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Cereal

Posted by tinako on May 24, 2010

I made Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Machine Bread this morning, as well as Apple Cinnamon Muffins.  I replaced 1/4 c of the white flour with soy flour.  Again, I could smell it (and taste it) in the batter, but not in the finished muffins.  I ran out of baking powder so I had to make some.  I also added 1 c Autumn Wheat cereal crumbs.

I don’t eat too much cereal.  I think it’s usually overprocessed and always overpriced.  But our family loves Kashi Autumn Wheat and Cinnamon Harvest – they are lightly sweet mini-wheats, vegan with just three or four ingredients.  This is how I read the nutrition facts for cereal.  I note the serving size in grams, and then see what percentages the components have.  The first thing I look at is sugar.  The numbers here are 7 g sugar in every 54 g cereal, and 7 goes into 54 almost 8 times, so it is about 1/8 sugar. It has 6 g fiber (1/9 of the cereal is fiber).  It has NO sodium.  Ingredients list is nice and short.

You know, I wanted to compare this with a cereal I don’t buy for nutrition reasons, and Froot Loops came to mind, but it really wasn’t as terrible as I expected.  29 g of cereal has 12 g of sugar and sugar is the first ingredient, but that’s less than half sugar – I’ve seen worse – and it has 3 g of fiber, almost the same fraction as the Kashi.  Who would have thought?  It has 135 mg sodium, just over the 110 calories (since the number of calories we need and the number of mg of sodium we should not exceed are approximately the same (2,100/day), comparing the two numbers on nutrition facts is a good way to see if a food is high in sodium).  So sodium is not too bad either.  But the ingredients list is too long and complicated: SUGAR; WHOLE GRAIN CORN FLOUR; WHEAT FLOUR; WHOLE GRAIN OAT FLOUR; OAT FIBER; SOLUBLE CORN FIBER; PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (ONE OR MORE OF: COCONUT, SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OILS)†; SALT; SODIUM ASCORBATE AND ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C); NIACINAMIDE; REDUCED IRON; NATURAL ORANGE, LEMON, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, BLUEBERRY, LIME AND OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS; RED #40; BLUE #2; TURMERIC COLOR; YELLOW #6; ZINC OXIDE; ANNATTO COLOR; BLUE #1; PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6); RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2); THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1); VITAMIN A PALMITATE; BHT (PRESERVATIVE); FOLIC ACID; VITAMIN D; VITAMIN B12.

OK, I found a terrible one: Kellogg’s Honey Smacks.  27 g of cereal has 15 g of sugar, so it’s more than half sugar.  It only has 1 g of fiber, and while the ingredients list isn’t too terribly long (SUGAR, WHEAT, CORN SYRUP, HONEY, HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL†, SALT, CARAMEL COLOR, SOY LECITHIN), three of the eight items are sugar.  The sodium isn’t too terrible either.  For a terrible sodium count, look at Rice Krispies, with double the sodium it should have for its calories.  This is what caused Consumer Reports to not recommend it.

To compare more directly with the Kashi cereal, Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats are about 1/5 sugar and also have four ingredients, but not such nice ones as Autumn Wheat: WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT, SUGAR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, GELATIN.  So that white coating is sugar, HFCS, and boiled slaughterhouse byproducts.

I am totally done dissecting cereal boxes.  Autumn Wheat has a lot of crumbs at the bottom of each box, about 1/2 c, and a friend told me she read about using them to add crunch to pancakes and cookies.  So that’s why I added them to my muffins, but I think it would work better if I sprinkled them on top, because they just disappeared into the batter (duh).  Shop around for these Kashi cereals.  I have seen prices as high as $5 and as low as $2.50 on sale (Target).  Price Rite has them for $3.

How about another digression?  You weren’t busy, were you?  That friend told me about the cereal crumbs as we were handing out free samples of Cinnamon Harvest to every child in my son’s elementary school on their way to lunch.  The program is called Tasty Tuesday, and once a month three of us serve free samples of a healthy food.  My friend who came up with the idea and runs it knows I wouldn’t hand out non-vegan food, so she has been really good about selecting things that work out.  She also writes up an information sheet that goes home in every child’s backpack.  In addition to Cinnamon Harvest, we served carrots and hummus, clementines, sweet potato chips, Ghiardelli 72% bittersweet chocolate chips, blueberries, and dates.  I had to excuse myself from serving dates.  Even the smell makes me gag, and I allow myself this one indulgence of a food to dislike so much I don’t have to eat it.  The project was a big success (my friend was on the news!) and we all plan to continue next year.  However, I must report that while most kids loved the food, my son tried almost none of it 😦

Hot Dog, Tabouleh, and Cuke Salad

I have finally arrived at dinner.  It was Tofurky Beer Brats on Food for Life sprouted wheat rolls, with Tabouleh and Cucumber Salad.

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