Wondering which cereals are ok on a low FODMAP diet? We’ve got you covered!
In this article we review certified low FODMAP cereal, products that are likely low FODMAP based on their ingredients, label reading tips to help you make your own decisions, and a bit about FODMAP stacking.
*This article includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Is Cereal Healthy?
After fasting through the night our body’s stores of carbohydrates are pretty well used up. Eating breakfast cereal can be a good way to refuel. Plus, if you choose wisely, cereal can add fiber to your diet. In fact, breakfast cereal is one of the top sources of fiber in the American diet (sadly).
Many cereals are also enriched with vitamins and minerals. While processed foods are not the healthiest way to get vitamins and minerals, a large group of people would be deficient in certain nutrients were it not for cereal and other fortified grain products. Cereal can be a big help for those who struggle to get in enough fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
But not all breakfast cereals are created equal. Many are highly processed, loaded with sugar, and lack fiber. And unfortunately, low FODMAP cereals tend to fall in this category.
However, while these high sugar choices are not optimal for overall health (more on this below), we recognize that following a low FODMAP diet is hard. And sometimes you just need something quick and easy that isn’t going to make you double over in pain.
How to Choose a Healthier Option
When choosing your cereal, be sure to check the label and compare products to help you make an informed decision.
Many cereals, especially those marketed toward children, are loaded with sugar. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, breakfast cereals and cereal bars are among the top sources of added sugars in the United States. Check the Nutrition Facts label on your cereal box for “added sugars”. The lower the better but try not to exceed 10 grams per serving.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 10% of calories from added sugars (200 calories or 48 grams per day for those on a 2000 calorie diet). Other organizations have more strict recommendations. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 24 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugars per day for women, and 36 grams (9 teaspoons per day for men).
And while you are looking at the Nutrition Facts label, look for at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Special bonus if your cereal also provides 3 grams or more of protein!
If you struggle to find a low FODMAP cereal that is high in fiber, you can increase fiber and other nutrients by topping your cereal with low FODMAP fruit and nuts.
How to Find Low FODMAP Cereal
Below are several tips to help you choose cereals that might fit into your low or reduced FODMAP diet.
If you are lactose intolerant you will also want to choose lactose-free milk or a dairy alternative. Low FODMAP options include almond milk, rice milk, quinoa milk, macadamia milk, and hemp milk. As always, check the label to make sure there are no hidden high FODMAP ingredients.
Certified Low FODMAP
If you really want to play it safe, simply look for a certified low FODMAP product. Keep your eye out for the Monash University or FODMAP Friendly certification symbols. These foods have been tested in a lab to make sure they fit the parameters of a low FODMAP diet.
Also check out the apps from Monash University and FODMAP Friendly. Both apps contain a database of foods and thier FODMAP content, plus list various certified low FODMAP products.
Cold Low FODMAP Cereal
Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes & Chocolate Frosted Flakes
Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, Strawberry Rice Krispies, Cocoa Krispies & Frosted Krispies
Kellogg’s Crispix Original
Kellogg’s Special K
Freedom Foods Rice Puffs, Maple Cruch, Muesli, Ancient Grains (Australia)
Food For Health – Cacao & Coconut Clusters, Chia & Cinnamon Fruit Free Clusters, Choc Cherry Clusters, Cranberry & Coconut Clusters, Liver Cleansing Muesli, Nutty Almond Fruit Free Clusters (Australia)
Likely Low FODMAP in Moderate Portions
The following cereals contains low FODMAP ingredients and are likely to be well tolerated in the portion sizes listed on the package.
This list is not a product endorsement. In fact many of these products are lacking in fiber and are high in sugar. See above to learn how to chose the healthies option and consider making other low FODMAP breakfast alternatives part of your rotation.
General Mills Cheerios – Original, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Multigrain, Maple, Frosted, Cinnamon, Chocolate, and Oat Crunch
General Mills Corn Chex, Peanut Butter Chex
Post Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles
Post Waffle Crisp Cereal
Cap’N Crunch – Original, Crunch Berries, Peanut Butter Crunch
Cascadian Farms Berry Vanilla Puffs Cereal
Barbara’s Puffins Peanut Butter Cereal, Peanut Butter and Chocolate
Barbara’s Organic Brown Rice Crisps
Barbara’s Organic Gluten-Free Corn Flakes
Envirokidz Gorilla Munch Cereal
Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs
Envorokidz Gluten-Free Frosted Amazon Flakes
Nature’s Path Rice Puffs
Full Circle Market PB Blasts
Field Day Organic Gold Rice Crisps
Field Day Organic Toasted O’s
Hot Low FODMAP Cereal
Hot cereal or porridge can be made from several different grains. Many gluten-free grains are also low FODMAP. Be cautious of products with added ingredients that may be higher in FODMAPs, as in flavored instant oatmeal.
½ cup (dry) quick oats
Old fashioned rolled oats
Steel cut oats
Quinoa or quinoa flakes
Corn grits or polenta
White or brown rice
The above lists are certainly not all inclusive but may give you a good place to start.
Label Reading for Low FODMAP Cereal
Still not sure if your favorite cereal is low FODMAP? Start by looking for a product made with low FODMAP grains like oats, quinoa, rice, corn, or millet. Check over the package for other possible high FODMAP ingredients.
Note that ingredients are listed in the order of quantity. This means that if you see a high FODMAP food as one of the first 3 ingredients in a product, you might want to move on. If the high FODMAP ingredient comes toward the end of the list it might not cause as much discomfort because it is likely used in small amounts.
There are many cereals on the market that have mostly low FODMAP ingredients, but contain a high FODMAP sweetener like honey, agave nectar, golden syrup, coconut sugar, or molasses.
While it can be hard to know how much of these sweeteners are in a product, if they are listed toward the end of the ingredient list they might be acceptable on a low FODMAP diet. This may especially be true if the product contains 5 grams or less per serving of added sugar. In this case it is likely ok to include these cereals if the ingredients are otherwise low in FODMAPs.
High FODMAP Ingredients in Cereal Products
- High fructose corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrate or puree
- Agave nectar*
- Golden syrup*
- Coconut sugar*
- Sugar alcohols including sorbitol, mannitol, lactitol, maltitol, xylitol, erythritol, and isomalt
*Items with an asterisk are considered low FODMAP when present in amounts less than 1 teaspoon
- Chicory root
- Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)
- Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)
- Bean based flours
- Dried Fruit
A Note About “Natural Flavor”
Natural flavor is something commonly seen on the ingredient list of processed foods. According to FDA regulations, natural flavors are:
“derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”
This non-specific term may include high FODMAP foods like onion powder, garlic powder, or fruit juice concentrate. Usually, natural flavor comes toward the end of the ingredient list, meaning it is present in smaller amounts.
For those on the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, talk to your dietitian to decide whether you need to avoid foods with natural flavor in the ingredients. If you have gone through re-introduction and are following your own modified version of a low FODMAP diet, it is probably ok to give these foods a try – just monitor your symptoms.
Also keep in mind that food manufactures can (and often do) change their recipes. That means that your go-to cereal could become high in FODMAPs at some point. It is good practice to scan those ingredient labels frequently to look for changes.
And remember that not all foods have been tested for FODMAPs. If your symptoms are well controlled, don’t be afraid to try a food you are not sure about. Low FODMAP diets are meant to be challenged! FODMAPs and other fibers are GOOD for your gut microbiome (read Importance of Food Diversity in Gut Health).
If you want to try something new, simply start with a small portion and monitor your symptoms – a registered dietitian can help you through this process.
FODMAP stacking refers to the additive effect of small portions of moderate- or high-FODMAP foods. For example, you may have a breakfast cereal that contains wheat (high in fructans) as the third ingredient, but no other high FODMAP ingredients. This alone, might not cause symptoms.
But let’s say the next day you throw some blueberries on that same cereal. Blueberries also contain fructans. And even if that portion of blueberries was considered low FODMAP (1/4 cup), you might have symptoms due to the addition of another source of fructans.
However, maybe instead you throw on some strawberries (which contain fructose, but not fructans). You are less likely to experience symptoms becuase you are not stacking the same FODMAP in that meal.
FODMAP stacking can get tricky. This is another area a trained dietitian can help you with.
The Bottom Line
Cold and hot cereals are among the most popular breakfast choices. However, there are some extra considerations to take when eating cereal as part of a low FODMAP diet.
You can use the above lists of low FODMAP cereals as a guide. But make sure you check the packaging carefully and remember that manufacturers may change their formulation. If you find a low FODMAP certified product, you can rest assured that it fits in your low FODMAP diet. Otherwise, take a close look at the ingredient list.
And don’t forget to look at the Nutrient Facts label to help you find the healthiest options. Healthier choices contain less than 10 grams of added sugar, at least 3 grams of fiber, and ideally some protein. Add low FODMAP fresh fruit and nuts to your cereal to up your fiber game.
For low FODMAP breakfast options beyond cereal, check out my article 7 Quick and Easy Low FODMAP Breakfast Ideas.
Or take the guesswork out of your meals with Modify Health – a meal delivery service for the low FODMAP diet. They have fully prepared meals to make things super simple. Shipping is free. If you use my affiliate link I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. But before you buy, read my ModifyHealth Review.
Not sure if the low FODMAP diet is the best choice for you? Check out this helpful article The FODMAP Elimination Diet: What to Consider Before You Start.
Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.