REVIEW: Reese’s Puffs Peanut Butter Lovers Cereal

There once was a Nutter Butter Cereal from Post.
Being so peanut butter-y nutty, it could boast.
But it disappeared from shelves like a ghost.
And for a bit, my PB cereal choices were toast.

But now there’s Reese’s Puffs Peanut Butter Lovers Cereal, and it’s made me forget about the Nutter Butter one, which, by the way, should’ve returned this year with the rereleased Chips Ahoy Cereal. So if Post doesn’t want my money, I’ll happily give it to General Mills with its cereal that’s as great as Post’s discontinued offering.

Reese’s Puffs Peanut Butter Lovers Cereal is influenced by Reese’s Peanut Butter Lovers Cups. General Mills could’ve just pulled the chocolate pieces from its regular Reese’s Puffs, brushed off the cereal dust from its hands, and offered the tan peanut butter pieces as a brand new product, but it didn’t. There seems to be a thin peanut buttery coating that gives the puffs an added oomph of nutty goodness, and oh my goodness, that makes a difference.

They have a strong peanut butter taste but without the jaw-slowing texture of the spread. And that flavor shined whether I ate it dry from my hands or in milk from my hands. I think the coating will also help the pieces stay crunchy in milk for a bit longer. I wrote “I think” because this cereal is so good that my taste buds won’t let it stay in milk for long. The dairy (or non-dairy) at the bottom of the bowl does have a slightly nutty flavor. It might’ve had a more robust flavor if the cereal was allowed to soak a little longer, but, again, my taste buds won’t allow that.

Peanut Butter Lovers Cereal should be a permanent member of the Reese’s Puffs line. But if not, it’s so tasty that I’d love to see it come back yearly in the same seasonal shapes as the original Reese’s Puffs — Bunnies, Hearts, and Bats.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from General Mills. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 11.5 oz box
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup – cereal only) 160 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 2 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar (including 12 grams of added sugar), and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheerios Maple Cinnamon Hearty Nut Medley Cereal

It’s Resolution Season, where people rich and poor, young and old, thin and unthin alike proclaim that they will stop smoking, quit cussing, read more, hit the gym, drink less booze, floss daily, spend less on the Lotto, and various other acts of self-improvement/self-harm reduction. For many, “eat healthier” is a popular pledge, and why shouldn’t it be: with the exception of unsalted raw vegetables and nuts, everything we eat is basically garbage. But if you’re in this camp — either because your doctor is telling you that you’re fine to avoid making 5-year-goals or just because you’ve got a pair of Jordache hip-huggers you’re hoping to rock by St. Paddy’s Day — Cheerios has got your back.

2024 has the oat circle cereal brand imbuing it popular cereal with veggies (the new Veggie Blend line featuring Apple Strawberry and Blueberry Banana), and the one I tried that is filled with nuts — the Maple Cinnamon Hearty Nut Medley.

The Maple Cinnamon Hearty Nut Medley Cheerios Cereal — heretofore known as MCHNMC² — features “Crispy Flakes, Cheerios Cereal, Flavorful Almonds, and Hearty Pumpkin Seeds.” That’s right, THOSE pumpkin seeds. And look — if you’re a little perturbed by the idea or simply not sold on their inclusion, fret not: there were, like, eight seeds in my entire bag. That’s it. I don’t know if this was a production issue or if it’s par for the course, but for something that made my eyebrow initially arch mistrustfully, I wasn’t sad there weren’t more.

There were plenty of almonds, however, which is a more common and accepted health cereal nut. They were fine; requisitely tasty and with a crunch that held up in a standard milk-soak. Where this cereal really shined, though, was with the flakes and Cheerios. The flakes were the surprising winner from a cereal that mostly deals in rings. Thicker than Wheaties and smaller than Total, this seemed like a new flake to me. (Though I’ll be the first to admit there are other flake-heavy cereals in the General Mills catalogue with which I am unfamiliar – Raisin Nut Bran and Fiber One, for example.) Whatever it was, it was stellar — crispy with the barest hint of cinnamon. The Cheerios had the same amount of flavoring — enough to add a little excitement to the start of my year, but not enough to make me question if I was really making a healthy choice.

While I didn’t notice much in the way of “maple,” I still found this cereal to be a pleasant, healthy-ish alternative to, oh, say, the new Trix that is stuffed with frosting. (Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure is sinfully delightful.)

MCHNMC² was a nice surprise to start my year, and sliding into my Bugle Boys by spring makes the choice that much sweeter.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 20 oz box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (54g) 210 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheerios Veggie Blends Cereal

As we enter a new year, Cheerios wants to be part of our resolutions with a new line of vegetable-forward cereals called Veggie Blends. Because the brand knows us better than we know ourselves, they’ve chosen to hide the vegetables in our breakfasts.

Cheerios Veggie Blends come in two varieties: Blueberry Banana and Apple Strawberry. Each is made with 1/4 cup of fruit and vegetables per serving. The ingredients include fruit purees as well as spinach, carrot, and sweet potato powders. (The asterisk next to this claim on the front of the box leads to a statement indicating that these ingredients are not intended to replace fruit or vegetables in the diet. In other words, don’t throw away that bag of spinach in the back of your refrigerator just yet.)

The sweetened oat and corn hoops are thinner and flatter than original Cheerios, but they have the same crispy crunch, along with the bonus of natural colors to brighten up your cereal bowl.

The Blueberry Banana variety consists of dark purple and light green hoops. The blueberry flavor is deliciously strong in both taste and smell, conjuring associations of summer blueberry fields and, come winter, startlingly expensive grocery store produce departments. That flavor is concentrated in the purple hoops, which overwhelm the light, natural banana flavor of the green hoops.

When eaten with milk, the cereal maintains its texture really well. However, the blueberry flavor deteriorates, leaving an earthy flavor amidst a bit of sweetness. Never would I mistake this cereal for Carrot-Os in milk, but I liked it much better dry.

I had the reverse experience with the Apple Strawberry variety. When dry, the orange, yellow-green, and purple hoops do not carry much apple or strawberry flavor. They just taste generically fruity. Think of them as the less sweet, less artificial-tasting, but still delicious cousin of Froot Loops. In milk, the fruity flavor becomes more vibrant, but now with an identifiable strawberry element.

When mixed together, the best of both cereals merge to form a confetti of fruity flavor. Highly recommend.

I like Cheerios Veggie Blends better than most flavored Cheerios varieties I’ve had in the past. The Veggie Blends’ flavors — while imprecise — are comparatively stronger without excessive sweetness. In terms of nutrition, the labels of the Veggie Blends and Original Cheerios are very similar. I didn’t detect a great difference in vitamin and mineral content that I might have expected from the Veggie Blends’ hidden fruits and vegetables. However, these added ingredients enhance the cereal’s color and flavor for a more appealing snack or breakfast option.

Both varieties are worth trying, but seriously, don’t forget about that bag of spinach. I know you bought it with good intentions, but it is going to be slimy by tomorrow.

Purchased Price: $4.93 each
Purchased at: Walmart
Size: 18 oz (510 g) Family Size box
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Blueberry Banana), 7 out of 10 (Apple Strawberry)
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 1/4 cup) Blueberry Banana – 150 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Apple Strawberry – 150 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Honey Bunches of Oats Frosted Bunches Cereal

Post doesn’t release limited-edition Honey Bunches of Oats flavors very often, so when it does, pay attention!

Except this new Frosted Bunches variety, sadly, isn’t worth paying much attention to. Really, the most interesting part of the whole cereal is the wintry box with a yeti theme. (Why are yetis having a moment now?)

I happened to have the bottom half of a box of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, so I was able to make a few comparisons between the new one and the classic.

With “Frosted Bunches” as the name of this new cereal, I assumed the oat clusters would be different. And yet, I* can’t really taste a difference between the bunches. If they are different, I don’t know what it is.

(*See what I did there? “yet, I”? “yeti”?)

The real difference is actually in the flakes. All of them in the Frosted Bunches variety are lighter in color and sweeter. This cereal would be better called Honey Bunches of Oats Frosted Flakes instead of Frosted Bunches. So, basically, this is a sweeter version of regular Honey Bunches of Oats, and the nutrition facts bear that out.

And despite an extra dose of “Bunches” in this cereal’s name, it seems to have fewer, not more, bunches in the cereal itself.

Look, Honey Bunches of Oats has long been one of my favorite cereals, so I will gladly finish this box. But it is not significantly different from the regular varieties. I only notice the differences because I’m looking for them. The ingredient lists have mostly the same ingredients, just in a different order.

The differences are not significant enough for me to make it worth the extra sugar in this Frosted Bunches edition, mainly because the regular version has more textural and flavor contrasts.

This cereal might be boring, but I hope to see more exciting limited edition offerings from Honey Bunches of Oats in the future. (How have we not yet seen a pumpkin spice variety?!)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 11 oz. box
Purchased at: Smith’s (Kroger)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup/40 grams) 160 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugar including 11 grams of added sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Gingerbread Toast Crunch Cereal

The 2021 holiday season began with a bang when the Toast Crunch gang dropped a Thanksgiving-leaning limited edition Apple Pie version of its beloved cinnamon cereal that instantly became a fan favorite. It’s back for a third year, but a new potential holiday hero has emerged — the twinkling blue-boxed Gingerbread Toast Crunch.

Let me get my personal bias out of the way: Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the greatest cereal ever. Whew, I said it. Growing up, it was all about Reese’s Puffs, and I still champion them, but for the last decade or so, no sweet cereal has delivered the way that CTC has. Even the Toast Crunch releases from the previous four years have been solid, especially CinnaGraham Toast Crunch, which, dare I say, might be even better than the original?

Now that you know where I’m coming from, this new cereal is something I’ve been dreaming about for years. In my head, it was always Pumpkin Spice Toast Crunch, but gingerbread is a slightly less crowded space, and I appreciate the nuance it has over its more in-demand pumpkin cohort. The texture of the squares is the same delightful little airy but gently crunchy one you know from the original — it’s perfect.

I’m more of a dry cereal snacker or enjoy putting it on top of bowls of yogurt or ice cream, so that’s how I tend to judge my CTC varieties, but it usually performs very well in milk, too. The flavor of these squares is delicious but a bit less spicy than I imagined. Specifically, they’re not very gingery. When I think gingerbread or ginger cookies, I expect a little bit of a tingle, and while these boast a nice undercurrent of molasses with some spice, I’m mainly getting cinnamon, and there isn’t much of a tingle. That doesn’t stop me from having handful after handful of crunchy, buttery, mildly spicy delight, but I expected a more potent flavor punch like 2021’s Apple Pie.

Milk doesn’t bring any spice to the table, but it does bring some creaminess that I suppose you could stretch your imagination to say emulates the cookie’s frosting. Either way, a decent amount of the Cinnadust comes off into the milk and creates some of the best cereal milk in the game (you know the vibes), which has a bit more of a special Christmas-y aura than the usual CTC milk.

For some, the mild ginger punch will be a welcome surprise, and for others, like me, it could leave you wanting a bit more. I think General Mills played it safe with this one, and for a sugar-laden cereal aimed at children, I’m totally okay with that because there’s still enough warm, molasses-y holiday magic to get me feeling festive.

Purchased Price: $6.49 (man this inflation is a DRAG)
Size: 18.8 ounces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup, 41g) 170 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.