Nearly 400 new cereals hit the market last year. Adding to the confusion as you stand in the store aisle: Nutritional differences among brands are more vast than with almost any other kind of food, experts say. So which one's best for you?

Well, that depends. Are you trying to eat more fiber? Lose a few pounds? Quiet those 3 p.m. stomach rumbles? The cereal you choose should be guided by your nutritional needs as well as your taste buds.

Sarah Krieger, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, name-drops her faves for these common situations:

Best for fiber
General Mills' Fiber One Original. It packs 14 grams—more than half of what you need for the day.
Best for low-cal
Kashi's 7 Whole Grain Puffs. A cup has a mere 70 calories and a hefty 18 grams of whole grain.
Best for snacks
General Mills' Wheat Chex. Crunchy with a smidge of sweetness, a serving delivers whole grains, fiber, and all the folic acid women need daily. "Chips or pretzels pale in comparison," Krieger says.
Best for Picky Kids
Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats Little Bites. In a Yale University ranking of 50-plus cereals that target kids and families, it was No. 1 for nutrition. "The tiny biscuits have more whole grains and fiber than most other kiddie cereals," Krieger says. Close runner-up: Cheerios.


For more tips, read our comprehensive guide to the cereal aisle.