REVIEW: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch

How many grams of whole grains do nutritionists recommend you eat per day?

Like many of you, I have no idea and would like to use my brain’s capacity for numbers that are more useful in life and trivia games, like the number of U.S. presidencies (44), the late Tony Gwynn’s lifetime batting average (.338), and my debit card’s PIN number (1109).

But it’s not really a number one has to remember since it’s on EVERY product that touts whole grain. One can find it on the Whole Grains Council’s stamp that features what I assume is the image of a 1980s blouse with a belt. According to the stamp on this box of Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal, it’s 48 grams of whole grains.

That sounds like a lot to eat in one day, but a one cup serving of Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal provides 2/3 of your day’s whole grain. So what’s 2/3 of 48? That’s math I’m too lazy to break out a calculator for. So I shall refer back to the 1980s blouse, which tells me it’s 33 grams.

To give you an idea of how significant of a number that is in the Honey Bunches of Oats World, a bowl of regular Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted Cereal has just ten grams of whole grains.

While a serving of Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal has 2/3 of my day’s whole grain, it looks like 5/6 of it is made up of flakes.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Closeup

There weren’t a lot of honey bunches of oats in this box and it was noticeable with the cereal’s texture and flavor. Crunching my way through the box I mostly felt the texture of cereal flakes and it tasted like a slightly watered down version regular Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted Cereal. But I’m fine with losing a little flavor so that Post can jam more whole grains into the cereal. Besides, I think if you secretly replaced regular Honey Bunches of Oats with this cereal, most folks wouldn’t notice they’re eating a whole grain-ier version.

Other differences between the two cereals? The whole grain one has nearly double the fiber, potassium, and protein. But at the same time also has nearly double the sugar and calories.

According to the Whole Grains Council, most Americans eat only 16 grams of whole grains per day. My Instagram page, which has a lot of French fry and Hello Kitty snack photos, proves I’m one of those Americans.

A nutritionist would probably tell me I should be eating oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa to get a day’s worth of whole grains. But I don’t have a nutritionist to tell me that, so if I want lots of whole grains with little effort I’ll probably reach for Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup no milk – 220 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 150 milligrams of potassium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 30 grams of other carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, and a bunch of vitamins and minerals.)

Item: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 18 oz. box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted Cereal. A serving has 2/3 of my day’s whole grain. Nearly double the fiber, potassium and protein than regular Honey Bunches of Oats cereal. Remembering numbers that’ll help you in trivia contests that may or may not happen.
Cons: Tastes like a slightly watered down version of Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted Cereal. Lots of flakes and not a lot of honey bunches of oats. The Whole Grains Council’s logo looks like a 1980s blouse. Posting PIN numbers. Not eating enough whole grains.

REVIEW: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch Cereal

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch Cereal

Because I’m not one myself, I can’t be absolutely certain what kind of cereal Power Rangers go shopping for. That being said, I’d imagine they’d probably be among the first to buy the new Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch.

Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch has all the nutritional components that allow Powers Rangers to summon Megazords and head-butt endless armies of Putty Patrollers. Each serving has important, energizing vitamins and minerals in addition to 2/3 of your daily dose of whole grains, not to mention six grams of protein to help fit into those slim-fit leotards for another busy morning battling a golden-armored lion people thing in the streets below Beverly Hills.

I won’t lie—that kind of energy supply is usually beyond the scope of what I look for in a cereal. Given that the most activity I get on an average morning comes from carefully timed strolls to the reception desk’s candy jar at the office, you might even say a cereal with 220 calories a serving is a bit overkill for someone who couldn’t execute a round-house kick in Mortal Kombat 3, much less morph into the Red Ranger.

Still, I’m not going to discriminate when it comes to adding chocolate to the hugely popular Honey Bunches of Oats line, especially since its been three or four years since Post pulled the plug on Honey Bunches of Oats with Real Chocolate Clusters, which before its discontinuation was one of my most loved “adult” cereals.

At first, I was skeptical. I may have loved the “real chocolate” clusters in the original chocolate rendition of Honey Bunches of Oats, but if there’s a synonym for “half-ass” in the cereal world, it might just be “chocolatey.”

At best the chocolatey pieces of partially hydrogenated oil and corn syrup in cereals like Special K Chocolatey Delight are a distraction; at worst, they’re enough to make Willy Wonka think about getting into the plastics industry. Styrofoamy, flat-tasting, and about as rich as the hobo you give your spare change to, those imitation squares of “chocolate” thankfully don’t show up in the new Chocolatey Almond Crunch flavor. Instead the tiny pieces of not-quite chocolate “chocolate” have a firm texture and semi-sweet flavor. It might not be Godiva or even Hershey’s quality, but for a cereal the substitute does the trick, even taking on an element of richness when eaten with whole milk.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch Cereal Wet

The small “chocolatey” bricks are only a supporting element to the cereal, however, which brings together the classic, slightly malty honeyed glaze of whole grain flakes with the superior crunch of oat clusters the size of asteroids. And yes, these free-falling bricks of cocoa powder and toasted oats are definitely asteroid like. I encountered several large clusters in a random pour, and enjoyed the distinctive crunch and deep cocoa powder flavor both with and without milk.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch Cereal Dry

There’s a brown sugar taste to them, but the cocoa powder is what dominates, blending in smoothly with the buttery anise undertones of slivered almonds. In that respect, the cereal reminded me a lot of Fiber One’s Nutty Clusters & Almonds, except with a much pronounced and irregularly shaped cluster and a cocoa flavor. Bits of crisped rice, barley, and wheat germ make an appearance as well, giving each spoonful a slightly exotic and toasted multigrain note that balances the 12 grams of sugar per serving.

Clearly, I’m very high on this cereal, although not nearly as high as Bulk and Skull were on a regular basis during the first three seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Not only does the Morning Energy variety pack more cocoa and chocolate flavor than the old Honey Bunches of Oats with Real Chocolate Clusters, but they have a seriously “mealtime” feel to them which actually backs up the overt nutritional marketing ploys.

That being the case, you’ve been warned; as a granola-type cereal, there’s definitely a health halo involved here. Before I knew it I had munched my way through half a box, and all I had to show for this supposed influx of energy was three trips to the office candy jar and not a single withering Putty Patroller to my name. Still, I figure cereal sales can’t be upheld by a band of five ridiculously good-looking multicultural karate experts and faux superheroes.

So even though I may not be actively stopping the imminent takeover of the planet earth by Rita Repulsa, I like to think my newfound brand loyalty to the Morning Energy line might just keep Post from discontinuing their Chocolatey Almond Crunch flavor, thus ensuring that when future generations of Power Rangers head to the supermarket, they won’t be made to settle for the empty sugar crashes inspired by all the usual suspects.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 220 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams potassium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 5 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and 6 grams of protein.)

Item: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 12.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Great “meal” cereal. Classic Honey Bunches of Oats taste with malted cocoa and chocolate flavor. Oat clusters the size of asteroids. Buttery almonds. Actually enjoyable multigrain element. Actively supporting your local Power Rangers.
Cons: “Granola” effect kills health appeal. Chocolate pieces still not as good as actual chocolate chips. Searching for Bulk and Skull on YouTube.

QUICK REVIEW: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Crunchy Honey Roasted Granola

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Crunchy Honey Roasted Granola

Purchased Price: $3.69
Size: 11 oz bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tastes fine by itself or with milk. Nice mild sweet honey flavor. Sort of like eating Just Bunches, which are the best part of any Honey Bunches of Oats cereal. Crunchy. Comes in a resealable bag. Would be awesome to add to Honey Bunches of Oats cereals to give it more Honey Bunches of Oats.
Cons: Tastes similar to other granola. Chewing it makes my jaw sore. 11 ounces of granola doesn’t last very long. Does the world really need more companies making granola? Probably not wise to take on hikes in bear country.

Nutrition Facts: 2/3 cup – 240 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 4 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 140 milligrams of potassium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, 26 grams of other carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, and a bunch of vitamins and minerals.

QUICK REVIEW: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Mixed Berry Cereal

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Mixed Berry Cereal

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 15.5 oz box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Mostly tastes like berry flavored yogurt, but at times it tastes like Fruity Pebbles. Good source of fiber. Fortified with vitamins and minerals. Low fat. Great source of whole grain. Granola doesn’t get soggy in milk; the granola’s crunch sort of makes up for the soggy flakes.
Cons: I don’t know if I got a bad box, but most of the cereal flakes were crushed into little pieces. Can’t taste individual berries; it’s more of a generic berry flavor. Flakes quickly become super soggy in milk.

Nutrition Facts: (cereal only) 230 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 140 milligrams of potassium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, 30 grams of other carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein, and a bunch of vitamins and minerals.

REVIEW: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Crunchy Cinnamon Granola

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Granola Crunchy Cinnamon

Switch on the Simon and Garfunkel and dust off the lava lamp ‘cause Honey Bunches hopped on the granola train. Baked, fried, or composed from the wood shavings of an oak tree, I love granola.

I love granola. I will eat it on a boat, with a goat, beside a clown, upside down, with a moose, or rhyming like Dr. Seuss, and that rule remained stapled to the forefront of my mind as I swiped Post Honey Bunches of Oats Crunchy Cinnamon Granola at the Target checkout and strode home, fingers itching to peel back the resealable tab.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Granola Crunchy Cinnamon in da bowl

And I wasn’t disappointed. Crunchy, sweet, and full of clumps the size of Frankenstein Grape Nuts, Honey Bunches put a solid foot forward. The oats are toasted without being burnt, bringing out a roasted, almond-like nature, But granola cannot live by oats alone. Fortunately, like a good high school band, there’s a drummer backing things up, and its name is cinnamon.

As with many spices, cinnamon holds the potential to overpower a dish. As I have discovered through many oatmeal-related accidents, a fine line exists between “Just right” and “Clouds of cinnamon are clogging my trachea!!”

Well, Mr. Robot that does the dusting of cinnamon at the Post factory deserves a raise: he mixed the cinnamon in throughout without being heavy handed, providing a warm end to the brown sugar highlights of the bits. In that special way, it reminds me of a crunchier version of the top of a streusel-ized coffee cake and, in that same special way, it’s pretty easy to down it all at once.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Granola Crunchy Cinnamon Spoonful of granola makes the medicine go down

However, that would require some serious jaw-muscle action as this stuff is crunchy. As in, “I worry about my dental insurance,” crunchy. While the regular bunches in Honey Bunches of Oats cereal crumble easily, these nuggets are more akin to the densely compressed character of Nature Valley bars in clump form.

If I were hiking Mt. Everest, I’m 89.7 percent sure the echo ensuing from crunching would cause an avalanche. If you find yourself concerned about avalanche risk, just follow the rules taught to us by Smoky the Bear: 1) don’t start forest fires and 2) be considerate where you crunch your granola.*

*Smoky the Bear told me this directly while I was hiking through the Seattle forests back in 2007.

Granola, in its best form, can be enjoyed both on its own and muddled into other mediums and, indeed, after mixing in ice cream, I can affirm these clumps hold their own. The granola chunks and shards stayed crunchity, providing both texture and warm cinnamon to the chocolate Blue Bunny I spooned down. Separate, they are good. Combined, they become excellent, forming a bowl of sugary, smooth, cold, slightly brittle, cinnamon-dusted, creamed-up nonsense, and we all need more nonsense.

If I were to nitpick, I’d say potential pitfalls one might encounter here would be 1) most clusters are itty-bity, b) risk of dehydration and/or jaw ache is high, and III) 11 ounces of granola empties fast, but, when I’m complaining about something emptying fast, I know I’ve got something good on my hands. And this granola is good. Balanced, crunchy, and just sugary enough, it delivers the promise of cinnamon sugar in its own awkward, beautiful way, reminding me that I don’t have to pay for a ticket to Bonnaroo or jump in a time machine set for the 70s to enjoy plopping in the bean bag chair for a day and munching some granola.

(Nutrition Facts – 2/3 cup – 240 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 140 milligrams of potassium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Crunchy Cinnamon Granola
Purchased Price: $3.69
Size: 11 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Good ratio of cinnamon to sugar. Well-toasted oats. Balance of clusters and crumbs. Crunchy. Resealable baggie. Reminds me of eating the top of an extra-dense streusel. Gets better with ice cream. Beanbag chairs. Dr. Seuss.
Cons: Wishing for more big granola chunks. Strain in jaw muscles. Echo from crunch could result in avalanche. Clogged tracheas. Dental insurance. It’s hard to find a time machine.