Cereal is quick, easy, and (usually) affordable. Little children can even serve themselves! But those of us with diabetes focus on a basic problem with the breakfast staple: Most cereals are loaded with empty calories and simple, refined carbohydrates.
For people living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes that require insulin before meals, cereal is quite the challenge. It’s not easy to use the exact right amount of insulin and administer it at the perfect time. For those with type 2 who do not take insulin with meals, cereal can leave your blood sugars high for hours. I’m exhausted already! Are you?
One way to make it more healthful to enjoy cereal is to opt for a low-carb variety. Thanks to the increasingly popular keto and low-carb trends, there’s more low-carb cereal hitting the market than ever before. Some of the options below need to be ordered directly from the company, but others may be easier to find than you think. Target has quite a few options, and my local grocery store does too. You could also look for a local health food store that may carry some of these low-carb options.
Low-carb cereal means you can start your day with food you enjoy and still manage to keep stable blood sugars. This is particularly appreciated by many parents of type 1 children, as they can rest assured their child won’t go to school with skyrocketing blood sugars, which could leave them fatigued and unfocused. And the last thing you want is for your kiddos to deal with overcorrections and hypos during the school day.
Here are some of my favorite low-carb cereals that I urge you all to try!
Julian Bakery ProGranola
This was my first attempt at low-carb cereal a few years back. I remember doing a double take of my newsfeed when I saw a fellow diabuddy eating cereal that contained only 2 grams (g) net carbs! I knew I had to try it. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. The nuggets have a flavorful crunch, and it will leave you satiated — even though it’s gluten-free and less than 100 calories per serving. It also contains 12 g of protein, which is a great way to start the day!
NuTrail Keto Nut Granola Cacao
It was hard to pick a favorite from this new line of keto granola by NuTrail. There’s a great assortment of nutty options, including Cacao, Cinnamon Pecan, Blueberry Cinnamon, Vanilla Raspberry, Vanilla Blueberry, and Vanilla Strawberry. They all contain 3 g net carbs or less! I found these to have the perfect touch of sweetness with no artificial taste. You can also eat it straight out of the bag like trail mix — a great snack on the go!
Schoolyard Snacks Low-Carb, Keto Cereal
This is a fan favorite among parents in the diabetes online community, which means their kids must love it too! When Schoolyard Snacks was new, the demand was so crazy that it kept on completely selling out.
These are perfect for keto eaters that really crave those classic sugary kids cereals. The Peanut Butter flavor is creamy and crunchy and reminiscent of Cap’n Crunch, which of course has over 25 g more carbs per serving! This delicious option contains only 1 g net carbs and a whopping 16 g of protein. Be sure to check out the other flavors — Cocoa, Fruity, and Cinnamon Bun. (And guess what … Schoolyard Snacks makes low-carb Cheetos-style cheese puffs too!)
Catalina Crunch Keto-Friendly Cereal
One of the more widely available keto cereals, Catalina Crunch is on the shelves of my local grocery store, and I later stumbled upon it at Target as well. This is my favorite on the list; it tastes so authentic that I’d never know it was low-carb unless you told me. Catalina has an array of gluten-free flavors, each coming in at 6 g net carbs or less. I recently discovered the Peanut Butter and Chocolate flavor, which has now bumped into first place, but I also highly recommend the Cinnamon Toast flavor. There are new flavors every time I look, including Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Honey Graham, Maple Waffle, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Banana.
Purely Elizabeth Keto Granola Clusters
This caught my eye in my local grocery store when I saw the word “grain-free.” I had to take a look and was pleasantly surprised to see that all flavors contained 9 g net carbs or less. There’s not much in the way of alternative flours or starches here; it’s all the good stuff. Made from ingredients like organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, and cashews, you won’t notice that it’s missing grains at all!
Magic Spoon Grain-Free Cereal
Magic Spoon caused a sensation in the low-carb diabetes community when it first became available. Like Schoolyard Snacks, the varieties have sold out repeatedly.
This is another huge favorite among children living with type 1 (and their parents), as the taste is delicious and it keeps the blood sugars in check! With sweet and kid-approved flavors like Fruity, Cocoa, Cookies & Cream, Blueberry Muffin, Peanut Butter, Frosted, Cinnamon Roll, and Maple Waffle, it’s hard to believe these all come in at 6 g net carbs or less! This cereal is also gluten-free, contains no sugar, and has over 10 g of protein per serving. Be sure to let your child give this a try; this is a low-sugar alternative that tastes just as yummy as the less healthy cereals we often crave but know we’re not supposed to have.
Lakanto Keto Granola
This brand is best known for its delicious monk fruit sweetener, a favorite of mine for low-carb baking. It’s expanded with its own line of finished products, and I know I can always count on them to have a sweet taste that is not at all artificial. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’d imagine this will be the same for its keto granola, which is also sweetened with monk fruit. All three flavors — Cinnamon Almond Crunch, Chocolate Crunch, and Berry Crunch — are gluten-free and contain 3 g net carbs or less. I can’t wait to get my hands on this blood sugar–friendly cereal!
It is a great feeling to know there are so many low-carb alternatives to beloved foods, and now this includes everyone’s favorite breakfast item as well! Be sure to try out the products above if you’re searching for cereal that won’t negatively impact your blood sugars.
Read more about breakfast, gluten-free, insulin, Intensive management, ketogenic (keto) diet, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), low-carb diet.