60 SECOND REVIEW: Chex Clusters Fruit & Oats Cereal

Item: Chex Clusters Fruit & Oats Cereal
Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 13.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Target

(Nutrition Facts – (without milk) 200 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 100 milligrams of potassium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 27 grams of other carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein, and a bunch of vitamin and minerals.)

60 SECOND REVIEW: General Mills Star Wars Cereal (2015)

Item: General Mills Star Wars Cereal (2015)
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 10.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Target

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup cereal only – 110 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 45 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, 14 grams of other carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.)

REVIEW: Post Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal

Post Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal

Indeed, we live in a fortunate time.

A time in which the break room has been transformed into The Break Room. A time in which said Break Rooms include laundry rooms and nap pods and secret libraries stashed behind Narnia corridors.

And yet despite such innovation, the daydream of having a pint of ice cream ready and available for my 3:00 snack break eludes me. Not seeing, “We provide a freezer stashed with multiple flavors of Ben & Jerry’s at all times,” in my current contract, I move forward, looking to Post Pebbles Ice Cream in hopes to fulfill the small pocket that wants just a taste of ice cream at the 3:00 snack slump.

Post Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal Spoon

The colors of the cereal spill out in a blinding parade, bursting with the luminescence of a Lite-Brite powered by nuclear fusion. The speckles trip my brain up just enough, so that, upon my first bite, they heighten the sensation of the taste, which brings forth memories of a 2-scoop sugar cone of sherbet.

Vaguely fruity and tangy with a burst of sugared citrus, the cereal hits the grainy, cereal crunch of a sugar cone while balancing that with the hyper sweetened, delightfully vague “froot” flavor. Indeed, it’s a little like Froot Loops, but it stands out with a few more drops of orange and tangy lime flavoring.

There’s just one thing: the cereal’s corn base. It muddles with the frootiness and dulls out the sherbet effect, leaving an aftertaste that tastes like… well, a little corny. Corn enhanced with artificial flavors. Oh dear. This is not what I hoped for.

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid this peril.

Now, I’m not a big fan of milk in my cereal, but, when glugged straight from the glass, an ice cold cup of the white cream bounces, shakes, and rattles with the fruity crunch of the cereal, drowning out the corny taste to form an admirable mimicry of rainbow sherbet Dreamsicle, and, while it may not be the granola-crunchin’, fiber-snappin’, whey-protein-enhanced cereal of Richard Simmons’ dreams, it has a modest amount of sugar and a pop of vitamins and minerals, making it a moderately balanced way to start the day. Or end the day. Or start the snack break. Or unleash that suppressed dream to be a bobsledder you’ve always wanted to be. So go! Unleash your inner bobsledder!

Post Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal Breakfast

It must be noted with a proper degree of gravity that no amount of these Post Pebbles will bring you the same fulfillment as a fresh hot waffle cone filled with your grandmama’s homemade frozen custard, but it pairs moderately well with that last quarter pint of Gelato Fiasco’s Madagascar Vanilla Bean.

While the raspberry flavor is hard to pin down, the cereal as a whole has a pop of orange and lime citrus that, while somewhat muddled in the taste of the corn cereal alone, finds itself heightened in the presence of milk or, well, just about any vanilla frozen deliciousness in your freezer. Indeed, it may be just enough sugar that you won’t even need that nap pod.

(Pause.)

Nah. Everyone needs a nap pod.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 110 calories, 0 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Post Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Pebbles Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.32
Size: 11 oz. box
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Box-o-carbs. Tangy. Crunchy. Slightly “frooty.” Great with milk. Better with vanilla ice cream. Nap pods. Nuclear-powered Lite Brites. Unleash your inner bobsledder!
Cons: Box-o-carbs. Tough to decipher raspberry flavor. Corny-cereal qualities dull “frootiness.” Consequences that result in absence of nap pods.

REVIEW: Cap’n Crunch’s Caramel Popcorn Crunch Cereal

Cap’n Crunch’s Caramel Popcorn Crunch Cereal

Despite its popularity in everything from Chips Ahoy cookies to Hostess Cupcakes, caramel remains something of a third rail flavor when it comes to this unbalanced side of a complete breakfast.

We’re all fine with it mixed into our frappes and covering an ooey-gooey sticky bun, but we’re only moderately interested should it show up in our cereal bowls. Sales history speaks for itself; Kellogg’s Caramel Nut Crunch and Crunchy Nut Caramel Nut were both short-lived, while Dulce de Leche Cheerios is as elusive on supermarket shelves as Barry Sanders was in the open field of the Pontiac Silverdome.

There’s really only one conclusion to support this: cereal companies have been thinking of caramel all wrong.

Instead of trying to pair caramel with chocolate, apples, or nut flavors like past cereals, Cap’n Crunch’s Caramel Popcorn Crunch looks to the snack aisle for inspiration and gets caramel right.

Popcorn for breakfast?

Actually it’s less crazy than it sounds, and certainly on more solid footing than rainbow sherbet-flavored Fruity Pebbles. Aside from the fact most sugary cereals are made from corn, there’s actually some precedence for eating actual popcorn at the breakfast table. Even though old-timey Americans who would eventually found cereal empires ate popcorn with milk to jumpstart their day, I’d recommend keeping this latest flavor solely in the realm of a dry snack.

Oh sure it’s not bad in milk—actually the end-milk has a delicious dulce de leche sort of flavor—but the light and airy spheres don’t hold their texture as well as other Cap’n Crunch flavors. Also, the salty-sweet flavor and the molasses backnotes are, literally, drowned out.

Cap’n Crunch’s Caramel Popcorn Crunch Cereal 2

Those flavors are much more prevalent when eaten dry, where an intriguing salty-sweet flavor comes together in a flavor rarely encountered in cereal form. There’s the usual brown sugar and coconut oil aftertaste of Cap’n Crunch, but an extra burnt sugar sweetness is balanced by a salty and airy crisp that’s really enjoyable. It’s not perfect in replicating caramel popcorn—there’s something to be said for sticky hands and partially melted corn syrup to lick from your fingers—but it’s pretty accurate for what it is, and, what’s more, comes with the benefit of not having any annoying unpopped kernels. And if you’re into the whole “Chicago Mix” thing, I have great news. It pairs wonderfully with an extra salty cheesy crunch from a snack like Cheese Nips, which everyone knows is far superior to Cheez-Its.

I’m not going to endorse Caramel Popcorn Crunch as a part of a complete breakfast because I don’t want the First Lady coming after good old Cap’n Horatio again, but I will definitely give it a thumbs up as a snacking cereal with excellent mixability with other salty snacks.

Will it stick around for more than a couple of years? Probably not, but such is the lifespan of caramel-flavored cereals. If you don’t like it too, then tough. But at least we’ll have twenty million other caramel or salted caramel-flavored products to fall back on.

(Nutrition Facts – 31 grams – 120 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 60 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 14 grams of sugars, 1 grams of protein, and if you’re getting the majority of vitamins and minerals from cereal you really need to rethink your dietary choices.)

Item: Cap’n Crunch’s Caramel Popcorn Crunch Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 16.2 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Salty-sweet flavor makes for an addictive snack. Brown sugar and molasses depth. Delicious dulce de leche type end-milk flavor. Pairs exceptionally well with Cheese Nips.
Cons: Lacks the buttered richness of caramel popcorn. Absolutely no redeeming nutritional value. Tastes horrible mixed with Cocoa Puffs. Not as crunchy as the other Cap’n Crunch flavors, and still only the fourth tastiest version of Cap’n Crunch.

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: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal

Kellogg's Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal

You probably have a lot of questions about Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal.

Does it come with two scoop of dried cranberries? Or are two scoops of cranberries and two scoops of raisins dumped into each box? Or does it contain one scoop of raisins and one scoop of dried cranberries? Does Mr. Sun on the box realize that his extinction means the extinction of the entire galaxy? Also, if he doesn’t realize it, would he still smile if he did?

I can answer most those questions.

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal has a scoop of raisins and a scoop of dried cranberries. Also, yes.

I wonder why it’s taken so long for Kellogg’s to combine dried cranberries with their bran flakes. I thought they would’ve done it soon after the word “Craisins” came into our snacking vernacular thanks to Ocean Spray. Actually, I didn’t expect them to end up in a new Raisin Bran variety. I thought they would have their own line called Kellogg’s Cran Bran.

Kellogg's Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal Closeup

If you love dried cranberries and have Costco-sized bags of Ocean Spray Craisins in every room in your house, including your bathroom and S&M chamber, then this cereal will disappoint. Because, after going through the entire box, I think it smells and tastes like good ol’ regular Raisin Bran.

While eating my first bowl, I thought I might’ve gotten a bad box with nothing but raisins. All the shrived fruit looks the same at arms length in an poorly lit S&M chamber. But a closer inspection with better lighting revealed the reddish dried cranberries, and it looked like there was an equal amount of both fruits. However, the dried cranberries sans milk and bran flakes, didn’t have much flavor or tartness.

So if the cranberries don’t offer any flavor, what do they offer?

I also have an answer for that.

Cranberries are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that regular Kellogg’s Raisin Bran doesn’t have. A serving of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal has 25 percent of your daily recommended intake. So if you want those damn free radicals to get off your damn lawn, this cereal will help.

Overall, if you enjoy Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, need more vitamin E in your diet, and don’t mind that the bran flakes get soggy quicker than a sponge in the rain, then you’ll enjoy Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 1/4 cup – 200 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 210 milligrams of potassium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, and a bunch of vitamin and minerals.)

Item: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 13.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: If you like Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, this will taste the same. Good source of vitamin E. Appears to have an equal amount of raisins and dried cranberries in every box. Cran Bran has a nice ring to it. Two scoops!
Cons: If you like Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, this will taste the same. Cranberries don’t have much flavor or tartness. Not as much potassium and fiber as regular Kellogg’s Raisin Bran. Soggy bran flakes.