I first found General Mills' latest entry in its Cheerios line, Banana Nut Cheerios, browsing the aisles at Big Lots. Since Banana Nut in just about anything is one of my favorite flavors, I just had to try this cereal. I tried it and fell in love with the taste immediately.
Of course the problem with such stores is that what you find there is often discontinued, so I actually contacted General Mills and they wrote back with the happy news that this was a new product that had previously only been sold in Club stores (I guess not Costco because I never saw it), but was rolling out to stores nationally on 12/29. Well I couldn't find it on that date, but yesterday it was in my local Von's supermarket on sale prominently displayed on an end cap. So I can get Banana Nut Cheerios as much as I like.
So the upside is the great taste, the downside is the lack of much nutrition. A serving is just 100 calories with only 1 gram of fat, no saturated fat or trans fat. But then there's only one gram of fiber and 1 gram of protein as well. It's so easy to have a cereal be nutritious on both counts (think Barbara's Bakery Shredded Oats Cereal Vanilla Almond ), there's really no excuse to come out with these essentials missing.
As a regular reader of The Healthy Food Review, you already know that I've been following a flexitarian diet for years, rather than a true vegetarian one because I like to eat fish regularly, and a handful of turkey or chicken meals a year, so I do eat a lot of cereal. I basically divide my cereal choices into two kinds:
1. Meal Cereals--highly nutritious cereals that I will eat regularly for just about any meal of the day
2. Snack Cereals--cereals with great taste without harmful ingredients like partially-hydrogenated oil, but that rank low on nutrition. The purpose of these cereals is to be a healthy food makeover for a more "dangerous" food.
In my opinion, Banana Nut Cheerios are in the snack cereal category. Which is okay, because they will keep me from eating fattening Banana Nut Muffins, and being a member of the Cheerios family, they travel well and are easy to eat on the run since they don't need milk. I think they'd also be a great sweet snack for toddlers and kids instead of candy. I know my nieces always had fistfuls of Cheerios when they were very little.
Just don't assume with Banana Nut Cheerios you're getting much of the health benefits of a real banana, or whole grain (even though it is "made" with whole grain). But as a snack or a way to save hundreds of calories and tons of fat from comfort foods like traditional banana nut muffins, it's a winner.
Have you tried Banana Nut Cheerios? What do you think?
--Melanie R. Jordan, Author of Have Your Cheeseburger And Keep Your Health Too! Available 24/7 at http://www.HealthyEatingCoach.com
"Healthy eating with favorite comfort foods...it's deliciously possible!"
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Please note that I do not have an affiliation with any of the companies featured in this post--they are simply products I am personally familiar with. The views expressed are my opinion only and you should decide, along with your healthcare professionals, on the appropriateness for your personal use.
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