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Taste test: four new healthy cereals

Every season, familiar cereals are nudged off the best seats on grocery store shelves so the newest offerings can be promoted. Often, the latest products are a more sugary version of popular brands. This month, we found four new cereals boasting healthy ingredients and asked our panelists to see how they stacked up. We tasted all the cereals dry.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductKellogg's Raisin Bran Omega-3 with Flaxseed Multi Grain Cheerios Dark Chocolate Crunch Fiber One

Protein with Maple Brown Sugar
Post Great Grains Digestive Blend Vanilla Graham

Judges had two issues with this cereal. First, they could not find any trace of the flaxseed promoted on the front of the box. Then, they said it didn't taste any different than regular Raisin Bran. "I like the taste of this and Raisin Bran, but I wouldn't pay more for this one," said one judge. "It's a little sweeter than regular Raisin Bran," said another panelist. "The raisins are sweet and the cereal looks healthy." The nutritionist on our tasting panel questioned whether she would buy cereal to get the necessary Omega-3 fatty acids.It didn't take long for judges to declare these Cheerios a winner. "The loops of dark chocolate, pale and medium brown colors with little crunchy clods of sugary chocolate make for a really nice flavor overall," said one panelist. "Kids would probably love this and parents would feel better serving this to kids than Count Chocula or Cocoa Puffs." Another said she would eat these Cheerios as a snack or on top of yogurt, rather than as a breakfast cereal. "I would go back for seconds," said another.Despite looking like rabbit pellets, this cereal had pretty good flavor and a nice, crunchy and appealing texture, judges said. The problem was the maple. Panelists said the maple flavor was overpowering and tasted artificial. "Even though protein is all the rage these days, I'm not sure I could sit down to a whole bowl of this," said one disappointed taster. "I would like it much better if the maple was more subtle."Judges decided this cereal was "great in theory," but not as tasty as they had hoped. "I don't taste any vanilla or graham," said one judge. "It looks like Total cereal with puffed rice and little bits of crunchy stuff," said another. A couple said it was just plain bland.

they buy?
One of the four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.One of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.97 for a 14.3-ounce box from Walmart.$2.50 for a 12.1-ounce box from Walmart.$2.50 for a 16.2-ounce box from Walmart.$3.49 for a 12.5-ounce box from Sweetbay.

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Kay Hodnett, personal chef; John Hehn, owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Laura Reiley, Times Food Critic.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving size1 cup3/4 cup1 cup1 cup
Fat/Fiber1.5g / 5g1.5g / 2g6g / 5g3g / 7g
Sugars/Sodium17g / 190mg9g / 125mg16g / 150mg8g / 125mg
Carbs/Protein44g / 4g23g / 2g40g / 6g41g / 6g

Taste test: four new healthy cereals 02/17/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 17, 2014 2:14pm]
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