Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cereal Eatin's

Cereals have become increasingly varied over the last 10 years or so. Way back, the novelty cereal was Cheerios for shape. Other shapes were flakes (boring) and puffed rice (sugarless and pretty bland, unless you made Rice Krispie cereal blocks). Other cereals that come to mind are puffed wheat and puffed rice, which tasted surprisingly bland to me. Nabisco Shredded Wheat, to my recollection, came three pillow-shape, haystack-textured rectangles to a box, as unexciting as all getout for looks and taste.

The shapes that later came along to capture imaginations were Post Alpha-Bits and Chex shapes (wheat, rice, corn). Alpha-Bits seems to have spawned other shapes, like Lucky Charms and Trix. (Watch the Trix youtube video of the commercial for Bugs Bunny cameo.)

Lots of the cereals come and go. Most I can't remember. Seems that disappeared cereals are similar to mall store closings and some comic strips for me. When one disappears, I sense something changed, but unsure what had formerly occupied the space. Three cereals that come to mind are General Mills Fingos, Kellogg's Nut & Honey Crunch, and Post Crispy Critters. Just ran across a link for discontinued cereals. Read 'em and weep.

Fingos seemed to straddle between obvious snack and cereal. It didn't stay long. Some background info indicates that a $34 million launch in 1993 didn't guarantee market longevity. Nut & Honey cereal was maybe more famous for the catchphrase than the product itself. Crispy Critters had a jingle and catchy product name. Unfortunately, the cereal disappeared long ago also. Of course, the term crispy critters has evoked more of a negative image as years have passed.

I went through a long period that I skipped cereal, but have been eating them heartily for the last few years. What choices these days! Lots of different shapes and flavors!

I've recently been eating some cereals more out of the box instead of just than eating them with milk. They're yummy for munching while watching TV or working at my desk. Most of the munchable ones I pick are sub-bite-size and not messy or crumbly. They don't melt in my hand or mouth. They're nice alternatives to other, faster calorie-delivery munchies or snacks, like candy bars, bite-size candies, ice cream, snack crackers, chips, roasted peanuts, etc. (You know, those evil foods that often jump into the shopping carts.)

Nearly very week, I slowly amble along the supermarket aisle to see what I'm in the mood for to pick up. The following cereals often make it into my cart, not every week, of course.

I don't list any General Mills cereals. I would if they would make the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and French Toast Crunch cereals twice the square size. They're tasty, but too, uh, small for my taste. Not as much fun when I have to pull out several in each grab. Most of the munchie cereals I listed actually have some healthful aspects, of sorts.

  • The shredded wheat ones, Chocolate Granola, and Just Bunches, have 5 to 10 grams of fiber per serving in them.
  • They take longer to consume than candy bars, chocolates, cookies, and ice cream. (The yummies, with more fat and calories, go down much faster and have fewer nutrients.)
  • They cost less by the mouthful. For example, Oreos and chocolate chip cookies don't seem to last as long in the house as cereals.

Munchie cereals are a little less fun to eat and messier as I reach towards the bottom of the box. When clumps become niblets, it's definitely better to mix the bits in milk. For that matter, it's fun to mix several cereal types and flavors together.

My cereal tastes don't extend to those that I consider to be really sweet. Sure, the ones I list are sugary, but not quite sugar bombs like Frosted Flakes and Corn Pops, both by Kellogg's. Actually, I do buy cereals that I pour milk into and eat, without regard to munchiness versatility. I definitely go for variety!

As a result of eating lots of cereals, I empty out lots of boxes and bags. At another time, I'll write about handy ways to reuse them, up to a point.

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