Is Cereal or Toast with Peanut Butter Healthier for Breakfast?

By: Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D.

Eating a breakfast that fills you up and keeps you satisfied is a healthy way to start your day. It can be hard to know what to eat with so many choices for breakfast out there. 

We put two popular, fast and filling breakfast foods head to head to find out which is healthier: toast with peanut butter or milk and cereal? For a quick, easy breakfast that will fill you up, which is a better choice—1 cup of toasted-oats cereal with 1/2 cup low-fat (2%) milk or 2 slices of whole-grain toast topped with 2 tablespoons peanut butter?

The Winner:

Peanut butter with whole-grain toast takes the slight nutritional edge for the win, but both of these meals are actually healthy options that will fuel your morning.

Here’s why we picked the toast—and an explanation of why both are nutritious breakfasts.

Staying Power:

The peanut-butter-toast breakfast has more fat (about 18 grams, mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated; by contrast, the cereal breakfast has just 4 grams), which helps give the breakfast staying power.

When you pair peanut butter with whole-grain toast you’re getting a healthy dose of protein and fiber as well, which also help fuel your morning and keep you full.

Vitamins & Minerals in Cereal:

Opting for the cereal breakfast will give you a bonus of two nutrients that American diets often lack: calcium and vitamin D.

Thanks to the milk it’s served with, the cereal supplies 258 mg calcium (more than a quarter of your daily requirement of the bone-building mineral), while the peanut-butter-toast breakfast has just 79 mg of calcium. Plus, the milk and cereal are fortified with vitamin D, providing 25 percent of your DV of the sunshine vitamin.

While the toasted-oat cereal and milk is still a healthy breakfast, we think peanut butter on toast has a slight edge on keeping you full through the morning.

If you’re more of a cereal person, make sure to pick one that’s high in fiber and low in sugar.

Watch: How to Make Overnight Oatmeal 4 Ways

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Some original reporting by Joyce Hendley