I’m going to be honest, this may be the healthiest cereal I’ve ever eaten. As a rule, I eat breakfast cereals developed by dentists who could really use some help but don’t like asking for handouts. The least sugary cereal I’ve eaten in years is Honey Nut Cheerios, which is kind of like bragging that you only smoke two packs of filtered cigarettes a day. Hell, the product I reviewed for my TIB application was Post Marshmallow Pebbles; that cost me three teeth and my eyesight for about an hour, but it was worth it! Now here I am at the opposite end of the spectrum. I can only assume that Special K Multigrain Oats & Honey Cereal will resurrect my hairline, bestow 20/20 vision, and give me muscles in places I haven’t had them since college. Frankly, anything less will be a bigger disappointment than watching the edited-for-TV version of The Breakfast Club. (“Forget you! No dad, what about you?”)
The first thing I notice about Special K Multigrain Oats & Honey Cereal is that the box actually looks like something an adult might eat. There’s nary a spunky cartoon character or anthropomorphic animal to be found, and I’m kind of freaked out that the back of the box just has pictures of the ingredients and a dead-eyed model pretending to eat some while thinking, “It was this or underwear modeling in the Costco circular,” rather than a word search or jumble. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to hone my vocab skills while eating, but I guess that’s the choice you make — healthy or smart. One of the informative blurbs gives a good idea of the target audience by claiming that women who eat a cereal breakfast like this one weigh less, which just does wonders for my masculinity, let me tell you. When I go back to the store for another box, I think I’ll grab some yogurt smoothies and a package of Secret, which I understand to be made for women but strong enough for me.
Pouring some out in a bowl increases my confidence that, if I don’t actually LIKE this cereal, I’ll at least find it tolerable. I’m a little bummed that the flakes aren’t shaped like bats or C3PO faces or some shit, but I guess that wouldn’t do when you’re marketing yourself to people with “jobs” and “401Ks” and “relationships, as long as he keeps his hands off that tramp Jenny from Accounting.” Anyway, if the flakes look bland, they at least don’t appear actively offensive. There are also plenty of oats, and hey, oatmeal’s okay. Nobody ever said “Yippee, oatmeal!” if there wasn’t going to be brown sugar in it, but it’s pretty hard to work up any actual dislike for oats, in meal form or otherwise. The honey isn’t visible to the naked eye, but if it’s not in there, I promise you somebody’s getting a strongly worded letter on Monday.
Actually, for all my hesitance, Special K Multigrain Oats & Honey Cereal really doesn’t taste bad. Anyone who hasn’t been shoveling spoonfuls of cavity bombs into their maw for the last two decades is likely to find it within spitting distance of “good.” The taste is definitely more on the understated side — there’s only so much honey they can add to this stuff and still market it as “healthy” — but it beats dumping a handful of sugar on regular Cheerios, which is what I used to do as a kid (and now) when we’d run out of the good cereals. The honey flavor definitely comes through, as do the oats, and the flakes retain their crunchiness fairly well in milk. I can’t say this is what I’d choose every trip to the store, but as a compromise between teeth-rotting rapture and bland antiques like Wheaties or Shredded Wheat, you could do a lot worse.
(Nutrition Facts — 2/3 cup — 100 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 70 milligrams of potassium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 14 grams of other carbohydrates, and 2 grams of protein.)
Item: Special K Multigrain Oats & Honey Cereal
Size: 13.6 ounces
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Strong enough for a man. Helps me fit into skinny jeans. Feeling like an adult. Does not make my teeth weep. Fairly tasty.
Cons: Putting dentists out of business. No fun shapes. Made testicles shrink. Not improving vocab. Did not restore hair or vision. Edited-for-TV movies.