Friday, March 13, 2009

Adventures in Oatmeal: Rainbow Oats (aka My Ode to Cereal)

Ah, the age-old question: How does one sully a perfectly good, healthy, sugar-free batch of oatmeal?

My answer: Dump in some yummy, colorful, and oh-so-deliciously-sugary Fruity Pebbles!

I've loved this fabulous-yet-nutritionally-sinful cereal since I was a kid. It ties for "Best of All Time" with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Don't judge. I have developed a more grown-up taste in cereals over the years (I adore the All-Bran Strawberry Medley. It's delicious, with a lot going on in the texture/flavor department, and it's very high in fiber. Gotta love it.), but my old favorites will always have a soft spot in my heart. In addition to the above 2, to round out my...
Top 5 Cereals:

1. Fruity Pebbles

2. Cinnamon Toast Crunch

3. Cracklin' Oat Bran: Looks like dog food; tastes like heaven. This one is actually a sneaker in the same way as granola. It has the appearance of being very healthy for you (calls out to you, "Just eat me! I'll do lovely things for your waistline and blood pressure!") but upon inspection of the nutrition label, its dark secrets are revealed:

Image courtesy of

True, you could do worse- its first ingredients are whole oats and wheat bran- and admirable start. However, check out the calories per teeny serving, as well as the sugar (15g) and fat (7g) content per teeny serving.

Ok, ok. Now that I look at it again it's really not all that bad for you. Good fiber content- just watch the calories because it's hard to eat only 3/4 cup!

Ooh I bet it would be fabulous mixed in some oatmeal...

But I digress-

4. Golden Grahams: How do I love thee? Let me count the, there are too many. Golden grahams were another childhood staple of mine. Great, light, simple graham flavor and they do that awesome thing (I don't understand people who don't like this- what's up with you?!) where they flavor the milk as you go. The end result is a yummy, sweet, honey-flavored milk to gulp as a grande finale to your delicious breakfast (lunch...dinner...snack...). We won't even address nutrition/health here. :)

5. Oh's: More on the "graham" front- This is a newer (read: past 5-6 years) find of mine. It's like Quaker's version of stuffed bell peppers... except the bell peppers are Cheerios and the stuffing is grahamy goodness... get it? Anyway. They fabulous! You just have to watch out for the first few bites (before the milk starts to work its magic) because they're crunchy little buggers that might wreak havoc with your gums. Shockingly, their nutrition info is better than that of Cracklin' Oat Bran, but I'm not sure if the lack of whole grains cancels out the benefits. Hm.

Just a note on cereal itself:

I. Love. It.

Cereal is the perfect food (more philosophically than nutritionally, of course) for the following (and of course infinitely more) reasons:

  • Flavor Variety: Of course this is one of the reasons- so many fun flavors!
  • Contrast of Cereal with Cold Milk: Probably my favorite aspect of cereal. There's something so comforting about the crunchy bites swimming around and getting soggy in the cool, creamy milk.
  • Ease: Open box. Pour. Add milk. Serve.
  • Shelf Life: Probably shouldn't be on my list because it's indicative of a lot of preservatives, but oh well. It's a nice perk.

If anyone has recommendations- I'd love them! Although, please keep in mind that I am not, never have, and never will be a fan of chocolate cereals (i.e. cocoa pebbles). I can't do it! Dunno why.

But now, back to the Rainbow Oats.

I had my doubts about this concoction, mainly because I didn't plan on adding any sugar (other than that housed by the Pebbles, of course) and I was right. While it was completely fun to look at, it only had a faint Fruity Pebbly taste. It would probably be a good way to get kids to eat their oatmeal without adding too much of the 'bad stuff.' I only added 1/2 a serving, so it wasn't an absolute sugar overload.

Verdict: I ate it! I liked looking at it!.. I probably won't do it again. Don't be surprised, however, when you find Fruity Pebble cookies or muffins in future posts. :)



  1. I'm a big cereal girl too but I'm pretty choosy because I try to eat healthily too. My favorite calorie friendly choice is Honeycomb. You can get 1 1/2 cups for 120 calories and as an added bonus, each serving has 2 grams of fiber!

    When I am in "I don't care" mode and just want a yummy treat, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is hard to beat. Yummmm!

  2. Julia,

    I've never tried Honeycombs, actually. Crazy, because they've been available forever. I need to invest in a box, I think. Thanks for the recommendation! I know what you mean about the battle between tasty cereal and health. I've actually tried mixing just a little of a 'bad' cereal in with a nutritious one, like the recommend in health publications. Not quite the same, but an interesting compromise.

    Oh, Cinnamon Toast Crunch... I literally can't keep it in the house because it sucks away every last drop of my "one bowl one serving only" will power. :)