From cereal to oatmeal (and never looking back)

by Steve
(Tucson, AZ, USA)

Quaker Oatmeal Dude

Quaker Oatmeal Dude

I'm a lifelong cereal addict. When I was growing up, cereal was considered healthy.

  • Sugar Frosted Flakes

  • Count Chocula

  • Froot Loops

Healthy? It seems to me that if you have to re-spell "Fruit," presumably so you don't get sued by real fruit for impersonation, health is not what's going on when you eat this stuff.

Then I grew up and left behind cereals with Sugar in their title, but I didn't leave cereal behind. I kept eating it. Cereal, I believed, was what people ate for breakfast...unless you could get your mom to cook for you. And my mom was a few thousand miles away.

Then I started paying a little more attention to this notion of "health." (I'm afraid this happened rather recently.)

I started paying a little more attention to this notion of "price" too. Cereal had started to go for about the same price as sirloin.

I started looking at nutrition labels. And you know what? Even though sugar wasn't appearing in the name of the cereal, it sure as heck was appearing in the ingredient list. Very close to the top! No wonder this stuff tasted so good!

I started looking into "healthier" cereals. Some of them didn't even have sugar on their ingredient lists. But they did have stuff like "evaporated cane juice." And they tasted sweet. Hmmm...

Do you think evaporated cane juice might be sugar? The numbers on the nutrition label certainly suggested that was the case.

I decided processed cereal should probably start going on my own endangered species list. But what to replace it with?

One day, at the grocery store, I bought some oatmeal instead of the usual cereals. Red, white and blue canister. That guy with the funny outfit.

I brought it home. I cooked it up. Something was definitely missing.

You know what that something was, don't you? It was sugar.

Well, I bought this stuff to get away from the sugar. I started trying additives.

  • Syrup

  • Maple syrup

  • Agave juice

  • Grape jelly

Of course, what did these things have in common? Sugar, not in a white, powdered form, but just as concentrated. Similarly glycemic.

So you know what I did? I went back to cereal. I looked for the least sweetened kinds I could find. Some of them tasted like rocks. Some of them tasted like cardboard.

Mmm. I sliced bananas every morning to put on top and mask the lack of flavor.

Then it happened. One morning, my last banana had gone soft and mushy.

I hate gross bananas. The texture makes me want to throw...

...them out. (What did you think I was going to say?)

But then, I had a brainstorm.

You know, my favorite ice cream is banana ice cream. With chocolate chips. Do you know how they make banana ice cream?

With bananas. Very ripe bananas.

Hmm. I wondered if maybe I mushed my mushy bananas into my mushy oatmeal, would it be possible I'd like it??? After all, mushy bananas are the best ones to cook with, the sweetest, the ones that taste best in banana cream pie...

So I did it.

The rest is history. I pretty much eat banana oatmeal every morning of my life now...and I never get tired of it. Sometimes I add raisins (they look like chocolate chips), sometimes I add ginger (weird, I know, but try it!), sometimes I add dried cranberries. Always I love it.

It's mushy - like pie filling, like the most decadent dessert. It's sweet - like, well, the most decadent dessert! And yet there's no added sugar! Or fat!

That's the other thing about oatmeal. What kind of magic did nature work to give it this wonderfully fatty texture...and it actually lowers your cholesterol.

Unreal. And because it's not processed, because it just basically falls off the oat tree (or whatever the heck it grows on) and lands in the weird looking guy's canister, it's cheap. Cost-wise, it's a fraction of the cost of processed cereal. (Even less if you buy from the bulk section.)

Sure, you don't get the great cartoon characters, or the hidden toys, or the sports stars, and you have to spend a couple minutes actually making it, but it tastes better, it feels healthier...and you stop worrying about your bananas going bad!

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Mar 08, 2008
by: Kathy

Thanks for the tip! I'm going to try this. With two young boys who can eat a whole box of cereal in a sitting, I know about the price! And the sugar...


Mar 04, 2008
by: Suzette Kroll-Barancik, RD

What a great story with a very happy ending!

Your yummy breakfast sounds like it would hit the spot ANY time of day! For someone with a sweet tooth, this sounds like a good idea for an afternoon snack or evening treat.

Ever tried adding seasonings like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, etc? I bet those would make your concoction taste even more like a dessert!

Thanks for sharing your fabulous story and with a great sense of humor! You actually made me crave oatmeal, so I'm off to prepare a bowl for myself right now....

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