Cheerios Vs Oatmeal: Which Is Better?

Cheerios passes as a healthy cereal food option but compared to oatmeal does it stand a chance?

The truth is that Cheerios has excellent fiber and protein content but it also contains high sugar and carbs which may be unhealthy. Oatmeal on the other hand contains more fiber and less sugar and carbs.

There are several other factors to consider when looking at which is better between cheerios and oatmeal. Let’s delve into the nutritional components of the two cereal types to decide which one is a healthier option for you.

What are cheerios?

Cheerios is an o-shaped cereal made from oats. It was launched into the market in 1941 by General Mills. The company has gone on to produce 16 extra flavors from inception.

The process of making cheerios includes rolling oats into flattened circles and baking them until crisp. Cheerios is loved by many because it hardly gets soggy. Its unique shape makes it crunchy even when mixed with milk.

SEE: Should You Eat Cheerios on a Gluten-Free Diet

Varieties of cheerios

Cheerios come in many flavors, some of which include:

  • Original
  • Honey nut
  • Multigrain
  • Apple cinnamon

Original cheerios are plain and cholesterol-free with no artificial flavors or preservatives. They are the healthiest type of cheerios to eat.

Honey nut and apple cinnamon cheerios are flavored and coated with sugar. This makes them a less healthy alternative to consume. Multigrain cheerios on the other hand consist of multiple grains and not just oats.

Below are the nutritional values of the cheerios variety mentioned in this section:

Nutrition InformationOriginal Cheerios Honey Nut Cheerios         Multigrain CheeriosApple Cinnamon Cheerios
Dietary Fiber  2.6 g   2.7 g   2.5 g2.9 g
Calories105     146.7107154
Total Carbohydrates21 g29.3 g 24 g32 g
Protein3.4 g2.7 g2.4 g   3.3 g
Total Fat         1.9 g               2 g1.2 g   2.4 g
Vitamin A18%13.3%10%    13%
Vitamin C10%    13.3% 10%13%
Calcium          8.6%   13.3%7.7%   10%
Iron     52%    13.3% 13.3% 45%
Cholesterol     0 mg0 mg   0 mg0 mg
Sodium139 mg           213.3 mg116 mg156 mg
Sugars            1.2 g12 g6.1 g   14 g
Potassium      179 mg153.3 mg140 mg99 mg

What is oatmeal?

Oatmeal is steel-cut or pieced oat groats that are further steamed and flattened into flakes. You can decide to munch on oatmeal or mix it with hot or cold milk for breakfast.

Oats are gluten-free whole grains that are rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and essential minerals. It holds up for long in the stomach, thereby reducing the feeling of hunger, and ultimately calorie intake.

This makes it a perfect cereal if you’re looking to shed some weight. Eating oats regularly helps to lower LDL levels which better the condition of those with heart conditions.

SEE: The Differences Betweens Oats And Oatmeal

Varieties of oatmeal

Oatmeal can either be plain or instant. Plain oatmeal is pure, unprocessed oatmeal that is low in sugar and high in fiber. Conversely instant oatmeal has a flavor and more sugar content in them.

Plain oatmeal contains only 1 gram of sugar while instant oatmeal can contain up to 10 grams of sugar depending on the brand. Nevertheless, oatmeal is generally high in fiber, and they have low glycemic index values.

Below are the nutritional values of plain oats:

Nutrition InformationPer 1 cup
Calories166 g
Total Carbohydrates28 g
Protein5.9 g
Total Fat3.6 g
Dietary Fiber  4 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Sodium           9.4 g
Potassium      164 mg
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C0%
Calcium1.6 %
Iron12 %
Sugars0.6 g

Below are the nutritional values of instant oats depending on the brand:

Nutrition Info  Quaker Instant Oatmeal PlainQuaker Instant Oatmeal Cinnamon and Spice
Calories          100     160
Total Carbohydrates18 g32 g
Total Fat2 g      2.5 g
Protein4 g4 g
Dietary Fiber3 g      3 g
Cholesterol0 g0 g
Sodium75 mg200 mg
Sugars1 g10 g

SEE: Does Oat Milk Go Bad

Differences between cheerios and oatmeal

Let’s compare the nutritional value, taste, texture, and other factors of cheerios and oatmeal to determine which is better:

1. Nutrition

Oatmeal is rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and protein. The rich dietary fiber available in oatmeal makes it helpful for weight loss. A single serving of plain oatmeal provides about 25% of the daily fiber needed.

Interestingly, oatmeal contains all of the 8 essential amino acids that the body needs to function properly. Moreso, it has a high level of iron and magnesium.

Cheerios are also rich in dietary fiber but only about 15% of the daily value of fiber humans need. They contain a variety of minerals, and vitamins but are lacking in essential ones needed by the body.

SEE: The Differences Between Oatmeal And Wheat

2. Taste

One of the reasons why cheerios seem to be a favorite cereal for many is because of their light and crisp taste. Flavored cheerios like apple cinnamon and honey nut tend to be sweeter than organic whole grain cheerios without artificial flavors.

However, the additional sweetness is only a result of artificial flavor and more sugar added which is not healthy.

Oatmeal, on the other hand, has a bland, earthy taste. This is a good sign however that it contains little or no sugar. Moreso, bland oatmeal is able to take on the flavor of whatever you mix with it.

Adding nuts and fruits to your oatmeal cereal improves its flavor and makes it more enjoyable.

3. Texture

Cheerios are crispy and crunchy and they have the ability to hold up well for long in liquid. Conversely, oatmeal has a soft, paper-like texture that can get soggy easily as soon as you mix it with milk.

4. Sugar content

When compared side by side in terms of sugar content, oatmeal has lesser. Plain oatmeal has only 0.6grams of sugar while organic cheerios have 1.2 grams which are two times more.

While instant oatmeal contains about 8 grams of sugar, Honey nut cheerios have about 12 grams of sugar content per serving.

SEE: Can Diabetics Eat Cheesecake Without a Sugar Spike

5. Fat

Oatmeal holds a record for lowering cholesterol levels and even LDL levels for those with heart disease. This is because it is very low in fat.

The amount of fat present in oatmeal is about 3.5 grams for every 100 grams serving while cheerios have a fat content of 10.6grams for every 100 grams serving. Also, the sodium contained in oats is only 9.4mg compared to 213mg in cheerios per serving.

SEE: Does Cereal Make You Fat

6. Antioxidants

Antioxidants protect the body cells against free radicals released in the body from smoke or food digestion. These may result in heart disease, cancer, and other related diseases.

Oats are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B1, and phosphorus which act as antioxidants while Cheerios have them in little amount.

7. Price

Oatmeal is less costly than cheerios because it requires less processing. The extra sugar, artificial flavor, color, and preservative included in flavored cheerios also hikes the price.


Can you eat oatmeal every day?

No. Although oatmeal has a lot of benefits, too much of everything is detrimental to your health. Oatmeal contains high fiber, therefore consuming it every day can cause digestive distress.

Can Cheerios be bad for you?

Yes. Cheerios contain a higher amount of sugar compared to oatmeal, so consuming them in high quantities can spike up your sugar level and increase your weight over time. 

Are plain cheerios unhealthy?

No. Plain cheerios are the healthiest option for cheerios lovers. It is cholesterol-free with no artificial flavors or preservatives.

What cereal is healthier than Cheerios?

Whole grain cereals like oatmeal are healthier than cheerios.

Final Thoughts

If you’re seeking healthy food options or looking to drop excess weight, oatmeal and cheerios are excellent cereal options to consider.

However, oatmeal is a healthier option because of its less sugar content, and high level of dietary fiber. Moreso, oatmeal contains 8 essential amino acids that the body needs as well as other important minerals and vitamins which is not available in cheerios.

Flavored cheerios are even more unhealthy than plain because they contain more sugar, artificial flavor, and preservatives which can cause a sugar spike.

So, if you’re a loyal fan of Cheerios cereal, you want to minimize your daily intake or replace it with oatmeal. Eating oatmeal every day isn’t good for you either as it can stress your digestive system. So, what’s key is moderation.

To wrap it up, you should check out this article to know if raisin bran is good for diabetics.

I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.