I want to thank each and every one of you who submitted a “Would Amanda Eat It?” request via my ThisFitBlonde Facebook page (please “like” if you haven’t already!) – I promise I will try to get to as many as I can as the Tuesdays roll by!
For today, a common one – breakfast cereal. Cheerios Protein is the new offering from our childhood favorite brand, General Mills. It comes in two flavors (as far as I can tell) – Oats & Honey and Cinnamon Almond. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to focus on the Oats & Honey one today.
- Cheerios Protein does, in fact, provide a significant amount more protein than the original Cheerios; 3g in a cup for original; 7g in 1.25 cups (note the larger serving size!) for Cheerios Protein
- Cheerios Protein is made with lentils, which is great news for fiber (4g versus the 3g in the original Cheerios)
- like all Cheerios products, the first ingredient is whole grain oats – a grain known to help lower cholesterol and is great as part of a heart-healthy diet
- Sorry, Cheerios “Pro” – you’re a sugar bomb. At 17g per serving, you’re more than quadrupling the amount of sugar in plain Cheerios – and nearing almost HALF your daily allotment of added sugar (which should be less than 40g, by the way)
- Cheerios Protein more than doubles the calorie count of plain Cheerios – but only has a 1/4 cup larger serving size – and those calories, as you can guess, are coming straight from sugar
- The second ingredient on the label is the intentionally vague “cluster” – which in itself contains FIVE distinct types of sugar (sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, and caramelized sugar syrup) – and that’s before you get to the other four sugar ingredients, which include Refiner’s Sugar (a fancy name for light molasses) and honey.
- If you’ve known me from childhood, you’ll know that plain Cheerios were a vital food group for me growing up – and I’ve still been known to sneak a bowl (with almond or coconut milk!) every now and then. But these fakers? Never. General Mills is clearly trying to “trick” the consumer into thinking this product is a healthy source of protein and whole grain – and unfortunately, it is neither. If you want even more enlightenment on the question of Cheerios Protein, check out Fooducate’s review.
The alternative (newly added feature!):
- If you crave grains in the morning, try having a bowl of plain old-fashioned oats, sweetened with cinnamon and a touch of honey. If it’s protein you want, plain Greek yogurt with fruit kicks this cereal’s butt (17g in ONE cup!) and eggs are always a sugar-free powerhouse (6g protein per whole egg; 3.6g per egg white)
Remember, folks – always check labels first; avoid the siren call of the fancy packaging or product naming. The nutrition label will always give you the “real deal” about sugar, sodium, protein, serving size, saturated fat, and carbohydrates – your go-to nutrients when assessing processed foods.
What do you like to eat for breakfast? Where do you get your morning protein?