Top 25 Iron Rich Cereals to Start Your Day

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Are you on the lookout for a comprehensive list of iron rich cereals created by a dietitian? Look no further! In this guide, I’ve compiled a selection of the top 25 cereals highest in iron to support your nutritional needs. 

Whether you’re aiming to boost your iron intake or simply seeking a delicious breakfast option, these cereals with high iron are sure to satisfy your cravings while helping you meet your iron needs.

iron rich cereals cover page with cereal

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Why iron is important

Iron plays a critical role in your health—it’s essential for carrying oxygen throughout your body. It also supports metabolism, energy production, and overall growth and development. 

Maintaining adequate iron levels prevents iron deficiency anemia, which can lead to symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and compromised immune function. 

Certain groups, such as those pregnant or menstruating, following a vegan or vegetarian diet, endurance athletes, children, and individuals with specific health conditions, may require higher iron intake to support their needs effectively.

So, high in iron cereals are particularly helpful for people who need more iron in their diet or anyone looking to increase their iron intake easily. 

Recommended iron intake

To ensure optimal iron levels, it is important to understand the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of iron for different age groups. 

Age GroupMen (mg/day)Women (mg/day)
1-3 years77
4-8 years1010
9-13 years88
14-18 years1115
19-50 years818
51+ years88
Adapted from NIH Iron Fact Sheet

How to find the best iron rich cereals

Iron fortified cereal is one of your best bets for a high iron breakfast. These cereals high in iron have iron added during processing, a process called fortification.

Fortifying a cereal increases its nutritional value not only for iron, but for other vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in an average diet.

Keep an eye out for phrases like “fortified with iron” or “excellent source of iron” on the packaging. Typically, these cereals contain around 18 milligrams (mg) of iron per serving, meeting a significant portion of your daily iron needs. 

The food label % Daily Value recommendation for iron is based on the higher iron requirement of 18 mg. 

Reading the food label

Picking out cereals rich in iron is easier when you understand how to read food labels. Here’s what you need to look out for:

  • Rich” or “Excellent Source” of iron: Indicates the product contains 20% or more of the Daily Value (DV) of iron per serving.
  • Good Source” of iron: Indicates the product contains 10-19% DV of iron per serving.
  • Low Source” of iron: Indicates the product has 5% DV or less of iron per serving.
image shows food label highlighting iron content and @DV. As a general guide 5% is low and 20% is high

Cereals with less than 20% of the DV for iron still contribute to a healthy diet. They help you maintain a balanced nutrient intake, supporting your overall well-being.

Foods with lower percentages of the %DV are beneficial. They should be included in your diet with other nutrient-rich foods.

How much iron do you absorb from iron rich cereals

Iron comes in two types in our food: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is the kind you find in animal products, like meat and fish. Your body absorbs it really well. Read our blog post to learn more about iron rich foods.

Non-heme iron, on the other hand, is what you get from plant foods and fortified foods, including many breakfast cereals.

This non-heme iron, like the kind found in our iron rich cereals list, doesn’t get absorbed by your body as easily as heme iron. So just because a cereal has 100%DV doesn’t mean that your body will absorb that amount.

Iron rich cereals list

This iron rich cereal list highlights cereals highest in iron but also a few cereals that have less than the %DV so that you can find the right cereal to meet your needs.

When using this list pay particular attention to the serving size especially when you are comparing different cereals.

While you can find many sugary fortified cereals, our list has a good number of high fiber, high protein choices that can be part of a balanced diet.

Cereal NameServing SizeIron (mg)% Daily ValueDescription
Total Raisin Bran1 ¼ cup18100%Combines the goodness of bran flakes with sweet raisins, providing a balanced breakfast option packed with iron and natural sweetness.
Wheaties1 ½ cup18100%The “Breakfast of Champions,” featuring toasted whole wheat flakes that provide a satisfying crunch and sustained energy throughout the day.
Multi-Grain Cheerios1 ⅓ cup18100%Blend of whole grain oats and real honey, offering a satisfying crunch and a touch of sweetness in every bite.
Frosted Mini-Wheats25 biscuits18100%Bite-sized biscuits made with whole grain wheat and a light frosting, providing a sweet and satisfying breakfast experience.
Grape-Nuts½ cup16.290%Crunchy blend of whole grain wheat and malted barley, offering a hearty and nutritious breakfast option packed with iron and fiber.
Quaker Oatmeal Squares1 cup16.590%Crunchy squares made with whole grain oats and a touch of brown sugar, offering a hearty and satisfying breakfast option.
Honey Bunches of Oats1 cup16.290%Mix of crispy flakes, crunchy oat clusters, and sweet honey granola, providing a delightful combination of textures and flavors.
Cheerios Oat Crunch Almond1 cup14.480%
A blend of whole grain oats and a touch of sweetness, this multigrain cereal boasts a hearty texture.
Life1 cup13.270%Lightly sweetened whole grain oat cereal, offering a crispy texture and wholesome flavor that’s sure to please the whole family.
Cheerios1 ½ cup12.670%Classic oat-based rings known for their wholesome taste and heart-healthy benefits, making them a popular choice for all ages.
Corn Flakes1 ½ cup1260%Crisp, golden flakes made from milled corn, offering a light and airy texture perfect for those who prefer a simple, no-frills cereal option.
Rice Krispies1 ½ cup11.260%Light and crispy rice cereal known for its signature snap, crackle, and pop, providing a delightful texture and flavor experience.
Special K1 ¼ cup10.960%Features lightly sweetened rice and wheat flakes, offering a light and crispy texture with a hint of sweetness.
Special K Red Berries1 cup10.860%Special K flakes with the added sweetness of real strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, making breakfast both nutritious and delicious.
General Mills Corn Chex1 ¼ cup10.860%A gluten-free cereal made with whole grain corn and a touch of sugar. It has a crunchy texture and a mild corn flavor.
Kix1 ¼ cup10.860%Crunchy cereal balls with a touch of honey and vanilla, delivering a delicious and wholesome breakfast choice
Cream of Wheat3 T dry9.8 50%A warm and comforting breakfast cereal made from wheat semolina. It boasts a smooth and creamy texture.
All Bran Flakes1 ⅓ cup950%Crunchy flakes made from whole wheat and bran, offering a hearty and fiber-rich start to your day.
Weetabix3 bisc740%A whole-grain wheat breakfast cereal that comes in the form of palm-sized biscuits. Has a crunchy texture and a mild wheat flavor.
All-Bran Buds1 ⅓ cup4.625%Made with natural wheat bran, offering a high-fiber and nutrient-rich breakfast option that supports digestive health.
Great Grains-Cranberry Almond1 cup4.525%A blend of whole grain oats and real almonds with an irresistible crunch. 
Ezekiel 4:9® Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal½ cup420%Made from sprouted organic grains and legumes, which are rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants.
Kashi Original1 ¼ cup2.915%Mix of whole grains, protein, and fiber, providing a nutritious and filling start to your day.
Nature’s Path Smart Bran3/4 cup2 mg15%Super crunchy cereal nuggets are high-fiber fuel in a bowl, combining organic wheat bran, oat bran, and psyllium seed husk.
Quaker Oatmeal½ cup1.58%Breakfast staple crafted from 100% whole grain oats with a chewy texture. 

How to include iron rich cereals in your diet

Incorporating iron rich cereals into your diet is both easy and delicious. For optimal iron absorption, combine these cereals high in iron with a source of vitamin C. Here are some ideas:

  • Sprinkle high iron cereal on greek yogurt parfaits topped with fresh berries
  • Slice strawberries and serve over your favorite high in iron cereal 
  • Enjoy a serving of cereal with high iron with a glass of 100% orange juice
  • Create a trail mix with your favorite iron rich cereal, dried mango, and nuts for a snack
  • Opt for cereal with high iron made from whole oats, bran, or wheat which are a natural iron source
  • Incorporate iron rich nuts and seeds such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds into your meals and snacks

Personalizing your iron needs

Not all iron is absorbed equally by the body. Incorporating iron-rich cereal into your diet is just one aspect of ensuring adequate iron intake.

If you’re concerned about iron deficiency or want to tailor your diet more closely to your needs, reach out to a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian.

They can offer insights tailored to your dietary preferences and nutritional requirements. And can help you choose the best cereals high in fiber as well as foods for optimal iron intake.

left hand holding a white bowl with iron rich cereals with nuts, raisins and coconut

Final thoughts

Choosing the right iron rich cereals is more than just picking a box off the shelf; it’s about making an informed decision that aligns with your health goals and dietary needs.

By prioritizing fortified options, whole grains, and high fiber cereal with nuts and seeds, you’re on the right track. We also cover high fiber low sugar cereal choices to power your high fiber breakfast.

Remember, enhancing your breakfast with vitamin C-rich foods can enhance iron absorption. 

And when in doubt, professional guidance is always a wise choice to ensure your diet supports your iron needs effectively.

So, next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a box of fortified cereal to power up your mornings!

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