Breakfast cereals that provide a boost of protein can keep your hunger at bay throughout the rest of the day. Since your body doesn’t store protein, it’s also smart to give it a steady supply by consuming a moderate amount of protein at each meal, beginning with breakfast. A variety of cereals can help meet your daily protein goals by providing 10 percent or more of the recommended daily requirement.
If you want a cereal that is a good source of protein, choose one with at least 6 grams of protein per serving. This amount provides about 10 percent of the recommended dietary allowance, which is 46 grams daily for women and 56 grams for men. When you compare nutrition labels, pay attention to serving sizes because they’re not always the same. Some brands may report more protein per serving, but one serving may be 1 1/4 cups, while another cereal that appears to have less protein may report nutrients in a 1/2-cup serving. Adding 1/2 cup of skim milk adds another 4 grams of protein.
A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows three cereals that have more protein than most other cereals. Kashi GoLean and Special K Protein Plus have 13 grams of protein per cup, and a brand of muesli called Familia provides 12 grams of protein. These cereals have more protein thanks to extra ingredients. For example, Special K Protein Plus is made from whole-grain wheat, but other ingredients boost the protein, such as wheat gluten, wheat bran and soy protein isolate. Compare labels on different cereals because other brands with similar ingredients may have as much protein.
Quinoa isn’t known as a breakfast cereal, but you can serve it just like oatmeal and get 8 grams of protein from a 1-cup serving. The same portion of regular oatmeal has 6 grams of protein. Quinoa has another advantage over oatmeal: It gives you a higher-quality protein because it provides a sufficient amount of all essential amino acids. Roman Meal has an instant hot cereal that supplies 6 grams of protein in 1 cup. Cream of Wheat has 4 grams of protein in a cup, compared to Cream of Rice, which only has 2 grams.
Granola and Ready-to-Eat Cereals
Granola is a good choice for protein, but it’s often higher in fat than other ready-to-eat cereals. One cup of Kellogg’s Low-Fat Granola provides nearly 9 grams of protein, but it also has 6 grams of total fat. Breakfast cereals should contain less than 5 grams of fat per serving, recommends the Clemson Cooperative Extension. Other ready-to-eat cereals that are good sources of protein include shredded wheat, oatmeal squares and plain Special K. They all have 6 grams of protein in a 1-cup serving. If you mix 1 tablespoon of wheat germ into any bowl of cereal, you'll add 4 grams of protein.
- University of Missouri: Eat a Protein-Rich Breakfast to Reduce Food Cravings, Prevent Overeating Later, MU Researcher Finds
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Brighten Up With Breakfast
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Quinoa