Gluten-Free Cereals: High-Fiber, Fruit-Flavored Options

Celiacs can have cereal for breakfast (and dinner, too)

Gluten-free cold cereal options continue to expand rapidly, with mainstream cereal manufacturers joining specialty and health food companies in offering ever-wider selections of gluten-free cold cereals and gluten-free granola. It's now possible to find gluten-free cereal in almost every grocery store, as well as in natural foods stores.

If you enjoy a bowl of cereal for breakfast or for a snack, you can choose from high-fiber cereals, cereals with added fruit, and cereals that would please someone with a sweet tooth. Enough varieties exist that you can easily keep a nice selection on hand of gluten-free cold cereals.

These cereals certainly would suit both adults and kids. However, there are many additional gluten-free kids' cereals on the market, as well.

1
Bakery on Main Gluten-Free Granola

woman eating cereal at the beach
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Bakery on Main offers gluten-free granola and gluten-free sprouted grain granola. Note that some varieties contain oats, so if you're sensitive to avenin, the protein in oats that's a close relative to gluten, you should steer clear of those.

The company's corn- and rice-based granola cereals include Nutty Cranberry Maple, Extreme Fruit & Nut, Apple Raisin Walnut, Cranberry Orange Cashew and Rainforest varieties. Its sprouted Organic Happy Granola cereals, which are oat-based, include Blueberry Flax. All Bakery on Main products are certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) to include fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten, and they're prepared in a dedicated gluten-free facility.

2
Boulder Granola

Boulder Granola urges you to "release your inner hippie" and features a painted Volkswagen bus driving across the screen. The company offers certified gluten-free granola in four flavors: original, vanilla pecan, cranberry and chocolate chunk. The granolas are also organic, non-GMO and vegan.

They do contain gluten-free oats, so steer clear if you've found you're also sensitive to oats. The granola is certified gluten-free by the GFCO, which tests to 10 parts per million of gluten.

3
Chex Cereals

Most Chex cereals now come gluten-free, making Chex (a General Mills product) one of the most popular gluten-free cold cereal options. 

General Mills makes Chocolate, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Fruit & Oats, Corn, Honey Nut and Rice Chex gluten-free, although reports from readers indicate that not all stores carry all flavors. ​The cereals are tested to contain fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten, but some people who are particularly sensitive to trace gluten have reported reactions to them.

Note that the Fruit & Oats flavor contains oats. Not everyone with celiac or gluten sensitivity can handle oats.

Make sure when you buy Chex that you're buying a box with the "Gluten-Free" label on the left hand side ​since General Mills also makes one flavor—Wheat—that is most definitely not gluten-free.

4
Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles

Post Foods earned kudos from those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity when it announced that it had made its popular Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles cereals gluten-free (to 20 parts per million).

The company also said it was responding to health concerns by lowering the sugar content of its cereals to 9 grams per serving.

Although most people think of Pebbles cereals as a kids' product, I've known plenty of adults who like them. Gluten-free consumers can find Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles in most supermarkets.

5
Nature's Path Cereals

Specialty health food manufacturer Nature's Path makes a wide variety of gluten-free cold cereals, including fruit juice-sweetened and high-fiber varieties.

Gluten-free consumers can choose from Crunch Maple Sunrise, Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise, Whole O's Cereal, Crispy Rice Cereal, Fruit Juice-Sweetened Corn Flakes, Honey'd Corn Flakes and Mesa Sunrise Flakes.

Nature's Path cereals are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, which requires products to contain fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten. Nature's Path also makes a line of organic gluten-free kids' cereals under the EnviroKidz name, including Gorilla Munch, Koala Crisp, Leapin' Lemurs, Amazon Frosted Flakes and Panda Puffs.

Larger supermarkets usually carry some Nature's Path product in their health food sections (or occasionally in their mainstream cereal aisles). Alternatively, you can find them online.

6
Kellogg's Special K Gluten-Free

If you're looking for a mainstream healthy cold cereal choice that's also gluten-free, you might want to consider Kellogg's Special K Gluten-Free Touch of Brown Sugar. Kellogg's makes the cereal to conform to U.S. gluten-free standards, which call for less than 20 parts per million of gluten in the finished product.

Ingredients include whole grain brown rice, whole grain sorghum, milled corn, corn bran, soluble corn fiber, and brown sugar syrup.

When purchasing Kellogg's gluten-free Special K cereal, be especially careful to choose the correct box, since the gluten-free cereal is displayed right alongside regular gluten-containing Special K cereal.

7
Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Granola

Trader Joe's offers two gluten-free granola cereals—Cranberry Maple Nut granola and Loaded Fruit granola. Neither contain oats; both are based on corn flour and rice flour and bran. Both of Trader Joe's gluten-free granola cereals are dairy-free, and each contains about 3 grams of fiber per 3/4 cup serving. These granolas are tested to contain fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten.

8
Udi's Gluten-Free Granola

Udi's Gluten-Free makes four flavors of its gluten-free granola, including Original, Cranberry, Au Naturel and Vanilla. All contain certified gluten-free oats. Udi's granolas also are certified by the GFCO and tested to make sure they include fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten.

Be careful not to pick up a bag of Udi's Artisan Granola by mistake—they come in different packaging but the same flavors (plus two additional flavors), and they are only wheat-free, not gluten-free.

9
Cheerios

Cheerios is listed last on this list of gluten-free cold cereals for a reason.

Many people in the gluten-free community cheered when General Mills rolled out gluten-free Cheerios. However, those cheers soon turned to jeers when many people found the gluten-free Cheerios made them sick.

The company ultimately admitted it had made a mistake with wheat flour in one of its facilities, cross-contaminating boxes of Cheerios. Following this incident, General Mills re-committed to making safe gluten-free products. However, the company lost plenty of trust.

Currently, celiac disease experts don't recommend that anyone with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity consume gluten-free Cheerios. However, if you want to consider trying them, you should first answer these five questions:

1) Can you eat gluten-free oats? Cheerios—including the gluten-free Cheerios varieties—contain oats. In fact, oats are the main ingredient. Those who can't eat oats shouldn't try Cheerios.

2) How sensitive are you to trace gluten? General Mills isn't using gluten-free oats to make its gluten-free Cheerios (there just aren't enough gluten-free oats out there to meet the demand). Instead, the company has developed a process that sorts and sifts the raw grains to weed out anything that's not oats, especially wheat, barley and rye.

The problem is, this process isn't perfect—inevitably, some bits of gluten grains will get through the sorting process and be baked into the finished Cheerios. Some boxes will be better than others. But if you tend to react to lower levels of gluten, you should steer clear of gluten-free Cheerios. 

3) Are you overdoing the oats? Even if you have no problem eating oats, it's possible to overdo it—experts advise starting slowly (eating only a tablespoon or two) and ultimately consuming no more than about 50 grams of oats per day. That's two cups of Cheerios.

4) How do you react to fiber? Some people reporting reactions to Cheerios could be reacting instead to increased fiber in their diets.

We all need fiber, and of course many of us don't get enough of it. Plain Cheerios contain about 3 grams of fiber per one-cup serving, so it's entirely possible that someone whose diet has been devoid of fiber might experience some intestinal, ahem, difficulties when adding in a bowl or two of Cheerios.

5) Are you buying the right kind of Cheerios? If this is your problem with Cheerios, it's the simplest one to solve: with all the publicity and hype generated over gluten-free Cheerios, it's easy to gloss over the fact that not all Cheerios flavors are considered gluten-free. Make sure you look for a box prominently labeled "gluten-free" on the lower right corner.

A Word From Verywell

Based on this list, it's obvious that you don't need to give up eating cereal if you're diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Just remember to be careful if you're trying oats for the first time since your diagnosis, and perhaps stick with a gluten-free certified product if you happen to be especially sensitive to trace gluten. Then, get yourself a bowl and a spoon and dig in!

Source:

Celiac Disease Foundation. What Should I Eat? Fact Sheet.

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