Breakfast can be especially challenging after transitioning to a ketogenic diet. Most breakfasts, particularly sweet ones, are high in carbs — especially that time-honored staple: breakfast cereal.
One option is to cut cereal from your diet altogether, but if you aren’t ready to make the sacrifice, there’s no need to worry.
The progression of the keto food industry has allowed innovative brands to come up with cereals that are not only low-carb but actually offer a healthier nutrition profile than traditional brands.
Keep reading to learn the qualities of a good keto cereal, which brands we recommend on the keto diet, and which ones to avoid.
What Makes a Good Keto-Friendly Cereal?
Low in Net Carbs
Net carbs are the single biggest consideration on a keto diet. Because they’re the digestible form of carbs and are therefore absorbed into the bloodstream, they affect your blood sugar levels and can also kick you out of ketosis.
To find out how many net carbs are in a food, subtract the number of indigestible carbohydrates and sugar alcohols from the number of total carbs. Indigestible carbohydrates include dietary fiber and sweeteners like allulose.
Fortunately, most keto brands do the math for you and indicate the number of net carbs per serving in their product. Most people can eat around 20-50 grams of net carbs total per day on keto, so the fewer per cereal serving, the better.
High in Protein and Healthy Fats
Whenever possible, choose cereals that offer some protein or fat, or both. High protein and fat content improve satiety after a meal by slowing down digestion helping you avoid cravings between meals[*][*].
Protein also plays a role in other essential body processes like muscle growth and maintenance, hormone production, immunity, and energy production[*][*][*][*]. The functions of dietary fat include providing energy, hormone production, protecting organs, and transporting fat-soluble vitamins[*].
Keto-friendly ingredients that add protein to cereal include nuts, seeds, collagen, and milk proteins (including whey), while those that add fat include nuts, seeds, coconut oil, MCT oil, and cocoa butter.
Compare the nutrition labels of any keto cereals to find out the exact amount of protein and fat present per serving so you can make the best choice.
Healthy Keto-friendly Sweeteners Instead of Added Sugars
To enhance flavor, most keto breakfast cereal brands add sugar-free sweeteners to their product. However, while they’re technically keto-friendly, not all sugar-free sweeteners are healthy.
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Natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit extract are best because they’re calorie-free, barely impact blood sugar levels, and might even offer some benefits like antioxidant activity and supporting insulin sensitivity[*].
Other sweeteners like allulose and erythritol are also just as appropriate for a healthy keto diet.
Allulose is a low-carb sweetener that is about 70% as sweet as sugar but doesn’t provide any absorbable calories and causes no changes to blood glucose. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is made by the fermentation of glucose by microbes.
Some sugar-free cereals might contain sweeteners like maltitol, dextrose, polydextrose that are indeed low-carb but can still affect your blood sugar levels, so you’ll want to steer clear[*].
Lastly, sucralose (Splenda) and other synthetic artificial sweeteners like aspartame aren’t on our recommended list because of possible long-term health effects[*].
The Best Low-carb Cereals for Keto
Now that you know what to look for in keto cereals and what to avoid, here’s our carefully chosen list of the very best brands on the market today.
Perfect Keto Mallow Munch
Mallow Munch is a delicious keto cereal bar that tastes just like a classic rice crispy bar (you know the ones we’re talking about), but without the grains you’re not allowed to have on keto.
These healthy bars contain only high-quality ingredients including milk protein, almond butter, sea salt, and vitamin E. Allulose, stevia, and monk fruit extract are the sweeteners of choice in these bars, so you know they’re keto-friendly.
In each filling 90-calorie serving of Mallow Munch, you get only 2 grams of net carbs with a powerful 9 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, and 6 grams of dietary fiber.
You can enjoy Mallow Munch bars in the morning for breakfast, in the afternoon for a little pick-me-up, on-the-go, before a workout, or as a dessert.
The bars come in three flavors: Marshmallow, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter.
Perfect Keto Nola Bars
For a truly filling snack that won’t spike your sugar levels, try a Perfect Keto Nola Bar. The bar is chewy like a regular granola bar but doesn’t contain any grains or added sugar making it very keto-friendly.
Nola bars are made with healthy, high-quality, keto-friendly ingredients like MCT oil, nuts, and dark chocolate. They don’t contain any added sugars, colors, fillers, or artificial preservatives. They’re sweetened with stevia, monk fruit extract, and allulose.
Each energy-packed, 140-calorie bar contains a mere 2 grams of net carbs with 12 grams of nourishing healthy fats, 3 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fiber.
You can have a Nola Bar for breakfast, as a convenient snack, or even a dessert. They come in Coconut Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter flavors.
Magic Spoon Cereal
Magic Spoon is an exclusively low-carb cereal brand. Their selling points are that their products are high in protein, low in sugar and carbs, keto-friendly, and gluten-free.
Available flavors include Cocoa, Frosted, Fruity, Blueberry, Peanut Butter, Maple Waffle, Cookies N’ Cream, and Cinnamon.
Each serving of Magic Spoon contains 4 grams of net carbs, 14 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, and 140 calories. Magic Spoon is also free of any artificial preservatives, added sugar, and sugar alcohols.
Since Magic Spoon is low in dietary fiber (1 gram per serving), for a healthy breakfast, you can try pairing it with fiber-rich keto foods like nuts, seeds, and low-carb fruit.
Catalina Crunch Cereal
For anyone who prefers their cereal on the extra crunchy side, Catalina Crunch’s low-carb breakfast cereal is made for you. Instead of grains, the cereal is made with Catalina flour, a pea protein blend that is very low in carbs.
While pea protein isn’t exactly a high-quality protein source (and therefore shouldn’t be a staple for that purpose), it’s still keto-friendly.
All the ingredients are natural and don’t include any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. Catalina sweetens their cereal using stevia and monk fruit extract.
Each serving of Catalina Crunch contains 5 grams of net carbs, 5 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, and 110 calories.
The net carb content of Catalina Crunch is on the higher side therefore you should try to eat it with very low-carb milk like almond milk or coconut milk.
The cereal comes in eight flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Fruity, Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon Toast, Maple Waffle, Honey Graham, Chocolate Banana, and Mint Chocolate Chip.
Lakanto Keto Granola
You may know Lakanto as a popular manufacturer of monk fruit-based sweetener and related products, and they’ve recently branched out into offering keto granola and other ready-to-eat products.
True granola isn’t keto-friendly because it contains oats, which is why the primary ingredients here are coconut, sunflower seeds, almonds, and chocolate chips.
Each serving of Lakanto Keto Granola contains 2 grams of net carbs, 13 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 150 calories. The Berry Crunch flavor contains 3 grams of net carbs.
You can eat Lakanto Granola in milk just like breakfast cereal, add it to a yogurt bowl, blend it in a smoothie, or eat it as it is.
The granola comes in three flavors: Cinnamon Almond Crunch, Berry Crunch, and Chocolate Crunch.
Schoolyard Snacks Low-carb Keto Cereal
As their name suggests, Schoolyard Snacks offers a line of keto-friendly snacks, including cereal as well as cheese puffs. In their words, they’ve “reinvented our favorite carb-loaded cereals and snacks from childhood by replacing the carbs and sugar with high-quality protein and monk fruit.”
This puffed cereal product makes our top ten list for two good reasons — high-quality keto ingredients and a remarkable 1 gram of net carbs.
The cereal is made with all-natural ingredients like milk protein and cocoa and contains no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or fillers.
Each bag of Schoolyard Snacks Cereal contains an impressive 90 calories, 1 gram of net carbs, 16 grams of protein, and 3.5 grams of fat.
Schoolyard Snacks Cereal isn’t a very good source of fiber. But no big deal — to bump up the fiber content of your meal, you can easily pair the cereal with some nuts or seeds (or eat more veggies or other fiber-rich foods later in the day).
The cereal comes in five flavors: Fruity, Peanut Butter, Cookies N’ Cream, Cocoa, and Cinnamon Bun.
NuTrail Keto Nut Granola
NuTrail offers a keto-friendly, nut-based line of snacks and other foods including nut granolas, glazed pecans, and baking mixes.
Nutrail Granola is a crunchy blend made using pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, almonds, hazelnuts, butter, monk fruit, and natural flavor.
The list of ingredients doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. The granola is sweetened with only monk fruit extract and no other sweeteners.
Each serving of Nutrail Granola contains 2 grams of net carbs, 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, and 160 calories.
The granola can be eaten on its own as a snack or added to milk to make a cereal bowl. The protein content of Nutrail isn’t optimal, but pairing it with a hard-boiled egg or two at breakfast-time can quickly balance your meal.
A word to the wise: it’s best to portion this granola before eating as each bag contains ten servings. Eating right out of the bag may result in accidental overeating.
Nutrail Keto Nut Granola comes in six flavors: Cinnamon, Cinnamon Pecan, Cacao, Vanilla Strawberry, Vanilla Raspberry, and Vanilla Blueberry.
Julian Bakery proGranola
Julian Bakery proGranola is especially unique because it contains Bacillus Coagulans, a probiotic strain of bacteria with potential health benefits for the gut[*].
The granola is a blend of four nutritious seeds: pumpkin, chia, flax, and sesame. It contains no artificial additives like colors, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives and is sweetened with natural monk fruit extract.
Each serving of proGranola contains 2 net carbs, 12 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber, 4.5 grams of fat, and only 97 calories.
The granola is well-balanced, but if you’d like more calories or healthy fats, you can bump up the fat with some full-fat yogurt or by pairing it with cheese when snacking.
Julian Bakery proGranola comes in five flavors: Vanilla Cinnamon Cluster, Peanut Butter Cluster, Espresso Cluster, Primal Peanut Butter Cluster, and Vegan Vanilla.
Diabetic Kitchen Granola Cereal
For a cereal that tastes good hot or cold, Diabetic Kitchen’s Granola is our recommended option. While the brand clearly caters to people living with diabetes, it’s also 100% keto-friendly.
Their granola is a mix of many nutritious nuts and seeds including almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
It’s also gluten-free and doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or flavors. The granola, however, contains a small amount of puffed brown rice — but fortunately, it isn’t in quantities large enough to hike the net carb content, so don’t worry.
Each serving of Diabetic Kitchen Granola Cereal contains 3 net carbs, 14 grams of fat, 4 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber, and 160 calories.
The cereal comes in two flavors: Cinnamon Pecan and Almond Butter.
Nature’s Path Organic Keto Cereal
Unlike most keto cereals, Nature’s path doesn’t contain any milk protein. This makes the cereal a prime choice for anyone following a plant-based diet or who’s lactose intolerant.
Instead of milk protein isolates, Nature’s Path uses pea protein, navy bean flour, and mung bean to boost protein content.
It’s important to note that Nature’s Path contains small amounts of potato fiber and tapioca starch. While these would normally make a food non-keto, Nature’s Path’s carbohydrate content is still very keto-friendly.
Each cup of Nature’s Path contains 3 grams of net carbs, 7 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, 10 grams of dietary fiber, and 110 calories.
Nature’s Path comes in two flavors: Dark Chocolate and Cinnamon Toast.
“Keto-friendly” Cereals to Avoid on Keto
NUCO Coconut Crunch
We’ll call this one a near miss for anyone on the keto diet. NUCO’s three-ingredient cereal would be acceptable for keto-dieters that enjoy coconut-flavored foods if only it wasn’t for the 10 grams of net carbs per serving.
Otherwise, the cereal is high quality with only three natural and organic ingredients: coconut water, coconut meat, and unfortunately, palm starch. The cereal also contains no artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, or colors.
Other than the high net carbs, the cereal has a rich nutrition profile with each serving providing 9 grams of fat, 8 grams of dietary fiber, and 160 calories.
Keep in mind that the majority of people risk exiting ketosis if they consume more than 20 grams of net carbs per day, and it’s generally not a good idea to consume 50% of your daily carb allowance in one serving at breakfast.
That said, if you’re low-carb and not strict keto, NUCO is definitely worth considering.
Wildway Keto Hot Cereal
Even though Wildway Cereal is a grain-free cereal, it doesn’t fit so well on keto for most people because of the number of net carbs per serving (7 to 10 grams depending on the flavor).
The cereal also contains 5 grams of added sugars in each serving, which isn’t a deal-breaker in and of itself but is still more than we’d like to see on the label.
Wildway is made with all-natural ingredients like flaxseed, walnuts, coconut, and cashews and contains no artificial additives.
It even has a rich nutrition profile with one serving providing 20 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, and 270 calories.
The cereal is available in four flavors: Blueberry, Original, Coconut, and Toasted Coconut.
Three Wishes Unsweetened Cereal
Three Wishes’ grain-free cereal doesn’t make the cut in terms of being keto-friendly because of the high net carb count and low fat content.
The cereal is vegan and is great for those with soy, gluten, and nut allergies but simply not a great option for keto dieters.
Each serving of Three Wishes Unsweetened Cereal contains 12 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 110 calories.
Purely Elizabeth Grain-Free Cauli Hot Cereal
This innovative and otherwise nutritious cereal isn’t keto-friendly even though it’s grain-free. This is because of the high net carb count and two non-keto ingredients — banana and coconut sugar.
Purely Elizabeth cereal is made using freeze-dried cauliflower which gives a cereal-like texture without adding grains. (Skeptical of the cauliflower? According to one reviewer, “It becomes the same consistency as normal oatmeal.” We’ll take their word for it.)
It contains other nutritious ingredients like coconut and flax seeds. However, it still can’t fit on a ketogenic diet.
Each serving of the cereal contains 12 grams of net carbs, 11 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of added sugar, and 190 calories.
The Takeaway: Best Keto Cereals
You don’t have to give up cereal on a low-carb diet as long as you remember to choose the right one. Good keto cereal must be low in net carbs, contain keto-friendly sweeteners, and preferably provide some protein or fat.
For a nutritionally balanced meal, you can always pair your cereal with other nutritious foods like yogurt, low-carb fruit, and cheese.
Always read the nutrition information on the packaging when trying a new keto cereal brand to ensure that it supports your nutrition goals.