Cheerios is a classic breakfast cereal that almost all American households have in their pantries. Most of us grew up with these O-shaped cereals and have often depended on them for those rushed mornings or as an after-school snack.
However, we all know that breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar and are not the best for our health. So, are Cheerios healthy? Let’s take a closer look at the history of this popular cereal and how it affects our health.
An Introduction To Cheerios And Its Different Varieties
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Cheerios, once called Cheerioats, is a cereal developed by physicist Lester Borchardt and his team working for General Mills in Minnesota.
They invented the cereals by creating a puffing gun machine that produced puffed oats in small “O” shapes. This machine was eventually used to make other cereals like the Trix, Total, Jets, and Cocoa Puffs.
The primary purpose of General Mills in creating a new cereal was to find a more palatable and exciting snack in the post-depression era when oatmeal and morning mash were breakfast staples. The brand also wanted a better option than the plain and reliable Cornflakes and Wheaties.
Early in the production, Quaker Oats claimed that there was a trademark infringement in the “oats” of “Cheerioats.” This led to General Mills changing the name, and that’s how Cheerios became a household name in 1945.
Cheerios Marketing Through The Years
The marketing campaigns of Cheerios played a major role in cementing its brand reputation as a household staple today.
The original campaign was fully intended for children, and this was during the 1940s-50s. The brand’s very first mascot was Cheery O’Leary, which became popular through print campaigns. Cheerios also ran animated commercials with the Cheerios Kid, who would solve problems after eating Cheerios!
By the ’60s, Cheerios were already appearing in comic strips like Bullwinkle and Rocky and even in cartoons. Then came Hoppity Hopper, a frog that convinced the children that Cheerios was a fun choice. Adding to the character line of Cheerios was Buzz the Bee, who focused on the newest variant — the Honey Nut Cheerios.
Cheerios is also one of the very first cereals partnered with Disney and other big-name companies when surprise toys were incorporated in a box.
Different Varieties Of Cheerios
Cheerios offers a wide variety of flavors. Many are loyal to the Classic flavors, like the plain Cheerios, Cinnamon Nut, and Honey Nut. But if you want to add some flavor and texture to your breakfast and snack time, then you may want to explore the other flavor varieties of this breakfast staple.
Some Cheerios flavors are seasonal, and some have been discontinued because they didn’t do as well as the classics. Take a look at some popular and well-loved Cheerios flavors that you can easily find at your local supermarket.
#1. The Fruity Cheerios
There is one variant that is actually called Fruity, which is General Mill’s direct response to Trix. Strawberry, Very Berry, and Apple Cinnamon are some fruity Cheerios flavors available in the market.
#2. The Chocolate Series
Chocolate-flavored cereals are always a huge hit, especially with the kids! And Cheerios’ chocolatey representatives hit it out the park! Whether you choose Plain Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Crunch, or Chocolate Peanut Butter, all of them taste incredible! The Cinnamon Burst can also be included in this series.
#3. The “Weird, But Works” Flavors
Creativity and ingenuity were on the side of Cheerios when they came up with flavors that might make you think twice, but once you try them, you get hooked! Some Cheerios flavors that would fall under this bracket are Frosted Cheerios, Yogurt Burst, Banana Nut, Dulce de Leche, and Pumpkin Spice Cheerios.
#4. The Healthier Kind
Cheerios has always asserted that it wanted to provide its consumers with healthier and more flavorful choices for kids and adults alike. Some of these healthy variants are Ancient Grain, Multi-Grain, and Protein Cheerios.
Despite the new flavors the brand continues to produce, the top three all-time favorites remain Plain, Cinnamon Nut, and Honey Nut.
Are Cheerios Healthy?
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Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, so it is critical that what you eat for breakfast is packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can give you an energy boost for the day.
The good news? You can keep including Cheerios as one of your breakfast options because it is generally nutritious, packed with healthy fiber that is good for your heart, and enriched with essential vitamins and minerals.
Many Cheerios flavors also don’t incorporate artificial flavorings or colorants, and most of them are also gluten-free. It’s best to check the ingredients list to determine which Cheerios variant would be best for you.
And while you can have Cheerios every once in a while, it’s a good idea to limit your consumption to once a week. This is because some Cheerios variants do contain corn syrup, which is not good for health. Many kinds of cereals, including Cheerios, also contain trace amounts of Glyphosate, which is a known carcinogen.
Let’s break down the nutritional value that Cheerios can offer.
#1. One cup of Cheerios (or 28 grams) without milk contains the following:
Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 20 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Sugar: 1 gram
Protein: 3 grams
Vitamin A, C, and D: 10% of the Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin B12: 25% DV
Calcium: 10% DV
Iron: 45% DV
Zinc: 25% DV
#2. The nutritional value of Cheerios increases when you consume it with a cup of milk, providing you with — 122 calories, 8 grams of protein, and an additional boost of calcium, fats, and vitamin D.
#3. Cheerios are mostly made of whole grains, which are rich in fiber. This can help lower cholesterol and minimize your risk of heart disease.