The 23 best low sodium cereal options of 2024 to keep in your pantry!
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If you’re looking for a list of the top low sodium cereals, you’ve come to the right place!
Whether you’re following a low sodium diet, trying to lower your blood pressure, or simply want to make sure that your sodium intake is in check, it’s helpful to know the sodium content in cereals.
While cereal can offer various health benefits and fit into a balanced diet, the sodium in breakfast cereals can vary greatly – from 0 mg per serving to over 400 mg per serving.
With so many varieties to choose from in the grocery store, this article will make it easy for you to identify the best low sodium cereal options to keep in your pantry!
Keep reading to discover the daily recommendations for sodium, the health risks associated with excess sodium intake, how to choose healthy cereal, and a list of the 23 best low-sodium cereals that are approved by a registered dietitian.
Table of Contents
Daily Sodium Recommendation
Sodium is an essential nutrient required in small amounts for various functions including:
- Maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance
- Regulating blood volume
- Nerve transmission
- Muscle contraction
The body only needs 500 mg of sodium per day to carry out these functions, but the average American is consuming >3,200 mg per day (1).
Ideally, the Adequate Intake (AI) of sodium for adults ages 14 and older is 1,500 mg per day, with a maximum intake of 2,300 mg per day (2).
Consuming excess sodium is associated with various health risks which are outlined below.
Health Risks of Excess Sodium
Consuming excess sodium negatively affects the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and the brain (3).
Some of the consequences of high sodium intake include:
- Elevated blood pressure (hypertension)
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased arterial stiffness
- Decreased kidney function and filtration
- Increased inflammation in the brain
For these reasons, it’s recommended to consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day (maximum of 2,300 mg per day) to reduce the risk of chronic disease and health complications.
Definition of Low Sodium
To be considered “low sodium,” a food must contain 140 mg of sodium or less per serving according to the FDA.
Foods that are naturally low in sodium include:
- Fresh fruit
- Herbs and spices
- Beans, lentils, and legumes
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Fresh meat, fish, and eggs
- Minimally processed grains like quinoa, oats, brown rice, wild rice, barley, buckwheat, etc.
In contrast, processed foods are high in sodium because salt is added to increase shelf life and enhance taste.
Examples of processed foods that are high in sodium include:
- Frozen foods like pizza, burritos, lasagna, and frozen meals
- Canned soups and canned meals (ravioli, spaghetti-o’s, etc.)
- Processed meats like lunch meat, brats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, beef jerky, meat sticks, etc.
- Condiments, sauces, and salad dressings
- Boxed and packaged goods like mac & cheese, ramen noodles, flavored rice, and pastas
- Instant rice, instant potatoes, and instant hot cereals
- Snack foods like chips, crackers, cookies, popcorn, etc.
These processed foods often contain up to 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.
In addition, processed foods often contain a lengthy list of other artificial additives that can be harmful to health.
Now that you have some background on sodium, let’s take a look at the best low sodium cereals!
Best Low Sodium Cereals
Below is a list of the 23 best low sodium cereals divided into the following categories:
- Cereals with 0 mg sodium
- Cereals with 5-35 mg sodium (“very low sodium”)
- Cereals with 36-140 mg sodium (“low sodium”)
The cereals within each category are listed in order from lowest to highest sodium content.
Cereals with 0 mg sodium
Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs Cereal
Nutrition Info: 150 calories, 0 mg sodium, 4 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, 0 grams added sugar, 32 grams carbohydrate (28 grams net carb) per 1 ½ cup
Arrowhead Mills Puffed Wheat Cereal
Nutrition Info: 60 calories, 0 mg sodium, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, 0 grams added sugar, 12 grams carbohydrate (10 grams net carb) per 3/4 cup
Arrowhead Mills Puffed Rice Cereal
Nutrition Info: 50 calories, 0 mg sodium, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein, 0 grams added sugar, 12 grams carbohydrate (11 grams net carb) per ¾ cup
Shredded What – Original
Nutrition Info: 210 calories, 0 mg sodium, 8 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 0 grams added sugar, 49 grams carbohydrate (41 grams net carb) per 1 ⅓ cup
Shredded Wheat – Wheat ‘n Bran
Nutrition Info: 210 calories, 0 mg sodium, 8 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 0 grams added sugar, 49 grams carbohydrate (41 grams net carb) per 1 ⅓ cup
Kashi Organic Autumn Wheat Biscuits
Nutrition Info: 200 calories, 0 mg sodium, 7 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 7 grams added sugar, 47 grams carbohydrate (40 grams net carb) per 32 biscuits
Kashi Organic Cinnamon Harvest Biscuits
Nutrition Info: 200 calories, 0 mg sodium, 7 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 9 grams added sugar, 48 grams carbohydrate (41 grams net carb) per 31 biscuits
Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Low Sodium Crunchy Cereal
Nutrition Info: 190 calories, 0 mg sodium, 7 grams fiber, 8 grams protein, 1 gram added sugar, 38 grams carbohydrate (31 grams net carb) per ½ cup
Cereals with 5-35 mg Sodium (“Very Low Sodium”)
Kashi Organic Island Vanilla Biscuits
Nutrition Info: 200 calories, 5 mg sodium, 6 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 9 grams added sugar, 46 grams carbohydrate (30 grams net carb) per 29 biscuits
Aldi Simply Nature Coconut Cacao Superfood Granola
Nutrition Info: 140 calories, 35 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 8 grams added sugar, 20 grams carbohydrate (17 grams net carb) per ½ cup
Cereals with 36-140 mg Sodium (“Low Sodium”)
Aldi Simply Nature Coconut Chia Granola Cereal
Nutrition Info: 230 calories, 45 mg sodium, 4 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, 10 grams added sugar, 35 grams carbohydrate (31 grams net carb) per ½ cup
Aldi Simply Nature Pumpkin Seed & Flax Granola Cereal
Nutrition Info: 230 calories, 50 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, 8 grams added sugar, 34 grams carbohydrate (31 grams net carb) per ½ cup
Nature’s Path Love Crunch Granolas
Nutrition Info: 130-150 calories, 50-55 mg sodium, 2 grams fiber, 2-3 grams protein, 6 grams added sugar, 20-22 grams carbohydrate (18-20 grams net carb) per ¼ cup
Kashi Organic Warm Cinnamon
Nutrition Info: 150 calories, 60 mg sodium, 5 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 6 grams added sugar, 35 grams carbohydrate (30 grams net carb) per 1 cup
Kashi Organic Honey Toasted Oat Cereal
Nutrition Info: 150 calories, 65 mg sodium, 5 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 6 grams added sugar, 32 grams carbohydrate (27 grams net carb) per 1 cup
Kashi Cinnamon Walnut Vitamin D Cereal
Nutrition Info: 230 calories, 65 mg sodium, 8 grams fiber, 6 grams protein, 7 grams added sugar, 43 grams carbohydrate (35 grams net carb) per ⅔ cup
Kashi Organic Blueberry Almond Vitamin D Cereal
Nutrition Info: 220 calories, 65 mg sodium, 8 grams fiber, 6 grams protein, 9 grams added sugar, 44 grams carbohydrate (36 grams net carb) per ¾ cup
Bob’s Red Mill Blueberry Lemon Granola
Nutrition Info: 140 calories, 70 mg sodium, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 5 grams added sugar, 19 grams carbohydrate (17 grams net carb) per ¼ cup
Nature’s Path Cocoa Coconut Superflakes Cereal
Nutrition Info: 240 calories, 100 mg sodium, 6 grams fiber, 6 grams protein, 5 grams added sugar, 39 grams carbohydrate (33 grams net carb) per 1 cup
Arrowhead Mills Organic Oat Bran Flakes
Nutrition Info: 170 calories, 115 mg sodium, 6 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 5 grams added sugar, 37 grams carbohydrate (31 grams net carb) per 1 cup
Kashi Organic Blueberry Clusters
Nutrition Info: 200 calories, 130 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, 11 grams added sugar, 44 grams carbohydrate (41 grams net carb) per 1 cup
Great Grains Raisins, Dates, & Pecans Cereal
Nutrition Info: 200 calories, 140 mg sodium, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 4 grams added sugar, 40 grams carbohydrate (36 grams net carb) per ¾ cup
General Mills Vanilla Spice Cheerios
Nutrition Info: 150 calories, 140 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 8 grams added sugar, 32 grams carbohydrate (29 grams net carb) per 1 ⅓ cup
The PDF below includes the 23 best low sodium cereals listed above AND a list of high sodium cereals to watch out for if you’re trying to limit your sodium intake.
How to Choose Healthy Cereals
In addition to looking at the sodium content in cereal, it’s important to pay attention to a few additional details on the nutrition label if you’re trying to choose the healthiest cereal.
Use these guidelines for choosing a healthy cereal:
- Fiber: choose a cereal with a minimum of 3 grams of fiber per serving, ideally with 5+ grams of fiber per serving.
- Protein: choose a cereal with a minimum of 4 grams of protein per serving (the higher the protein content, the better).
- Sodium: if trying to adhere to a low-sodium diet, choose a cereal with 140 mg of sodium or less per serving.
- Added Sugars: ideally, choose a cereal with less than 6-8 grams of added sugar per serving (the lower the better).
- Lower Glycemic: choose a cereal that’s high in fiber and protein, low in added sugars, and has under 30-45 grams carb for blood sugar control.
Some additional guidelines are outlined below to help you interpret the nutrition label and choose the best cereal:
The serving size is the amount that’s recommended to consume. The nutrition information listed on the label is based on the serving size listed.
The “total fat” is the sum of the saturated fat, trans fat, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fat in the cereal.
While the fat content of most cereals is relatively low, aim to choose cereals where the majority of the total fat comes from unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and/or monounsaturated).
Unsaturated fats are considered “healthy fats” that have positive effects on heart health. Research shows that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats reduces LDL cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease (4).
In particular, omega-3 fatty acids have the strongest association with improvements in cholesterol levels and heart health.
Sources of omega-3 fats that can be found in cereal (or added to your cereal) include flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts.
If trying to adhere to a low-sodium diet, choose a cereal with 140 milligrams of sodium or less per serving. Excess salt and sodium can have adverse effects on our health, as mentioned in the above section.
The total carbohydrates include a sum of the sugar, starches, and fiber in a food.
Carbohydrates in the form of starches and sugar are broken down into glucose, resulting in a rise in blood sugar levels.
Unlike sugar and starches, fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that doesn’t get broken down into glucose and thus doesn’t lead to an increase in blood glucose levels.
Instead, fiber actually helps to stabilize blood sugars.
Since fiber isn’t digested, it can be subtracted from the total carbohydrate content to give you the “net carbs” of the food, which is the amount of carbs that are actually absorbed into the bloodstream (5).
Consuming too many carbohydrates at meals results in elevated blood glucose levels, which is associated with increased inflammation, insulin resistance, weight gain, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and damage to blood vessels.
For these reasons, it’s important to choose cereals that are high in protein and fiber and low in sugars to help control blood glucose levels. In addition, pay attention to portion sizes to keep the total carbs in check.
For those on a keto diet, there are some low carb cereal options available that are relatively low in sodium (less than 175 mg per serving) with under 10 g carbs per serving.
As mentioned above, fiber is an indigestible form of carbohydrate. Fiber is essential for regular digestion, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and supporting gut health.
The daily fiber recommendation is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men (6).
To help you meet this recommendation, aim to consume 10 g fiber per meal.
High fiber cereals are typically made from whole grains indicated by the first ingredient listed being whole wheat, whole-grain wheat, wheat bran, oats, whole-grain oats, oat bran, barley, buckwheat, and brown rice.
If you have celiac disease or are following a gluten-free diet, look for cereals made from oats, rice, buckwheat, millet, or garbanzo beans.
Since many cereals are often low in fiber, you can increase the fiber content by adding nuts, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, fresh fruit, or dried fruit to your cereal.
When looking at the sugar content of cereal, pay particular attention to the added sugars.
It’s recommended to limit added sugars to no more than 24 grams per day due to the negative effects it has on health (7).
High sugar intake is associated with a variety of health risks including inflammation, gut dysbiosis, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and overall cancer risk (8).
Since too much sugar is linked to various health problems, choose cereals with less than 6-8 grams of sugar (the lower the better).
Added sugars can be found on the ingredient list and labeled as sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, and high fructose corn syrup to name a few.
Artificial sweeteners are also commonly added to cereals, especially cereals labeled as “low sugar,” “keto,” or “low carb.”
While artificial sweeteners don’t add to the total calories or sugar content of cereal, research shows that they’re associated with disrupting the microbiome and increasing inflammation (9).
Examples of the most popular cereals that are highest in sugar include Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Smacks, Cap’n Crunch (Original, Berries, and Peanut Butter varieties), Golden Grahams, and Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats.
Some of the best low-sugar cereals with 0 g sugar include Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs Cereal, Shredded What (Original and Wheat ‘n Bran), Arrowhead Mills Puffed Rice Cereal, and Arrowhead Mills Puffed Wheat Cereal.
Like fiber, protein helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you full longer.
Protein is also important for maintaining muscle mass, which is especially important as we age.
Aim for a minimum of 20 grams of protein per meal. To help you meet this, look for a cereal that has at least 4 g protein per serving (the higher the better).
A list of essential nutrients is located on the bottom half of the nutrition label.
This will show you how much of a nutrient is in one serving of the cereal. For example, if a cereal has 10% vitamin E, this means that one serving of that cereal will meet 10% of your daily needs for that nutrient.
Many breakfast cereals are also fortified with nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and iron.
Tip: the iron found in cereals is non-heme iron, which has a poor absorption rate. To increase the absorption of iron from your cereal, add a source of vitamin C such as sliced strawberries.
The ingredients list is located below the nutrition label. It lists all ingredients found in the cereal in descending order, with ingredients used in the highest amount first (10).
The best choice is to choose cereals with a short list of whole food ingredients that you recognize and would expect to find in cereal. For example, the only ingredient listed on Shredded Wheat is “whole grain wheat.”
Many cereals contain a lengthy list of additives, artificial ingredients, chemicals, and natural flavors. These ingredients can promote inflammation in the body, disrupt hormones, and have other potentially damaging health effects.
As a rule of thumb, if you don’t recognize an ingredient, it’s probably not a good choice.
Overall Healthiest Cereal
The best healthy cereals with 0 mg sodium, at least 4 grams of protein and fiber, and 1 gram of added sugar or less include:
- Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Low Sodium Crunchy Cereal
- Shredded Wheat Original
- Shredded Wheat – Wheat ‘N Bran
- Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs
Sodium is required in small amounts for physiological functions like fluid and electrolyte balance and nerve transmission.
However, too much salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health conditions. It’s recommended to consume no more than 1,500-2,300 mg sodium per day for optimal health.
When looking for a low sodium cereal, choose a product with <140 mg of sodium per serving.
In addition, the healthiest cereals will have at least 4-5 grams of protein and fiber per serving (the more the better), and less than 8 grams of added sugar (the lower the better).
Some of the top healthy cereal options that meet these guidelines include Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Low Sodium Crunchy Cereal, Shredded Wheat (Original and Wheat ‘N Bran), and Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs.
I hope this list makes it easy for you to identify low sodium, nutritious breakfast cereals the next time you’re browsing the cereal aisle!
If you’d like to download a PDF list of the 23 best low sodium cereals, just click the button below.