Last week, I ate a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. You know Cocoa Puffs: they’re arguably the gold standard for chocolate cereal, at least in the United States. This was my first bowl from the first box of Cocoa Puffs I’d had in a while, at least a year.
But the cereal just didn’t taste as good as I remember. The chocolate flavor was underwhelming, and almost dirty tasting. The best part, as some have claimed, was indeed the chocolate milk left at the end of the bowl. It was almost as though the cereal was created to make the milk chocolatey, while the cereal itself was an afterthought.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a BAD cereal. It’s just that I’ve recently been eating a lot of another chocolate cereal that, to my taste buds, brings a chocolate flavor superior to Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Krispies, Chocolate Cheerios, and every other chocolate cereal I’ve tried to date.
Meet Kellogg’s Chocolate Frosted Mini Wheats Little Bites.
I haven’t seen chocolate regular Frosted Mini Wheats, only the Little Bites, which appear to be geared toward little kids (the recent Paw Patrol promo on the front of the box clued me in). But these are entirely too good to be wasted only on the young.
The chocolate flavor is rich and totally permeates each wheat briquette, but weirdly, it doesn’t really make its milk very chocolatey. The chocolate stays with the cereal, which is as it should be, in my humble opinion. If I want chocolate milk, I’ll buy or make chocolate milk myself. When I want chocolate cereal, well, I think you get it.
Now, I recognize nobody eats chocolate kids cereal with nutrition in mind, but I did want to see how some of the stats compare between these two choco-titans, particularly the sugar content. Keep in mind, each Little Bite has a sugar-frosted surface, and Cocoa Puffs have no such embellishments. As you can see on the box image above, each 1 cup serving of Little Bites packs 12g of sugar (admittedly in the upper half of children’s cereals I know of). Cocoa Puffs sugar content has changed a bit over the last few years, with boxes advertising 12, 10, and 9 grams of sugar per serving. I bought my Cocoa Puffs as part of a Costco twin pack with a big bag of Golden Grahams, and THAT box says 9 grams per serving.
But wait, THAT box describes a serving as 3/4 cup. Sneaky! Luckily I know a little basic algebra from my elementary school days, and I can calculate that a full cup of Puffs, then, would contain the same 12 grams of sugar as the Little Bites. Puffs do, however, have about 75 fewer calories per serving and less sodium, for what that’s worth. (You’re obviously getting more fiber from the Mini Wheats)
I only bring up the sugar to highlight the sweetness/flavor discrepancy here. Remember how I mentioned that my first bowl of Puffs after a Puffs hiatus tasted kind of dirty? It just didn’t bring the sweetness, or rather it dumped whatever sweetness it might have had into the milk, apparently. The Little Bites, especially when eaten properly, light up the pleasure centers of my brain like a Christmas tree.
What do I mean by “eaten properly?” Well, like any pastry or sweet treat that has a frosting or icing on it, you simply must eat it upside-down, so that the sweet topping is the first thing to hit your tongue. Try it with a Mini Wheat in particular to experience the difference: If you eat a Mini Wheat with the frosting toward the roof of your mouth, there might as well not be any sugar in the cereal at all. All you taste is the wheat. And that’s fine, but if you’re eating the sugar, you might as well taste it, right? So flip it upside down, let the frosted bit roll across the tip and middle of your tongue on the way to the molars, and experience the sweetness. This method also especially applies to Pop Tarts, in my experience.
So in summation, when you absolutely must reach for chocolatey cereal marketed to little kids, reach for the best. And don’t let the Paw Patrol ad on the front of the box dissuade you. You’re a grown-up, you can eat whatever you damn well please!