Tesco Cinnamon Squares Breakfast Cereal

We’re back to the cinnamon cereal streak here in the UK. It beats me why we’re observing this trendhere. A year ago only Nestle made their Curiously Cinnamon squares, which are similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the US. We aren’t just limited to “mere non-textured cereal squares” though;  several weeks ago we had Sainsbury’s Cinnamon Malties with its Chex-like pattern. What have we today?

Tesco’s Cinnamon Squares, with cute gopher-chipmunk-animal-thing to boot.

These are pretty large squares, and textured with lines, similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They fit nicely in your mouth, 3-4 to a tablespoon (with milk).

2 things to note about the texture though;

1)Each square is thick. Like: so thick that it crunches in your mouth, as if it was the chunky outer surface of a freshly-baked baguette. I mean, look at it; it’s almost half the thickness of an old-school-sized thumbdrive (note my love for all things “thumb”)

2)Cinnamon sugar absolutely adorns these pieces, though not to the extent of the sugar coating in Nestle’s Curiously Cinnamon or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I’m not sure about this, but the sugar GRAINs themselves seemed more coarse than other cinnamon-themed cereals, complementing the above “chunky” squares even more.

Awesome; especially when some Os are thrown into the mix (Tesco brand, of course)

Taste is hard. It’s sweet, with that simple white sugar sweetness. It has a light (too light?) tinge of cinnamon in it that is just enough to “inform” you that you’re having a cinnamon treat. I like the subtlety here, because it matches the wheaty, almost BISCUITy taste of each square.

Cinnamon biscuits. That’s what we’ve got here. Put them in milk? You get bliss.

At 410kcal/100g, it isn’t TOO bad, neither is it good. “A source of fibre” and “wholegrain” is advertised on the box, which isn’t a lie per se;  though I’d take that with a pinch of salt. I’ve calculated the 100g equivalent for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, in order to get an approximation of the serving size in volume. 30g of this should be somewhere between 3/4 of a cup to 1 Cup.

Certainly beats eating Granola (to me at least; i’m sure my compatriot would disagree!), since here you get a luscious biscuity bite, without that hefty calorie-count that usually comes with it!

-The Exercising Male


Kellogg’s Nutri-grain cereal review

Kellogg’s Nutri-grain is a breakfast cereal in Australia, and a cereal bar in the US. The breakfast cereal variant isn’t commonly reviewed: hence the choice to write about it today.

The box is brown. Brown. Brown. Brown. Doesn’t help that the cereal is brown too. Essentially you’ve got something on the cereal shelf that looks like a block of wood, and doesn’t appeal to kids, or adults.

A quick search on the Australian Kellogg’s site revealed the target consumers.

Sportsmen. Nutri-grain Iron men, as they are dubbed. There are several Kiwi and Aussies athletes sponsored by Nutri-grain. As a triathlete myself, I have to say that I absolutely love this one.

Each piece is individually-shaped, piece-by-piece in a waffle-crisp way. I have no idea what the holes are for, since the cereal itself is porous and absorbs milk. Perhaps it adds to the “home-made” / artisan feel that the look for in that comforting bowl of cereal in the morning.

I liked the way each pieces gets soggy in milk. It becomes mushy, and contrary to the conventional notions of a good cereal; the fact that it retains absolutely ZERO “crispy-ness” is what I enjoy most. You’ve still got the shape of each individual piece – the holes in each are still recognizable, except that it COLLAPSES instantly on any pressure exerted by your teeth, or tongue (this is kinda gross, I know. But how else do I describe it?)

Taste is one-dimensional. I guess you can’t expect much from something which isn’t bursting with added sugar. It tastes very wheaty, in the “cheap wholemeal bread” way: and I am inclined to believe that this ties in with the higher-than-average protein content derived totally from wheat (more on that below). There’s a mild malt-taste in this cereal which was enjoyable when taken together with milk (albeit not as strong as a malt drink per se) that provided some depth to the cereal that is (thankfully) unrelated to sweetness.

For 120kcal per cup of dry cereal, you get 6g of protein. This is more than Special K, and the bran cereals out there. You’ve also got a hefty dose of carbohydrate here, perfect for a pre or post workout snack.

I love this cereal, and is one of the few which I’ll make purchase again and again.

Good on’ya Kelloggs Australia.

Now: how do I get a hold of this in the UK when the University term starts?

-The Exercising Male

Kashi Honey Sunshine

More cereals from America, bought through iHerb, which offers reasonable shipping to the UK (quote QID159 at checkout for 5 bucks off your order.)

You might think:

“Meh… Another stupid healthy cereal. Another one of those replacements of sugary cereals catering to the health nuts who compromise on taste just for that wee bit of fiber that the cereal contains”.

Guess what – I thought the same, and boy, do I retract those words.

As many have noted, Kashi Honey Sunshine breakfast cereal is their version of Cap’n Crunch original, those crunchy square-shaped corn pieces that many have considered to have that “mouth-shredding” characteristic.

So here our impression of this cereal doesn’t start off on a blank slate; rather we’re starting with some expectations of how it SHOULD taste (I.e. With Cap’n Crunch as the starting point).

Nutrition-wise: whoa. Good job Kashi. A mere 90kcal / 3/4cup; Less than 10g of sugar (6g per serving), and with 6g of dietary fiber to boot. Not bad so far.

These are small. Nice and “cute-sy” (my new favourite expression) squares exactly the size of my thumbnail. They’re pretty thick too, resembling those sofa cushions that look so plush that you just want to jump into them, or dunk them in milk.

Yes: the milk test – the all-important factor. Different people have different criteria for this: for some it has to stay crunchy, for some it has to be mushy on the outside, but crunchy on the inside.

Kashi’s Honey Sunshine is the former. It stays crunchy for a solid 5 minutes. It doesn’t have a mushy outer layer (maybe a really thin one, but nigh-unnoticeable). I say: this has matched Cap’n Crunch in the crispy aspect. Imagine half the crispiness of cornnuts, and you should be right on target. Impressive!

Although one should note that the cereal does get slightly discoloured after a good milk-soak (which cereal doesn’t right?) But I thought it necessary to state that the discolouration is amazingly minimal, unlike Cocopops which lose their dark hue after a minute, and Reese’s Puffs which loose that bright orange after 2 minutes. The one on the left has been soaked, the one on the right fresh from the box.

I think this “non-discolouration” factor works in Kashi’s favour here; one tends to think that there isn’t any artificial colouring in this – and that its colour is truly, truly due to cornmeal.

I also liked the fact that you could fit so many onto a spoon, making the cereal incredibly more-ish (in a breakfast sense). On that note, my cereal drawer is right next to me at my desk, and I can’t help but reach for it in the middle of the day, owing to its size and crunch for that pick-me-up that is required on days of looong workouts.

The small size also allows small children to enjoy the cereal, since mothers may easily pop a piece or two into their mouths.

One may ask why, of all things, I would reach for this as a sugary-pick-me-up, when there’s chocolate and candy that I may rely on. That, is a question of taste.

Despite the lower sugar levels mentioned above, this cereal meets, and exceeds, the expectations set up Cap’n Crunch. In fact, I prefer its sweetness much more to that.

It’s not a plain sugar sweetness. Neither is it that indulgent, luxurious honey sweetness. Neither is it that Malt coating akin to Cascadian Farm’s Clifford Crunch, or Nestle Honey Stars. What we have here is a subtle but flavourful honey “lick“. You can tell that it’s TRYING to taste like honey, but that it simply isn’t. I don’t blame Kashi for this: achieving that honey taste would push the price of manufacturing through the roof. Then again, they’ve achieved a sweetness which other grocery cereals haven’t – I don’t have a word to describe it. What about this:

Subtle in intensity, and a lengthy sugar hit 

Density provided by the heavier, substantial “corn” taste you get from the cornmeal used in this cereal.

There. I like this. I really do.

It’s reasonably healthy, and subtly but sufficiently sweet. It stays crunchy, and doesn’t stain your milk.

Go get it!

-The Exercising Male

Nestle Honey Nut Shredded Wheat

Ah-ha! Shredded wheat. The healthy staple – according to several health publications & websites. Why? 158kcal / serving (40g) with 5 grams of protein. Not too bad eh; (maybe it should be expected, since it’s “nothing but wheat” – well, that’s beside the point).
Not to mention how the varieties of this cereal across the major producers share roughly the same nutritionals: Post, Kellogg’s, General Mills (via Fiber One in the USA) and Nestle have their versions: Shredded Wheat, Mini-wheats, and Bite-Size, etc.

How does the version by Nestle, in UK, stand?

These aren’t the large ones by the way. Those are Shredded Wheats, each one the size of your hand, where the recommended serving is 2 for breakfast. The Honey Nut Shredded Wheats today are small, not “mini” like Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats, but about the size of a Gorilla’s thumbnail. (Or so I think, since it is substantially larger than mine, as seen below)

I should get into something I have termed the “wheat size” debacle. What is up with “bite-size”, “mini”, and regular shredded wheat. Kellogg’s in the USA actually distinguishes between these three, which I find incredibly odd. The main reasons I see for this are:

1) More Minis can fit a spoon
2) The Regular can effectively become a huge pillow of soaked-in-milk-goodness
3) The Bite-size are, truly, one per bite, and less more-ish, but more savoury.
4) Some like their cereal crushed. Minis solve that problem.

I’m not sure about whether others feel the same way, but those are my thoughts.

Back to Post’s Honey Nut Shredded Wheat:

Dry. They look like dried animal skins, tied into bundles. They are so dry, that eating them plain will indeed “shred” the insides of your mouth (as many have noted with Cap’n Crunch). I believe this one’s more potent though: it resembles twigs that are actually sharp on their ends.

Kid-friendly, Honey Nut Shredded Wheat is not. Note that you probably won’t have this problem with the large sized wheat biscuits, as those clearly can’t be eaten whole, in one bite.

In milk though, we get a different creature, at different times:

1-minute in: crisp internals, soggy external, but with the “honey nut” sugar crust still intact

5-minutes in: soggy mini pillow. Sugar crust intact, but otherwise soggy.

You’d expect a bad review here – in terms of texture. But hey: it IS enjoyable, 5 minutes in, to bite through that honey-sweet crust, into that puffy wheat biscuit. The soggy characteristic is a strength, and not a weakness, in this cereal. Coupled with the sugar crust, you get something akin to “single-layered cream biscuit”, except in inversed-proportions: here the biscuit is the sugar crust, and the wheat, the cream.

You may say this is absolutely nuts. Well, that’s what I think, and if you feel the same way after reading this – yippee-kai-yeh, we’ve found kindred spirits in each other.

Note though; without the sugar crust (I.e. Plain shredded wheat), I doubt you’d get the same experience. What’d be left would be one, soggy, mess.

Taste, however: plain. Drab. Nothing, cardboard (except for the sugar crust)

The wheat itself is so plain that it needs no description. Honestly. Maybe that’s why Plain Shredded Wheat is a “healthy cereal” then, owing to the restraint in added sugar.

Thank God for the sugar crust. If not for that, you’d have a tasteless cereal. It’s a simple amalgam of glazed sugar and nuts (hence: “honey nut”). The sweetness doesn’t quite resemble pure honey though; more like a malt sugar akin to Honey Stars and other cheaper self-professed “Honey” cereals.

Sugar crust on top, non-sugar crust on the bottom

Taste-wise: drab, saved by additional element.
Texture-wise: drab, saved by additional element.

I say again – If not for the sugar-crust, this would be a waste of calories.

However, the “Honey Nut” here adds a level of crisp-crunchiness, and the light taste of malt-sugar.

That, combined with the nutritionals and price, makes this cereal worth your while.

-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!

Alpen Raspberry, Apple & Raisin Porridge

Alpen is long known for its various varieties of muesli; however with the popularity of instant quick easy on the go porridge it seems they have branched out to take on Quaker in the instant oatmeal/porridge sector of the cereal aisle. Although I love porridge I have never found an instant oatmeal that I really enjoy, other than a Dorset Cereal Limited Edition Gingerbread variety that I found in London at Christmas time, I never find them as fulfilling or as wholesome as making my own bowl of porridge with big juicy thick oats.

Nevertheless I loved the Raspberry & Apple Alpen Muesli variety, so I thought, hey-ho, why not give it a shot, it was only £1 on special offer in my local supermarket anyway, what could I have to lose?

Alpen Raspberry, Apple & Raisin Porridge<

Opening the box the sachets are the standard instant oatmeal size, and pouring the oats out into the bowl I must say I felt slightly dissatisfied with the amount of oats that seemed to be making up my portion. It looked almost dust like rather than the good wholesome bowl of oats I am used to, I persevered however and decided to add my recommended amount of milk and heat it up in the microwave.

As the microwave dinged and I took out my warm bowl of porridge it did look slightly more satisfying than it did dry, and did fill the bowl to a satisfactory level, my positive feelings changed slightly as I dipped my spoon into the warm oaty breakfast offering, this didn’t taste particularly amazing..I would say..distinctly average.

Alpen Raspberry, Apple & Raisin Porridge

There aren’t many juicy raisins, the raspberry flavour isn’t particularly strong, neither is the apple, and it certainly doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as the muesli. The oats aren’t thick and chewy and satisfying, but weak and mush like, I don’t know whether this is just me, and my dislike for instant oatmeal..but no one seems to be able to do it particularly well yet. This may be a quick and easy option for people in a rush on the go who want to try something a bit different but if you’re a real wholesome oatmeal/porridge lover then I would stick to your normal home cooked offering!

Food For Life : Ezekiel Cinnamon & Raisin

A cereal named after a biblical book/prophet in the Hebrew Bible; that certainly is a new one! With a quote taken from the book itself this is a cereal that certainly markets itself as a virtuous delicious healthy product, good for not only the  body but also the soul : all natural, no preservatives and 100% flourless it is made with organic sprouted whole wheat, malted barley, millet, lentils, soy beans, spelt..and in this particular variety cinnamon, sea salt and raisins.

Ezekiel Cinnamon & Raisin

But what is all of this if the cereal itself doesn’t taste good? For all of those health conscious people out there, myself being one of them, this would certainly be a cereal that I would pick up to at least try due to the nature of it, but if a cereal’s not good I won’t go back to it, no no,…good job this one is delicious!

Ezekiel Cinnamon & Raisin

For any of you that have had Grape Nuts before, the crunchy consistency of it is certainly prevalent here in this cereal from Ezekiel, the same almost tooth breaking crunch that stays ridiculously crunchy even when soaked in milk for what seems like an eternity! However..me being me..I eat this warm! I did try it cold just for reviewing purposes and I can assure you that its delicious, especially with a good splash of creamy soy/almond milk; alas in my opinion its best eaten warmed so the grains absorb all the delicious milk to create an almost chewy grainy bowl of goodness with scrumptious juicy raisins.

Ezekiel Cinnamon & Raisin

The best thing about this though is how good you feel after eating it; it sets you up perfectly for the day without the need for huge quantities of added sugar; infact there is no added sugar in this product at all; so if you’re sick of all the added stuff that seems to be getting shoved into your cereals nowadays and you want to take it back to the pure basics but don’t want to compromise on flavour this is certainly one to go for.

Ezekiel Cinnamon & Raisin

I’m not sure how easily available this is in the US but I got mine from iherb.com  where a wide selection of Ezekiel’s products are available.

Nature’s Path Love Crunch Carrot Cake Granola

Despite there being quite a large selection of granolas available in the UK, they all seem to be fairly un-inventive, oat clusters with raisins, or some other sort of dried fruit/nuts is normally about as far as it gets, so when I went on a visit to NY and popped into their Wholefoods I was taken aback at the sheer quantity of all these new and exciting products that were tempting my fancy! I pondered and pondered, walking up and down the cereal aisle, taking  boxes, putting them back, trying to work out how possible it would be in me fitting virtually every box of cereal on offer into my case to take back home.

Nature's Path Love Crunch Carrot Cake Granola

In the end I opted that about 6 would be a reasonable amount, this Nature’s Path Love Crunch Carrot Cake Granola was one of them, to be honest, I don’t normally opt for granola that often, unless its something really special, I find that tipping the scale at 400-500kcal per 100g they have to pretty special for me to choose them for breakfast and all I can say is that was most definitely worth the calories!

Consisting of rolled oats and spelt clusters, raisins, pecans, yoghurt chips, dried carrots, freeze dried pineapple and cinnamon; based on ingredients this should, on paper, be everything that a good carrot cake tastes of.  Even typing this review out I can still smell the strongly spiced aroma that is so wonderfully dispersed on opening the packaging; pouring myself a bowl it’s great to see that Nature’s Path haven’t been scrooges when it comes to adding the “different” elements of the granola, with a good amount of raisins, pecans and yogurt pieces (my favourite bit, yum).

Nature's Path Love Crunch Carrot Cake Granola

The likeness to actual carrot cake is superb..infact I would say this is even better than the real thing, I know I would choose a bowlful of this over a slice of carrot cake, any day..anytime! The sweetly spiced crunchy granola, the chewy raisins, the crunchy pecans and the tartness provided by the yoghurt chips in a wonderful likeness to cream cheese frosting just made it superb on every level.

And the milk? Well the milk was turned a flavourful mixture of sweet spices with a tart undertone where the yoghurt pieces had managed to seep some of their flavour out. And the granola? The granola stayed delightfully crunchy throughout with a good exterior give where the clusters had started to soften slightly. A big big thumbs up and a huge smiley face for this delicious cereal..now if only they would bring something out like this onto the cereal aisles back home!

Nature's Path Love Crunch Carrot Cake Granola