If you grew up in a suburban American home, chances are that cereals were a key part of your breakfast routine. Whether you loved the cinnamon-y sugar goodness of a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or remember the feeling of joy when you opened your pantry before school and saw a box of Cookie Crisps waiting for you, we can probably all admit that breakfast cereals have touched our hearts in one way or another. 

It might not surprise you exactly how much sugar is in one serving of your favorite breakfast food. Pair that with refined carbohydrates and you have a recipe for blood sugar disaster. Maybe our parents fed us Frosted Flakes just so they could have some peace-and-quiet while we were carbo-crashed on the living room couch. 

Many "nutrition-experts" claim that breakfast cereals are one of the most heinous contributors to weight gain and diet-related illness: especially in children. However, several companies have adapted products to help people who don't want to give up their favorite breakfast staples but are also mindful of what they consume. The reality is that any food can be part of a healthy diet in moderation (so don't throw away those Cookie Crisps just yet). It might mean eating sugar-y cereal less often, but it won't mean getting rid of it entirely.

Here are some healthier breakfast cereal options you can incorporate into diet, some of which can replace conventional refined cereals. When I was seeking out brands and products for this list, I was looking at fiber content, protein, and sugars. 

Wholefort's Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

Wholefort produces a complete line of quinoa breakfast cereals. Quinoa is a complete protein and full of healthy amino acids your body needs. Unlike conventional cereals that are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and refined sugars, Wholefort sweetens their products with many natural, prebiotic compounds found in Maca, Yacon, and Purple Corn. They're committed to sustainably sourcing their ingredients from farmers in Peru. I love their products because they are puffy and have a breakfast-cereal texture; you'd never know you're eating quinoa! Wholefort's cereals have a light sweetness to them, which is perfect for people who can't tolerate a hyper-sweetened breakfast cereal. If you're interested in trying their products, they offer samples on their website (you won't regret it, I promise)! 

Kashi 7 Whole Grain Cereal

One 1/14 cup of this cereal packs 7g of protein and a quarter of your daily fiber intake! It also has less than 7g of sugar, so it's a better option than many of Kashi's infamous "GO LEAN" cereals. Pair with fresh fruit for an additional antioxidant punch. 

Cheerios (Original)

Are you surprised that this one made the list? Cheerios are actually a pretty good, low-calorie cereal. Each 1 cup serving contains less than 1g of sugar and 100 calories. Although there's a slight bit of protein, I would add some nuts and seeds to it to increase both protein and healthy fats. 

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal

The ingredients for Ezekiel's spouted grain cereal is about as simple as they come: barley, lentils, millet, soybeans, spelt, wheat, water, and salt. Each 1/2 cup serving has 8g of protein and 6g of fiber! 

DIY Healthy Museli

cereal, oatmeal, muesli, milk, porridge, yogurt
Lindsey Epifano

This is a recipe you can make in your kitchen- and without an oven! Museli is granola's unbaked cousin; it often contains oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Simply mix 1 1/2 cups oats with your 1 cup nuts of choice (e.g., almonds, chopped pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and alike), 1/2 cup of dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, or dates), 1 tsp. cinnamon, and a sprinkle of coconut flakes/hemp seeds/chia seeds/sesame. Stir to combine and store in an air-tight jar. In the morning (or whenever you eat cereal- I don't judge), pour in milk and drizzle a little maple syrup on top for sweetness. 

This museli doesn't contain refined grains, so it is full of fiber and complex carbs that will keep you going all day long! The nuts add fat and protein as well, making it the perfect breakfast before a long day of hiking or working in the library.