Banana Nut Cheerios

Ah Cheerios; “so much goodness in those little Os” apparently, yet the original variety I find to be fairly displeasing, not particularly appetising and with not the best of nutritionals compared to other “healthier” cereals, I rarely find myself striding home with a big box full of things. However in the U.S. of course everything is always bigger and better and the Cheerios market is no exception with various different flavours to choose from! Although not being a huge fan of regular Cheerios I just knew that I had to sample one of the wonderful varieties the U.S. market had to offer.

Banana Nut Cheerios

Looking through the supermarket aisle I decided upon “Banana Nut”; I rarely have the chance to sample banana flavoured cereals back home, other than the odd occasional instant oatmeal, so I knew that this was the one that I had to try!

It seems to be that, looking at the packaging, this is once again marketed as a “healthier” cereal to appeal to those that want something “nutritious” for breakfast but aren’t too keen on a bowlful of bran what with “wholegrain” and “flavoured with REAL banana”. However marketing, as we all know, can be deceiving and looking at the nutritionals of these they actually weigh in at a whopping 32g of sugar per 100g! Maybe not the healthiest choice after all.

Banana Nut Cheerios

Unlike other more calorific cereals – granola etc, the good thing about these Cheerios is that despite their higher sugar levels they are actually pretty light, so although you may pour yourself a large bowlful they’ll probably only end up weighing in at around 30-40g and leave you feeling as if you’ve had a decent portion despite minimal calories.

Banana Nut Cheerios

Anyway enough about the nutritionals! How do these taste? Well actually they are quite nice; the banana flavour is fairly authentic and real tasting and don’t worry there is no horrific artificial aftertaste burn to be had here! It is pleasantly sweet and mixes nicely with the well known oaty corny flavour of the standard Cheerio with a slight nutty background flavour element to be experienced.

They hold up pretty much the same as regular Cheerios in milk; staying crunchy/firm for a reasonable amount of time whilst the outside slowly softens up leaving a faint banana flavour in the milk – unfortunately the cereal milk left in the bowl isn’t ground-breaking, it’s lightly flavoured of banana but certainly nothing to write home about, I wouldn’t wanna buy a carton full of the stuff!

Banana Nut Cheerios

I ended up eating the rest of this box of Banana Nut Cheerios as I would the standard ones; either as a yoghurt topper or mixed in with other bits n bobs. I don’t know what it is about Cheerios but they never really appeal to me to have as a full bowl of cereal , I guess I just don’t find them exciting enough. Never mind, they were nice to try.

Banana Nut Cheerios
per 100g

357kcals
3.6g protein
85g carbs (32g sugar)
3.6g fat (0g saturates)
7g fibre

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Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cinnamon doesn’t seem to be as big a thing here as it is in the States, we rarely get specific cinnamon based cereals; sure there’s the odd one here and there but no where near as many, we don’t have the joys of cinnamon Cheerios, or Apple Jacks with their apple and cinnamon flavours and there’s certainly no Cinnamon Toast Crunch lurking in the aisles but thanks to the guys at American Soda you are able to get your hands on some to delve into what these little toast babies are really like!

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Obviously aimed at kids, what with the big smiling baker man on the front..although to be honest it looks like someone may have spiked his Cinnamon Toast crunch; he has this sort of manic expression as he holds of tray of Cinnamon Toast..just what could he be thinking?! Well it’s obvious that his plan is going to be to trick parents into buying this cereal..giving out the healthy image that it’s made with “wholegrain”. Ok yes, it’s made with wholegrain but I guess that doesn’t make up for the fact that this is loaded with sugar, around 30-35g per 100g, putting it way up there with the sweetest of cereals.

However manic baker man really knows what he’s cooking up is gooood! As despite the bad nutritionals, this is obviously meant to be a treat cereal, and boy oh boy is it good! After being deprived of any really good cinnamon cereals in the UK this comes as a blessing, I can see what they mean when they say a “real cinnamon & sugar” in every bite. This cereal is extremely sweet but combined with the cinnamon provides a wonderful warming experience; almost like biting into a sweet sugary cinnamon bun!

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Looking for a sugar rush? Look no further, you can actually feel the sweetness of the sugar running around in your mouth…and what do we normally get with sweet cereals? Awesome cereal milk! The stuff at the bottom of this bowl is nearly even better than the cereal itself; sweet, milky and full of a good strong cinnamon flavour I could just drink a pint of this stuff.

And does it live up to its name? Is it crunchy..does it deserve that “Crunch” title? Yes sure on first bite this cereal sure is crunchy; it has that distinctive snap to it that is just ideal, and this cereal would be certainly delicious to eat dry. However due to it’s relatively flimsy structure it doesn’t hold up all that great in milk and within a few minutes Cinnamon Toast Crunch turns to Cinnamon Toast Sog, which is slightly disappointing if you really want to savour this cereal as the flavour is gorgeous.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

If you want to get your hands on Cinnamon Toast Crunch make sure to check out Amercican Soda.

Chocolate Lucky Charms – General Mills

This post should ruffle some feathers.

(Note – this is a “British / UK blog” perspective on an American cereal)

In the numerous debates of which Chocolate Breakfast Cereal reigns supreme, the likes of Chocolate Chex, Chocolate Lucky Charms, Chocolate Frosties, Chocolate Cheerios, Cocopops, Kokoa Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, and Count Chocula have been named. Note that I have only named cereals which have some potential of colouring your milk: “healthy” variants like Special K don’t count, since the remnants of chocolate in that one hardly qualify.

Chocolate Lucky Charms aren’t available in the UK. You can get them from American Soda, with relatively cheap shipping too, since they don’t charge some GBP5 flat rate like most online grocers do.

Attack of the elves. It doesn’t get much better than that. The box art consists of this creature munching on a HUGE bowl of cereal. Does this attract kids? I have absolutely no idea. It actually seems almost nightmarish, akin to a massive Clown attack (many of us have a secret clown phobia that lies deep within us.)

Chocolate cereal with dehydrated marshmallows. Not much deviation from typical Lucky Charms here – I suppose there isn’t any reason for changing a successful formula that’s lasted through the decades.

Curious shapes. Another manufacturing masterpiece – akin to the Cascadian Farm Clifford Crunch shapes which had holes in them. Wait a minute – these two cereals don’t merely resemble each other in aesthetic complexity:  they DO have similar shapes. That’s odd. The only difference being their colour – one is massively cocoa-stained.

Size is similar too, so I need not delve into that.

The key difference in Chocolate Lucky Charms is the heavy-handed addition of dehydrated marshmallows. These are similar to the ones in the conventional Lucky Charms, multi-coloured little tykes. You can see that there really ARE quite a lot of marshmallows in this cereal. The producers aren’t deceptive producers like Kellogg’s who add minuscule chocolate pieces to Special K Chocolate. The only way to explain this, would be through a picture.

Texture – ooh. I’d expected threethings:
1) Typical chocolate / cocopops crunch
2) Some crispy, then puffy bites of marshmallow
3) Cereal gets mushy like any typical Cocoa Puff out there.

Guess what? My expectations were met.

There’s nothing SPECIAL about this one. Mediocre crunch, expected marshmallow texture, expected duration-to-mushy-ness. Note how I don’t say I was “disappointed” here. I had expected this.

Maybe the good part of this cereal is something I will never understand. I think it’s the NOSTALGIA evoked when one chews on the marshmallow; the yield of the crispy crunch to the “dissolving puff” of it, that I can’t associate with, having never eaten this cereal in my childhood.

Texture – PLAIN, with some surprise through the marshmallows.

Oh yes – a note on the cereal milk produced. This one stains your milk. A nice brown – like your horribly sweet Cocoa Krispies. Not just physically – but you can detect that faint chocolate taste in the milk as well, though not as apparently as those in Cocopops / Krispies. Some would say this alone makes Chocolate Lucky Charms worthwhile as a chocolate cereal. I don’t think so. That’s just one aspect of the following.

Now: the deciding factor in most battles of the “Chocolate Breakfast Cereal” kind, which many so-called cereals have lost: Does Chocolate Lucky Charms confer the chocolate hit that so many of us crave?



Nope. Sad to say. To me, it fails to. Why?

On biting into this, there was a vague familiarity in the cereal. As the trapdoors of cereal memories opened in my mind, with tastes of previously-had breakfast cereals revealing themselves, I realized these tasted of Cocoa Krispies. Plain, simple, low-cocoa content sweetness. I had expected so much more – taste-wise – of the famed Chocolate Lucky Charms which theimpulsivebuy, Grubgrade, and others had spoken of. The chocolate-y flavour was there: it was just too simple.

Of course, you could say that I’m being an ass for expecting so much. After all, this is a kids’ cereal we’re talking about here. Not some artisan chocolate product.

“You buy these off the shelves, for crying out loud.”

My rebuttal: Yeah, but if Reese’s Puffs, Cap’n Crunch, and Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins can give me that rich, dense PB hit, why can’t this? If some granolas can give me a decent cocoa hit, why can’t this?

Chocolate aside, the marshmallows were fabulous. Lightly sweetened to match its light texture, a dissipating, fine sugar-compound that is more complex than you think, as if it was “packable cake icing”. Phew. I see why people can succeed on creating businesses around the sole purpose of selling these cereal marshmallows. Cereal marshmallows are incredibly versatile, and match any breakfast cereal base.

Nutritionals:  120 kcal for a 3/4 cup. Not bad – similar to your range of chocolate breakfast cereals out there (pretty close to Chocolate Cheerios too). So this cereal doesn’t score particularly highly on this point.

Plain-jane chocolate cereal with some fancy-schmancy, yet time-tested marshmallows to add a crispy-puffy bite. I wouldn’t pick this over Cocopops for chocolate-y-ness, but I would pick it over the rest for it’s marshmallows.

UK readers: pop by American Soda, to get some!

-The Exercising Male

Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs

The line between cereal & chocolate/candy is slowly being blurred it seems;; only recently in the UK have we started to see the development, Lion Bar/Crunch cereal from Nestle for example, but over in the States this sort of stuff has been going on for decades, I have here an example for you brought to you courtesy of American Soda, Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs, consisting of Reese’s Peanut Butter & Hershey’s Cocoa to create a cereal containing a mixture of peanut butter and chocolate crunchy corn puffs.

Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs

I wish that peanut butter was as big a “thing” here as it is in America, the endless choice of peanut butter cereals that grace their aisles, ranging from the healthy to the not so healthy, I believe that this is meant to be one of the latter..I mean any cereal based on candy can’t exactly be brimming with goodness and vitality can it, but yet it still seems that General Mills are ensuring that this cereal is Wholegrain guaranteed and fortified with all the essential vitamins and minerals; however these work out at around 400kcal per 100g and around 35g sugar, not the worst offender I’ve seen but still pretty sugary, but I guess when you compare it to the likes of Frosties..weighing in at 37g sugar per 100g..I know what I’d rather be munching on!

Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs

Taking this all into account I guess you’ve gotta view them as more of a treat than a breakfast cereal that you would wake up to every morning to keep you going through out all of the day..and once you’ve got this clear you can begin to fully enjoy just how delicious these little puffs are! So hey ho they may have a lot of sugar in, but they don’t taste too ridiculously sweet…not so cloyingly so that you’re left with that searing throat burn that we all know so well. The chocolate puffs have more of a light milk chocolate flavour rather than anything deep and defying, no where near as strong as anything like Nesquik or Coco Pops etc, with the peanut butter puffs being allowed to take centre stage with all the strong salty sweet flavours of the innards of Reese’s you have come to know and love.

The puffs themselves hold up pretty well in milk; they don’t go too soggy and have a sort of waxy sugary sheen to them that stops them just completely disintegrating and turning into mush; nevertheless they do have a nice give way to them in the milk allowing their flavours to seep in to create our beloved cereal milk, yum! To me this is one of the best aspects of this cereal; not only how delicious it is to eat dry, minus milk, as a sort of popcorn style snacking treat, but also how amazing it is complete with milk and as you slurp down the chocolatey peanut butter milk that remains..who cares about the calories and sugar because it is so totally worth it!

Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs

These are fairly hard to lay your hands on in the UK  but you can order them online at American Soda and wait with anticipation until your delicious peanut butter chocolate cereal arrives…mm!