8 Healthy Cheerios Alternatives to Switch to and Ditch the Glyphosate

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General Mills claims that Cheerios are not produced with genetically modified ingredients, as stated on the label, but that raised eyebrows in recent years when it was discovered that Cheerios were contaminated with glyphosate. This, btw, is surprising because GMOs are genetically engineered to be resistant to glyphosate, aka, farmers can target weeds while leaving the resistant crops unaffected. Thus, why the need for glyphosate? 

There are so many healthy alternatives to Cheerios! Read on to learn more. 

Hans Isaacson via Unsplash

What the Heck is Glyphosate?

In addition to being found in weed killers, glyphosate is also the active ingredient in the popular Monsanto herbicide Roundup.1 Cause for concern? Absolutely. Glyphosate is most often used with GMO crops. It’s not something we should worry about when looking for healthy cereal options to feed our families.

(Psst…it’s not just General Mills. Glyphosate was found in several popular processed foods when undergoing testing by Food Democracy Now!)

The Health Risks of Glyphosate in Your Food

Glyphosate is an undesirable ingredient to find in cereal for a number of reasons. First, glyphosate was found to be a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization back in 2015, and has been linked to cancer — not really something you want floating around in your kids’ breakfast bowls.2

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), new human studies suggest that exposure to this chemical during pregnancy may be associated with risks such as lower birth weight, shorter pregnancy, and found children exposed to glyphosate are at higher risks for metabolic and liver disease.2

The Environmental Risks of Glyphosate

Glyphosate also has some equally scary effects on the environment. It has been linked to pollinator death, including population decline amongst Monarch butterflies. Not to mention harm to the spatial learning and memory of honeybees, impairing their ability to pollinate plants and find food sources.

When you choose GMO-free foods for your family, you’re not supposed to have to worry about glyphosate: after all, GMO-free foods are not “Roundup ready” and don’t resist glyphosate.

However, Monsanto has encouraged farmers to spray glyphosate on certain crops, including oats — the main ingredient in Cheerios and many breakfast cereals — in order to dry them down before processing.

In other words, your favorite breakfast cereals may be GMO-free and still contain glyphosate.

Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?

The Good News

The good news is that in recent years, glyphosate rates have decreased in some convenient snack and breakfast products such as cereals, granola, oatmeal, and snack bars.2

The EWG states “Our latest round of tests showed concentrations of glyphosate above our health benchmark in just under a third of conventional samples.”

This is better, but we aren’t in the clear yet, as glyphosate is still being detected, with the highest amounts found in Quaker products.

The Bad News – There’s a New Pesticide Creeping in Your Food

Now for some bad news– chlormequat, a pesticide found to harm development and reproductive systems in animals, has been creeping into oat-based products. In fact, it was detected in 12 of 13 non-organic lab-tested, oat-based products.3 Out of the 12 detected to have chlormequat, 11 were found to have levels higher than we deem to be safe for children’s consumption.

While chlormequat is not approved for food products grown in the US, imported oats are allowed to have residue on them, a regulation permitted by the EPA in 2018.

Here’s How We Found Our List of Cereals Without Glyphosate

At Organic Authority, we think cancer-causing chemicals have no place in foods. With this in mind, how are you supposed to find cereal brands that are transparent, sustainable, and healthful?

We took our cue from the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group known for its egg scorecard and work on carrageenan removal from organic products.

The organization has created a similar cereal scorecard, ranking brands based on seven criteria, including the organic status of the brand, GMO policy, and company policy on dangerous chemicals like glyphosate. The top brands have a five-wheat score (and brands like General Mills earn a measly one-wheat rating).

He recommends choosing only certified organic food to ensure that we don’t get tripped up by nasty GMOs, but there’s more to good food than weeding out the bad.

While you’re at it, you may want to consider further protecting your child by ensuring their gut health, which is proven to support immunity and more. Both fiber-rich foods (prebiotics), like organic cereals, and probiotics may help (read more on probiotics for kids here).

“We are trying to differentiate between the true heroes in this industry, complying with the spirit and the letter of the law, and major brands we consider ‘scofflaws,’” explains Kastel.

With that in mind, here are just a few cereal brands you can really trust.

Here are 8 Healthy Cereal Alternatives to Cheerios 

Cold Cereals

1. Nature’s Path

The Envirokidz line is delicious and makes an impact.

Nature's Path

Nature’s Path gets a five-wheat rating from the Cornucopia Institute thanks to its long-time commitment to organic foods.

“Our goal is to be a trusted name for quality organic foods in every home – socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and financially viable,” the company notes on its website.

They are USDA certified organic, and everything is produced and grown using non-chemical agriculture. And did we mention, they’re delicious?

This company’s line of cold breakfast cereals truly offers something for everyone, with more than 50 varieties. The Q’ia line of flakes is made with sprouted grains and add-ins like fair trade cocoa powder or chia seeds. Crispy rice, corn flakes, will remind you of classic favorites (without the pesky herbicides).

The Envirokidz line is delicious and makes an impact. With every purchase, Nature’s Path donates 1% of the proceeds to environmental education and conservation projects that help save endangered animals. So, while your kids (and you!) munch on delicious corn puffs, crisp chocolate, peanut butter & chocolate, or strawberry & chocolate, you might be saving animals in need!

$30.15 for 6 boxes

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 2. Cascadian Farm

Cascadian Farm makes a number of cereals you can feel good about feeding your kids — none of which contain glyphosate.

Cascadian Farm

While this organic brand is owned by General Mills, the producer of Cheerios, Cascadian Farm’s organic cereals are a horse of a different color entirely, and they’re definitely a better choice than many other brands. What’s more, since they’re owned by a bigger company, they tend to be fairly easy to find.

Cascadian Farm makes a number of cereals you can feel good about feeding your kids, including gluten-free Berry Vanilla Puffs that avoid the technicolor hues of some other kids’ cereal, and Cinnamon Crunch, Honey Nut O’s, and Raisin Bran to rival even the most popular breakfast cereal brands.

100% of this brand’s cereal is USDA certified organic, and they’re given 100 points (out of 100) on Cornucopia for their brand’s GMO policy.

As much as we love classic cereals like Fruit Loops (c’mon, I’m sure you remember how good a bowl of those neon-fruit-rings were on a Saturday morning), we don’t love all the additives. Made from whole grain yellow corn meal, Fruitful O’s keep breakfast fun while ditching artificial colors and flavors. 


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3. Annie’s Homegrown

Cocoa Bunnies are where it’s at if you loved those chocolate “rocks” as a kid.

Annie's Homegrown

We’ve been long-time fans of Annie’s after falling in love with their delicious, organic mac and cheese products. And, we are happy to announce that their cereals live up to their tasty legacy!

Cocoa Bunnies are perfect for those who like a bit of chocolate first thing in the morning, and since they contain 13 grams of whole grains and fair trade cocoa, you can feel good about serving them to your little ones.

Berry Bunnies’ fun shapes and natural color are much more palatable than technicolor fruit cereals that you may have grown up with (seriously, there’s no way something that bright can be good for you). Their delicious Cinnamon Roll Cereal is naturally gluten-free, and, as it says on their box, made with goodness (which to us, means organic, non-GMO ingredients). 


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Granolas and Clusters

4. Go Raw

Nut-free apple cinnamon flavor is like a blast of fall that you can enjoy all year round, we love this as a glyphosate-free cereal option with crunch!

Go Raw

Go Raw, as its name suggests, is a raw food company offering bars, cookies, crisps, and a “guilt-free” granola in four flavors: apple cinnamon, raisin crunch, super simple, and coco crunch.

“We want to offer consumers more ‘free-from’ options that don’t sacrifice on flavor,” writes rep Lindsay Lea. “Our customers can feel confident that they are eating a granola that is not filled with junk just to make it ‘taste’ good.”

Their Gluten-Free, 0g-sugar added, and nut-free apple cinnamon flavor is like a blast of fall that you can enjoy all year round. The first ingredient listed is dates, giving it an unbeatable, naturally sweet flavor, and with just 11 ingredients — it’s a breakfast you can feel good about.

With ingredients sourced domestically when possible to ensure adherence to strict organic guidelines and an open-door policy when consumers have questions about a specific ingredient, Go Raw offers transparency, assured quality, and a delicious healthy cereal. 

$23.99 for a pack of 3

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5. Grandy Organics

Grandy granola is made without preservatives and refined sugars

Grandy Organics

Grandy Organics is a granola, trail mix, and hot cereal company founded on “hippie heritage” and friendship. The co-owners of the company began working together in April of 2000 after bonding over being the only two guys in their college class that drove VW buses.

Today, the folks behind Grandy Organics call themselves “real granolas,” both for their real food cereal, made without preservatives and refined sugars, and their “crunchy granola” mindset.

The company produces a wide range of granolas and healthy cereal options, including a grain-free granola made with organic nuts, coconut flakes, and seeds that’s paleo-friendly, and ever since 2015, these products have been made in a net-zero bakery — the first in the country — operated in a 100 percent solar-powered facility, which is a huge deal.

Despite their super clean, “granola” principles, the founders still don’t want to put down the competition, even if their cereals and products are less healthful than Grandy Organics.

“We choose to stay positive and focus on our ethos,” says Chief Granola Officer Aaron Anker.” So a few years ago, we came up with ‘Granola Wisdoms.’”

These include “You don’t have to be related to have a family business,” and “Ripped jeans are cool. Spliced genes are not.” They’re great ways to make choosing healthy cereal even more fun.

Their Classic granola recipe, made with pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cashews, and lightly sweetened with wildflower honey, has been the same recipe since 1979 (because when something is that perfect, why bother changing it?), and has 50% less sugar than leading granola.

But they don’t stop there, Grandy Organics offers a gluten-free honey-nut granola, as well as a grain-free “coconola”, their coconut-based organic granola loaded with pecans, cashews, seeds, and coconut chips. 

$21.84 for 3 12 oz bags

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6. Pure Bliss Organics

Pure bliss granola options include organic, protein-packed cashew butter granola.

Pure Bliss Organics

Jon Morgan and Antonio Da Costa first got into the granola business in 2005, and ever since, they’ve been creating a healthy cereal that jives with their love of people, Bhakti yoga, and the planet.

Pure Bliss produces organic granola (and delicious granola bars for on-the-go use) using sustainable ingredients and quality products.

“From our vendors to our staff, including our cooks who prepare our products, and to [the consumer] — everything we do is done with good intention,” they say. “We use minimally processed certified organic ingredients, with NO FUNNY STUFF added.”

Their granola options include protein-packed cashew butter granola, four flavors sweetened with coconut sugar, and even gluten-free options.

Their French Almond Vanilla flavor, affectionately named “my fav,” packs a sweet and healthy punch in the morning. Made with simple, organic, non-GMO ingredients (ingredients you can actually pronounce, unlike a lot of granolas on the market), this granola pairs perfectly with your morning coffee and a heaping spoonful of organic Greek yogurt (or just pour milk right on top, if that’s your thing)!

$24.97 for 3 11 oz bags

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Organic Hot Cereal and Oatmeal

7. Farm to Table Foods

Farm to Table sells several fiber-rich blends including an ancient grain blend of spelt, Kamut, barley, rye, and flax seeds.

Farm to Table

Farm to Table is an organic oatmeal producer creating healthy cereal blends that do away with excessive processing and highlight the natural goodness in the grains.

This company’s story begins with a family: Martin Canellakis’ four-year-old daughter had become quite picky, as four-year-olds often are, and, he recalls, “One of the few things I could get her to eat was oatmeal.”

“I noticed that it was very difficult to get my hands on anything but either regular rolled oats or steel-cut oats, and if by chance there was a blend of grains available, it was usually a random blend with no consideration for flavor or texture,” he says. “Also, since organic is the price of entry in our house, my options were even more limited. So I started experimenting.”

Since he created those first healthy cereal blends at home, Farm to Table has grown in leaps and bounds. Today, it sells several blends including an ancient grain blend of spelt, Kamut, barley, rye, and flax seeds, some of which are served at Mercer Kitchen, Casa Lever, and even the Waldorf Astoria.

While this company has seen considerable success, Canellakis does everything he can to keep the small-batch feeling of the company in tact, and that means working closely with farmers (and even profiling them on the company website.)

“Ensuring quality is all about starting at the right source,” he says, and for Farm to Table, that begins with the farmer.

“We only deal with people we know and trust,” he says. “This has been a hindrance to our growth, but we’re also not so sure that bigger is better.”

Farm to Table’s Ancient Super Grain is seriously something to write home about. Having roots in Mesopotamia, Ancient Grain has never been hybridized or modified to conform to modern agricultural methods.

This nutritive grain is packed full of amazing antioxidant properties, and is the perfect breakfast to keep you full, sustained, and happy all morning long. Try having it in a bowl with some maple syrup or, if you’re looking to elevate your breakfast game, in some baked berry oatmeal.

$23.74 for 3 14 oz bags

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8. Great River Organic Milling, Multi-Grain Cereal

Whether topped with fresh fruit, nuts, or maple syrup, this hearty hot cereal is guaranteed to keep you satiated and feeling good until lunch.

Great River Organic Milling

Great River Organic Milling is, as its name suggests, a milling company selling flours, whole grains, pancake mixes, and a line of four hot cereals, ranging from the highland medley featuring oats, barley, and rice, to the multi-grain mix, a blend of wheat, brown rice, corn, rye, oats, millet, and barley.

The company takes pride in the relationships that it has developed with its farmers, about 90 percent of whom are based in the northern plains of the United States.

“We try to work whenever possible directly with the farmers,” explains rep Craig Adams. “We’re a small company ourselves, so we really like to have those relationships and have the kind of supply chain that’s secure, and you can be on first-name terms.”

As the company grows, it remains committed to maintaining these relationships and avoiding going through grain brokers at all costs. This ensures that the company can continue to provide the kind of transparency it prides itself on.

Great River is always willing to go the extra mile, whether that means certifying its organic corn with the non-GMO Project as well, or answering a customer question about who farmed the oats in her oatmeal.

“That’s how this business was founded in 1975, that’s the model that they established then. And the owner that bought this business back in 2003 has continued with that ethos and ethics, so that’s simply what we want to continue with,” explains Adams.

Whether topped with fresh fruit, nuts, or maple syrup, this hearty hot cereal is guaranteed to keep you satiated and feeling good until lunch. You can literally taste the love and care that goes into making this breakfast, and the pride Great River Organic Milling takes in their products. This multigrain mix is all organic and all you need to start your day off right.

$36.64* 24 Oz (Pack Of 4)

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Going the Extra Mile for Healthy Cereal

Choosing a cereal from this list is definitely a good place to start, but it’s not the only way to help ensure clean cereals earn more shelf space.

In the United States, acceptable levels of trace toxins and chemicals, including glyphosate, are set by the EPA, with influence from a number of legislative bodies, including the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Other congressional committees, such as the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology have recently begun examining some of the more high-profile elements of these decisions within the EPA.

Lobby groups such as the Glyphosate Task Force, which unites Monsanto, Dow Agrosciences, Syngenta, and Barclay Chemicals, the Big Food Lobby, and trade association CropLife America put enormous pressure on government bodies to regulate in favor of large agrochemical groups, thus making it even more difficult to source healthful foods for your family.

To continue the fight against Big Ag, you can:

  • Boycott brands that are on the wrong side of the lobby, such as ConAgra, Kellogg’s, and General Mills, all of whom are associated with Monsanto seeds. Use an app like Buycott to make sure you know what you’re buying.
  • Read labels, and be wary of the term “natural” on packaging. Kastel notes that one of the main goals of the cereal scorecard was “exposing the duplicity of some major ‘natural’ brands that were charging more than some certified organic cereal for what was, tantamount, the same as conventional products.”
  • Call your congressional representative and let them know that this issue matters to you: we want food devoid of any pesticides, even “trace” amounts.
  • Sign a petition to ban systemic pesticide use in the US.
  • Stay informed! Check in with us here at Organic Authority or with other reputable sources of information, including the Environmental Working Group, the Cornucopia Institute, and the Pesticide Action Network for updates and news on the state of pesticides in American food.

P.S. Did you know? Organic Authority has its own nutrition and wellness shop to meet your needs and help you take control of your health. Shop clean supplements for energy, sleep, inner beauty for skin support, protein, workouts, pantry items and more. Shop The Organic Authority Shop now. 

Related on Organic Authority

Healthy Cheerios alternatives exist, but be sure to check for other sources of glyphosate.

U.S. Honey Tainted with Twice the Legal E.U. Limit for Glyphosate, FDA Documents Show

Breakfast with Monsanto: Glyphosate Found in Nearly Half of Breakfast Foods, Study Finds

EU Reapproves the Controversial Glyphosate Herbicide for the Next 7 Years

*Our team independently evaluates and reviews products for the OA community. If you click on the links provided, we may receive compensation which helps to keep the lights on. Learn more

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