Gluten-Free Cereals

Companies Make A Multitude of Hot, Cold, High-Fiber and Kid-Friendly Choices

gluten-free vanilla chex
Chex is one of many gluten-free cereals. Courtesy of General Mills

Just a few years ago, gluten-free cereal fans had limited options, most of which were available only at natural food stores.

Not so anymore — these days, you can find gluten-free cereal at any supermarket, and there's a huge variety from which to choose, including mainstream choices (think Chex and Cheerios), plus health food store-type choices (think organic, high-fiber and low-sugar varieties).

It's possible to find cold breakfast-style cereals, hot varieties such as certified gluten-free oats and whole-grain porridge, fiber-packed granola cereals and gluten-free kid-friendly cereals with plenty of child-pleasing sugar (not that you'd ever buy that!).

Here's a rundown of the various gluten-free cereal options available — just click on the links at the bottom of each section to get more information and a list of products available in each different category of gluten-free cereal.

Gluten-Free Cold Cereal

This used to be the toughest category to find in a regular supermarket a decade ago (when my own options were limited to tasteless, unsweetened something-or-other flakes bought in a health food store — that was the point where I gave up cereal completely, quite honestly).

You've got plenty of gluten-free cold cereals from which to choose if you enjoy it for breakfast or as a snack. Specialty gluten-free manufacturers and mainstream consumer products manufacturers offer many different varieties, including high-fiber cereals, cereals with added fruit and some fairly sweet varieties.

General Mills deserves a special mention in this section -- the company makes both Chex and Cheerios, and most varieties of those popular cereals are considered gluten-free (look for "gluten-free" in large type on the box).

Note that Cheerios are controversial: they contain oats (oats can be a problem for some of us who can't have gluten), and lots of people got sick from them due to  significant gluten cross-contamination when they first were launched. You'll need to make your own decision on whether to consume them, based on the information I provide below.

Gluten-Free Hot Cereals

If you prefer to start your day with hot cereal, you've also got plenty of options, including easy instant hot cereals and high-fiber hot cereals you cook on the stove or in the microwave.

Bear in mind that many of these hot cereals contain gluten-free certified oats, which will pose a problem for oat-sensitive celiacs (see the link above where I discuss Cheerios). But if you can't have oats and want traditional porridge, you'll likely find something you'll enjoy here.

Gluten-Free Granola Cereals

Granola can provide either a morning cereal or a substantial take-along snack, and four different manufacturers make a variety of different gluten-free granola cereal flavors.

As with hot gluten-free cereals, many gluten-free granola cereals contain oats, placing them off-limits to celiacs who can't eat oats. But there are a few varieties that omit the oats but retain the crunch you crave with granola.

Gluten-Free Kids' Cereals

Gluten-free kids have a bonanza of kid-friendly choices in cereal, including several products from mainstream manufacturers and a slew of options from specialty natural food firms. These include perennial kids' favorites Cheerios (note the concerns I mention above) and Lucky Charms.

Due to concerns about added sugar in kids' products, companies are cutting back on the sugar in heavily-sweetened breakfast cereals — but there's still almost certainly enough sugar in these gluten-free kids' cereals to please your gluten-free child.

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