The 10 Worst cold (and nutritious) breakfast cereals

I happen to be a big consumer of whole grain cereals, but not because of any dietary strategy or because I fear not getting enough fiber otherwise. I just love the taste of grains. Over the years I have purchased a heckuvalot of grain-laden -and subsequently nutritious- cereals. I have several favorites, including Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Wheat Chex and several brands of honey-rolled oat cereals. Some of these cereals I can happily eat more than once a day, they are just that delicious.

On the other hand, I have also encountered some cereals of the whole grain or multi-grain persuasion I have found simply unpalatable. Now I understand that these alleged foods might have an appeal to certain other folks - health food junkies and those looking desperately for a good poop or even those who just like torturing themselves first thing in the morning. But me, for whatever reason I may have for indulging in something nutritious or healthy it is going to have to taste good, too. Because I honestly believe we humans were created with taste buds and a desire for tasty for a reason.

So, if you happen to like grainy cereals but want to avoid eating something not worth the lint in your pocket, this list might be of service.

The 10 Worst cold and nutritious breakfast cereals from a consumer who likes the taste of whole grain foods - when they're done right, that is.

10. Post Bran Flakes

Now I'll give POST credit for one thing about this cereal, it smells good in the box. Once the bran flakes are drenched in milk, however, the smell fades. The flavor of Bran Flakes does not fade, however, because with milk they taste every bit as much like cardboard as the box they come in.

9. General Mills Fiber-One

I've learned one definite thing in my years as a grains connoisseur - if it looks like a twig, feels like a twig and smells like a twig it probably tastes like a twig. And Fiber-One certainly doesn't fail in this standard. Not to offend twig fans out there, but if this stuff came with leaves and bark it would be a great improvement.

8. Kellog's Special K

I had an aunt with diabetes who swore by Special K. So one morning while I was visiting I tried her Special K for breakfast. With the first bite I understood why my uncle had told me my aunt was an absolute bear in the mornings. This cereal is bland city and definitely not filling. I've never eaten Special K since. And since I've also never had occasion to hurl a porcelain bowl into a wall and then grab a jar of honey while growling at my family, I think I made the right decision.

7. Quaker LIFE

Yes, LIFE is the cereal made famous by "Mikey" who "hates everything". It was a brilliant commercial that people have loved for decades. But I can't understand how anyone would ever for a second love the cereal itself.Even though I've bought a box of this stuff for every one of my children to try, they've all came away from their bowl with the same disappointed look I got as a kid when I realized for the first time that by golly, you can't trust everything you see on television.

LIFE is not only bland, but it is hard. I find trying to eat these damned flakes is about as easy as chewing dried corn husks. Poor Mikey; I wonder if his folks ever broke down and got him that tongue transplant?

6. General Mills' Cheerios

If there was an award for World's Most Overrated cereal I think Cheerio's would win hands down. These circles of nutritious grain are not only tasteless but resistant to soaking up milk. Whatever secret additive they're using in this cereal might come in useful if NASA was looking for a way to defend the earth against a shower of milk meteors. Otherwise, this wondrous cereal technology holds no practical use in the world of eating. However, Cheerios can be used for other things: they can serve as butt cushions for small action figures or bagels for Barbie dolls or bracelets for wish trolls or life preservers for drowning gold fish. I've heard they can even be used as starter rings for earlobe gauging, although I'd recommend steel as the healthier choice.

5. Kashi's Heart to Heart

Kashi's Heart to Heart cereal is a lot like Cheerios except they're even more difficult to sink in milk. Unlike Cheerio's, they're also hard enough to break teeth. Kashi could make a fortune on this stuff if they just promoted it as a fisherman's aid as they make good sinkers. And for the fisherman looking for a winning catch, the old sock smell that comes off the Heart to Heart is attractive to catfish and other sewage-eaters.

4. General Mills' Total

Total is a great source of fiber and vitamins, and crushed and mixed with milk makes an excellent spackle. But if you aren't really into food that sits on your stomach like spackle then Total is a total waste of your consumer buck.

3. Kashi's 7 Whole-Grain Flakes

In a world full of bland flake cereals Kashi's 7 Whole Grain Flakes is KING. And they do saturate milk, though in the process the bland rubs off on every ounce of taste one might find in the milk. But given the high-profile back-to-nature advertising campaign Kashi has going on I suppose milk isn't very conductive to reaching that vegan audience they've targeted anyway. Nevertheless, I suspect the raunchy bland taste rubs off on soy milk, too. But if you're going to drink a liquid that smells like poop and makes you fart the rest of the day I suppose a bland flavor isn't going to be a biggie for you.

2. General Mills' Kix

Taglined by General Mills as, "Kid tested, mother approved", KIx cereal has been around for decades. Touted as wholesome, Kix is crunchy, low in sugar, has vitamins and iron and is devoid of all those nasty preservatives that help give those evil sugary cereals their expanded shelf life. And as other PC-applauded foods aimed at children it is utterly devoid of flavor.

As a mother of four children I wouldn't recommend feeding Kix to kids unless you truly hate children. And since I love mine I give them cereals they like, like Cocoa Pebbles and Sugar Smacks. I figure they have an entire day to burn off the sugar and to reach for an apple or orange for a "healthy" snack. So far they've not proved me wrong and since not a one of them are obese or have diabetes or other health problems I'm not about to let the Food Police discourage our family's eating habits.

On the other hand, Kix does have its uses. It can be used as cat box filler and for helping fill in gaps on your gravel driveway. They can be used as buckshot for elephant guns and used in home taxidermy as faux eyeballs for albino deer. Lastly, if you're an amateur director and want to make your own re-creation of Animal House, a few dozen boxes of Kix can be substituted for those hundreds of costly marbles you'll need for the parade scene.

1. Kashi 7 Whole-Grain Puffs

Just when I thought Kashi couldn't rank any higher on the BAD chart they surprised me again with their PUFFS line. Here, they have brought the classic tedium of puffed grain husks together with the aroma of old parchment and the tantalizing taste of nothing, all topped off with the enticing texture of gravel. Where Kashi 7 Whole Grain Flakes was the KING, their PUFFS are Emperor of yuck. Honestly, I can't fathom their secret for making such a tasteless product. The ingredients all come from real grains, stuff people have cultivated, prepared and eaten for centuries! But somehow, somehow Kashi has learned the secret to stealing away even the most negligible trace of edible flavor from these the grains. Eating these Puffs reminded me of eating bubble wrap, after the bubble wrap had been dipped into sawdust. Amazing, simply amazing.

A cereal my family would much rather eat - and one we know we'll survive if we do:

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Comments 17 comments

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

This is funny and I agree with you on most of them. I do like Cinnamon Life though.

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WangWendy 4 years ago

Great hub! I loved all your suggestions because I do not buy cereal very often and I really have no idea which cereals are the best so whenever I go to the grocery store to buy cereal I just pick out a random one and hope it tastes good. But if it doesn't then I'm stuck eating it for months and months. Now thanks to this hub I know which ones to avoid! I actually eat Cheerios often as a snack, but I don't put them in milk because they turn all soggy. I just eat them by themselves and they taste great!

I really enjoyed this hub, voted up!

bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee Author

Becky, thanks for dropping in to read and comment!

bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee Author

WangWendy, I'm glad it will be of use to you! But I'd love to know how you get Cheerios to soak up the milk. They really seemed immune to it when I've tried :(

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WangWendy 4 years ago

bethperry, I'm not really sure either! :)

SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago

I actually love Cheerios, but if you read the ingredients you'll find they aren't exactly sugar free. It's definitely misleading. Honey Bunches of Oats is much better, and way tastier! Thanks for the read bethperry!

bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee Author

Sandy, ooh I love Honey Bunches of Oats!

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Oatmeal is my standby cereal. I do still eat Cheerios on occasion.My wife prefers the sugar coated cereal.

bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee Author

dahoglund, you're a man after my own heart!! Love my oatmeal, and grits too!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

I like both Kellogg's and Post bran flakes. They take a lot of the fat out of your system on their way through -- something like 10% I believe. Special K isn't that bad either, although I've probably eaten it only 2 or 3 times in my life. My mother used to love grape nuts, but I hated it. Hurt my teeth. When my daughter was little, 3-4 yrs, she loved Cheerios and Kix. I even liked Cheerios when I was a kid.

I hate oatmeal and cream of wheat. My father used to make me sit at the table when I was a kid until I'd eaten my oatmeal. It was horrid and lumpy when it was warm, but cold it was nauseating, and I'd be retching even as I was eating it, but my father insisted I would eat it or else.

Interesting hub and perspective.

bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee Author

Au fait, ouch! That is bad. It sounds like you may be allergic to those things.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

Nope, just thought the warm cereals were disgusting and so they made me sick just thinking about eating them. My mother and my sibs all loved oatmeal and cream of wheat, I just didn't share that love. I know it's very healthful and maybe if I tried it today I would feel differently. (I do like oatmeal cookies, and oatmeal crumble on fruits, and I eat wheat products all the time with no problem.)

All I know for sure is that the best way to teach a child to hate a particular food is to force them to eat it when they don't like it. I used to insist my daughter taste new foods, but if she didn't like them I never made her eat them. Tastes change, so I would insist she try again every few months, but never required more than that if she didn't like it. A taste being a very small amount on a T-spoon. She could even spit it out if she wanted to. Today, she loves to try new foods, and I think the reason is that she was never forced to eat things she hated as a child. She knows if she doesn't like something, she can stop eating it at any time.

An interesting hub just the same. Interesting to read the views people have on the different cereals, and well presented!

bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee Author

Au fait, I see what you mean. And yeah, if I had someone standing over me forcing me to eat liver I'd probably hurl, too. Geesh, sorry that happened to you.

I also like your suggestion about introducing kids to foods they may not like. I got my youngest daughter to like creamed cooked spinach this way - and believe me, I LOATHE cooked spinach. But hey, I like mushrooms and she hates them, and that's cool by me :)

nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA

Great hub. I love reading your hubs. Don't know where you get your ideas from. You are very creative. We joke about Life. My husband likes it but it always tears up his digestive track. Not sure what they put in it to do that. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee Author

Nancynurse, thanks much :) Good luck to hubby on the digestive problem!

Wasteless Project profile image

Wasteless Project 3 years ago from Worldwide

Hello Bethperry, I loved your hub! I am a real muesli and cereal buff and just now happened to buy the untastiest malted whole wheat flakes ever... Your hub made me laugh so much - I can't tell you how much I appreciate using cheerios as barbie bagels or goldfish life preservers. You also might stuff a bean bag with those Kix;) Happy day to you!

bethperry profile image

bethperry 3 years ago from Tennesee Author

Wasteless Project, I'm glad you enjoyed it. And bean bag stuffers? Good idea!

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