There’s really no two ways to say it — I was a total bum in middle school.
An average day consisted of me rolling out of bed five minutes before the bus would come, then proceeding to rest my head on the cozy corner of a freezing school bus window not ten minutes later.
This tour de force of youthful energy would continue throughout the morning, as I alternated between taking nosedives of lethargy into math tests and exercising my homemaking sensibilities by grabbing some shut-eye while baking cookies during Home Ec. By the time science rolled around after lunch, I was usually in the slow swoon of sleep’s grip and considered a safety hazard during frog dissection.
Most people would have blamed it on raging hormones. I blame all of it on a really crappy breakfast that lacked whole grains and fiber. Suffice to say, I had yet to discover the full, focused effects that come with a hearty bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats.
Since that time I’ve grown up. I’ve enjoyed the wheaty layers of Maple Brown Sugar and Blueberry, and I’ve feasted of the mini-chocolate chip and cocoa studded nuggets of Mini-Wheats Little Bites. Somewhere during that span, I actually got somewhat serious about education, and stopped constantly sleepwalking through preparing for my future. All because Kellogg’s finally found a way to deliver 20 percent of my daily intake of fiber in the convenient and yummy innards of a sugar coated biscuit.
So there you go. I’m living proof that there’s at least some truth in advertising with the whole “keep you full, keep you focused” campaign the Kellogg’s people have concocted, although thank God I haven’t actually started attempting to communicate with the little squares of wheat themselves. A Leprechaun or talking Toucan I can accept as real, but when it comes to talking and smiling wheat squares, well, now you’re just proposing nonsense.
When it comes to the new Frosted Mini-Wheats Crunch, we’re really looking at a different character from the existing versions. True, all three Wheat characters may share the same DNA, but like the British speak a totally incomprehensible language to my well trained American ears, this latest Mini Wheat looks and feels like a copy of Quaker Oatmeal Squares or Crunchy Corn Bran more than a true Mini Wheat. I’m okay with that, however, because, incomprehensible as a talking biscuit with arms and legs is, I find the concept much more pleasing than a drugged-up looking Quaker dude.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve always preferred snacking on individual biscuits of Mini-Wheats over eating a bowl’s worth in milk. The initial taste of the cereal in this snacking approach is more sweet than “lightly sweet”, with a light brown sugar taste that gets some help from malty backnotes. These backnotes make you appreciate the multigrain elements for what they’re worth, and they do an admirable job at enhancing the biscuit’s wheat and oat taste. However, the biscuits are a bit plain.
The crunch is there though. At least it’s there if you still have teeth, with thankfully I still have despite a steady stream of sugar that my dentist tells me will eventually leave me looking like the grandpa from Rugrats. When you do bite down on a singular biscuit the crunch effect registers more than any other cereal I’m familiar with — including, much to his dismay, I’m sure — any of the Cap’n Crunch varieties.
That’s not to say the crunch makes this a better cereal though, as the essential dilemma of the cereal becomes apparent after a few dry chomps. There’s a substantial and really unprecedented crunch if you choose to go in with full chompers grinding, but in that case, you fail to pick up and savor the slow transition in taste from homey brown sugar to substantial wheat and oat. Furthermore, you tend to pick up more of that corn flour aftertaste which just doesn’t mesh with brown sugar cereals.
Forget about either when it comes to eating the cereal in milk. Losing both its crunchiness and sweetness, the cereal is a total flop once you pour in the milk. The end-milk doesn’t pick up much in the way of brown sugar, while the biscuits don’t take on the glazed mouthful and sugary spike that regular Mini-Wheats do. It tastes about as great as those burnt cookies I made while sleeping through Home Ec.
It’s hard to say this cereal is a disappointment because you’ll probably find yourself finishing the box in no time (much as I did while snacking) but compared to the other Mini-Wheats flavors, it’s on the weaker end of the spectrum. I like the Crunch concept, but it needs help. Different flavors might work better and stand up in the milk, but the brown sugar aspect is a bit boring and one note. Likewise, what’s up with the shrinking boxes? A standard box of Mini-Wheats usually runs between 15-16 ounces, depending on the flavor. But this new variety only comes in a 14-ounce box.
Totally not cool, Mr. Talking new guy Mini Wheat.
How about instead of explaining how all your fiber and whole grains will keep me from flunking out of 7th grade music class, you start explaining why I’m paying more for not just less taste, but less food?
On second thought maybe not.
The last thing I want to do is start talking to my cereal.
(Nutrition Facts – 55 grams – 200 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 150 milligrams of potassium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, and a buttload/cornucopia/smorgasbord of vitamins and minerals.)
Item: Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Crunch Brown Sugar
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 14 ounces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: The crunchiest cereal I’ve ever consumed. Mellow brown sugar taste. Fiber and whole grains to keep me awake during work. High degree of snackability.
Cons: Not as flavorful as previously existing Mini-Wheats flavors. Brown sugar taste gets lost in the crunch effect. Slightly corn bran aftertaste is a head scratcher. Lousy end milk. Honey they shrunk the cereal box. Talking bite sized squares of wheat and oats.