September 29, 2013
Monster Cereals On the Attack
That’s right. It’s time for those Halloween-themed cereals from General Mills. Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute will rejoin Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry this year. For those who do not remember, or just do not know, Yummy Mummy is orange flavored, while Frute Brute combines fruity cereal with lime marshmallows. According to WYKC, this will be the first time all five Monster cereals will be available at the same time. Here is a brief historic timeline of the Monster cereals:
1971: Count Chocula and Franken Berry make their ways into our kitchens and bellies.
1973: Boo Berry hits the shelves.
1974: Frute Brute first howls into our bowls.
1982: Frute Brute leaves the shelves.
1987: Yummy Mummy replaces Frute Brute after five years of just Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry.
1990: Yummy Mummy is discontinued while the other three hold on strong.
Many mouths countrywide are thrilled to see the return of Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute. They look forward to allowing the taste to bring back fond childhood memories. For the real retro enthusiasts, Target will exclusively carry the retro boxes of each cereal. Not only can people enjoy the flavors, but also they can add the boxes to their collections. The General Mills blog explains that Frute Brute “is considered by many collectors to be the most sought-after vintage cereal box. (Likely because it was used by movie director Quentin Tarantino in both “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction.”) .”
However, not everyone is thrilled about the return of more fruity, high-sugar cereals. USA Today reports that many nutritionists are very concerned. “’Amidst Halloweens tsunami of junk foods, kids certainly shouldn’t be encouraged to consume even more sugar, refined flour and artificial colorings in the form of breakfast cereals,’ says Michael Jacobson, executive director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.”
General Mills did lower the sugar amounts from 15 grams per a serving to 9 grams about six years ago, but the products still have refined flour, so they lack fiber. And nine grams of sugar is still an awful lot. Not to mention the artificial dyes.
These cereals taste good because of all the sugar and empty calories, but the nutrition is lacking. In a country that shamefully boasts as the second fattest in the world (as the Huffington Post recently indentified), perhaps laying off the holiday-themed cereal would help. Halloween already carries with it trick or treating for candy, so it certainly does not need any more help in the area of treats, calories, and sugar.
I can see why nutritionists would be concerned about the Monster cereals, especially the revisit of Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute. As a general rule, most doctors and nutritionists advise their patients to avoid the cereals with cartoon characters. I tend to follow this myself. In fact, I simply do not eat cereal anymore because it lacks the nutrients I require.
I also get why people love these cereals. They are fun. They are reckless. They are bright and cute and sweet and tasty. Sometimes we just have to get our sweet on, right? I totally understand that. But I believe in the importance of health and eating right more. If we could just limit ourselves to one box of this fruity, marshmallowy goodness once a year, heck, why not indulge? The problem is that most people will overindulge, overeat, and not ingest the nutrients they need for good health in favor of the Monster cereals. Moreover, they will ingest lots of sugar, calories, and dyes.
I guess the moral here is to eat right, but treat ourselves occasionally. We do not need to rush out and buy five boxes of Monster cereals to eat all in one day. We need to be responsible eaters and consumers and be aware of what we put in our bodies. The more we know about our foods, the better choices we can make. As for me, I think I will stick with my gluten-free oatmeal or yogurt and berries. These also are sweet and tasty, only they are also full of good nutrients.
Image Credit: General Mills