if you don't have diabetes, a diet high in refined carbohydrates can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Following a whole grain diet may lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and help with weight loss.

The Best Cereals for People with Diabetes

1. Wheaties Whole Wheat Flakes Cereal

wheaties cereal box

Eat your Wheaties, but in moderation. Always check serving sizes to keep your blood glucose levels in check.

2. Special K Kellogg's Cereal

box of Special K Red Berries

This smells delicious! It tastes like a treat even as part of a diabetic diet.

3. Multi-Grain Cheerios Breakfast Cereal

box of multi-grain cherrios
General Mills

I love these Cheerios with a few raisins sprinkled on top. Also, you can put a handful of these Cheerios into some high protein Greek yogurt for crunch.

4. Post Grape-Nuts Cereal

box of Grape-Nuts cereal

Grape nuts can't be beat for a crunch that satisfies.

5. Kashi GOLEAN Cereal

box of Kashi Go-Lean cereal

With 12 grams of protein emblazoned on the box, eat this breakfast cereal and feel good about yourself.

6. Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Grain Cereal, Cinnamon Raisin

box of Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9
Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9

Cinnamon raisin biblical goodness to start your day.

7. Nutritious Living Hi-Lo Cereal, Vanilla Almond

Nutritious Living Hi-Lo Cereal box
Nutritious Living Hi-Lo Cereal

Hi-Lo cereals are specifically made for high protein low carb diets. They have a range of flavors that fit into your diabetic diet meal plan.

8. Kix Honey Cereal

kix cereal box
General Mills

Kix cereal is great right out of the box! This cereal makes a great road trip snack for grown ups and kids. When you find the little balls under your seats months later, you'll have great vacation memories to look back on.

9. Barbara's Puffins Cereal, Honey Rice

Barbara's honey rice puffins cereal

Another great cereal to eat right out of the box. Low sugar and full of healthy whole grains.

10. Post Bran Flakes

bran flakes cereal
Post Cereal

It's not just on for grandparents. Add a half banana or blueberries to fancy up this classic cereal.

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