Home > Health > Did You Say Honey and Nuts?

Did You Say Honey and Nuts?

I live a somewhat healthy lifestyle.  Kale smoothies, whole grains, vegetables and lean proteins make up the bulk of my diet. But lurking in that qualifier, “somewhat,” amongst chocolate, wine, and coffee, is my guilty pleasure that I start the day with, and have ever since I was a child: I’m addicted to Honey Nut Cheerios. High in sugar and sodium and low in protein and fiber, I doubt Jillian Michaels would be enthusiastic.

It’s all my mother’s fault.

Easy going on most issues, my mother was staunchly opposed to sugar cereals. When Lucky Charm and Honeycomb commercials came on during the Saturday cartoons, making breakfast look as fun as a trip an amusement park complete with leprechauns and Flintstones, I salivated over my Shreddies (which added a little flavor).

But for some reason – likely fatigue – when General Mills introduced Honey Nut Cheerios, they made the grade for my mother. I took to that buzzing bee on their box like a fish to water, and have not looked back since. They have seen me through grade school, university, and now adulthood. My faithful companion. The ideal complement for my simple palate, the perfect combination of honey sweetness and crunch.

They are the low-water mark for groceries: I can substitute canned pears for fresh fruit, and whip up vegetarian concoctions when there is no meat to be found in my fridge, but when we’re low on Honey Nut Cheerios, I give in and hit the grocery store. I get panicky when the last cheerio and all of that dust falls into my bowl.

I have avoided studying the nutrition chart on its brown and yellow box for years; ignorance is bliss. But a friend recently pointed out that there was almost as much sugar and sodium in this cereal as Cocoa Puffs, forcing me to reconsider my favorite breakfast choice.

In search of better nutrition for my morning meal, I have gone through stints with various healthier options like steel cut oats and Kashi Go Lean Crunch. The steel-cut oats take too long to make and the Kashi Go Lean necessitates so much chewing it hurts my jaw. After a week I invariably retreat back to my old standby.

I’m trying another cereal this week. My health-freak dentist sold me on Nature’s Path version of Cheerios made with quinoa flour. He enthusiastically bade me to try it last time I was in for a cleaning. “Not bad,” I told him. “Revolting!” I thought. Yet every morning this week, I have reluctantly reached past my super-sized Honey Nut Cheerio box for an eco-packaged, nutritional version of my favorite cereal.

They have a much better nutritional score: no sugar, low sodium, higher fiber, more protein, all organic ingredients. Paired with skim milk, they are not quite as revolting, but still taste more like cardboard than food. I tell myself I’m doing my body a favor, but my heart is not in this change.

I console myself with the thought that when life gives me lemons, I will pour myself a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and let their sweetness override any of life’s sour taste. In an effort to eat healthier I have replaced white rice with brown, plain pasta with whole wheat, mashed potatoes with quinoa. I need to draw the line somewhere.

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  1. March 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Drink the Kool-Aid…I mean, eat the Honey Nut Cheerios!

    I grew up in a household where my parents didn’t buy the sugar cereals either…my own favourite is Alpha Bits!

    Wendy

    • March 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm

      I will never tire of spelling words with Alphabits in my bowl!

  2. March 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Haha! Jillian Michaels would not be satisfied unless you ate stricly bird seed… A little honey nut goodness never hurt anybody 🙂

    • March 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm

      You’re right, a little never hurt anyone. My habit did creep up to three bowls a day at one point, but I exhibited some self-control and put a stop to it.

  3. March 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Oh, I too love Honey Nut Cheerios! You’re making me hungry for some, in fact! Sorry to have been away for so many days, but the international move kicked my butt–think I need some Cheerios!

    Not in Haiti Anymore 😦
    Kathy

    • March 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

      Gosh – not like you have much going on in your life…!!! No apologies needed. Can’t wait to read your sequels.

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