Sometimes you just want to snap, crackle and pop your way into a good, productive morning. That's where Rice Krispies cereal comes into play. The light and crunchy breakfast option is a delicious choice, but is it nutritious?
Given their low calories and fat content, Rice Krispies can help you lose weight. However, there are better breakfast cereals if your goal is to cut back on carbs, as well.
Are Rice Krispies Healthy?
To determine whether or not Rice Krispies are healthy and capable of helping you lose weight requires uncovering what characterizes something as healthy in the first place. To do so, it helps to look at the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
First things first, according to the guidelines, adults ages 19 and older should be consuming a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrates a day to maintain optimal health and weight. What's more, the American Heart Association says that, of those 130 carbs, adult women should eat no more than 100 calories of added sugar per day (or 25 grams of sugar) and men should eat no more than 150 (or 38 grams).
Additionally, fats should account for no more than 25 to 35 percent of any diet. And, according to MedLinePlus, saturated fats should take up no more than 7 percent of your daily calories, which comes out to 140 to 200 calories (based on a 2,000 calorie diet) or 16 to 22 grams per day. Fat recommendations are particularly low, given they're directly linked to obesity rates, high cholesterol, heart disease and more.
With all that in mind, let's look at Rice Krispies. According to the brand's nutritional information, one serving of Rice Krispies cereal (which is 1 1/2 cups) contains 150 calories, no fats, no cholesterol, 3 grams of protein and 36 grams of carbohydrates (four of which are from added sugars). When topped off with three-fourths cup skim milk, those numbers rise to 220 calories, no fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 9 grams of protein and 45 grams of carbs.
While one serving of Rice Krispies is high in carbs — accounting for nearly one-fourth of the minimum daily allowance — the fact that it has zero fats and a moderate amount of calories makes up for it.
What's more, one serving of Rice Krispies with skim milk accounts for 25 percent of your vitamin D intake, 15 percent of calcium, 60 percent of iron and vitamin B12 , 35 percent of niacin and 30 percent of vitamin B6.
Best Cereals for Weight Loss
Just because Rice Krispies aren't the worst choice for you doesn't mean they're the best breakfast option to boost your metabolism. That's because the original Rice Krispies aren't made with whole grain, nor are they rich in fiber (0 grams, to be precise) or protein. As a result, some say that they're an emptier breakfast choice that won't leave you feeling full.
That said, if you're looking for a cereal that's not only delicious, but actually wholesome, you might want to re-think your breakfast options. Some that fit the bill include Oats Overnight, Grape Nuts, Frosted Mini Wheats Little Bites, Great Grains Crunchy Pecan Cereal, GOLEAN Crunch Cereal and more. Although they may have more calories, they're also more likely to satiate hunger with a single serving.
While all of these cereals have fats and carbs, their fiber-rich, whole-grain nature ensures that one serving will likely be much more filling than classic Rice Krispies. What's more, many of them are packed with protein as well (Overnight Oats has a whopping 26 grams per serving). Of course, that's not to say you should never eat the snap-crackle-pop cereal; simply to do so in moderation to support a healthy lifestyle.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020: "Appendix 7. Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations"
- The American Heart Association: "Added Sugars"
- MedLinePlus: "Facts About Saturated Fats"
- SmartLabel: "Kellogg's Rice Krispies Cereal"