Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cereal Bars May Be a Time-Saver, but They're No Treat When It Comes to Taste; GIVE ME BACK BACK MY BOWL

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cereal Bars May Be a Time-Saver, but They're No Treat When It Comes to Taste; GIVE ME BACK BACK MY BOWL

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Macdonald, Times-Union food editor

What's the hurry?

Are we so frantic in the morning that we don't even have time for a bowl of cereal?

That's what the cereal companies found, and that's why they have introduced the cereal bar. Packaged like a granola bar, its aim is to offer the same sort of nutrition and flavor you'd get from a bowl of cereal and milk -- without the bowl and the milk.

The leader in the field is General Mills, which launched its Milk 'n Cereal bars two years ago with Honey Nut Cheerios, Chex and Cinnamon Toast Crunch flavors. This summer, Cocoa Puffs flavor was introduced. These bars have a milk product sandwiched between two halves of the cereal.

Kellogg's has two varieties of Special K bars -- strawberry and blueberry -- that are topped with "a drizzle of lightly-sweetened yogurt flavored topping" according to the box. Also on the breakfast aisle are the famous Rice Krispy Treats, which come in original, Chocolatey Peanut Butter and Double Chocolatey Chunk.

These bars may offer convenience, but they aren't much for taste or nutrition.

"These are more of a sugary snack than a healthful breakfast meal," said Jan Keller, a dietitian with the Washington-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a health watchdog group.

"If you are on the go, I would recommend a bagel and a piece of fruit, something like that," she added.

Another suggestion is to put granola in a resealable bag. The oats help lower cholesterol and provide fiber that is all but non-existent in the cereal bars, she said.

Keller did applaud the manufacturers for adding calcium to the product and said these bars are much lower in fat than a toaster pastry.

Kevin O'Keefe, marketing manager for Milk 'n Cereal bars at General Mills, wouldn't call his product breakfast candy but admitted the bars are often served as an afternoon snack. …

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