I was at a birthday party last week at a fancy bar/lounge. Someone was walking around taking official party pics, and she sent them to me yesterday. I was captured on film precisely once out of dozens of photos, and here it is to the right. I’m the one in the pink. (The other is Joe, mentioned in an earlier blog.)
Hey, what’s that in my hand? That’s right. Cake. It’s no surprise that’s how I was captured, since I was rarely without a giant plate of chocolate the entire night. God damn it, I love me some cake. To be fair, the cake was interspersed with the occasional bite of crab rangoon and glass of whiskey. Crab rangoon, whiskey, and cake is quite possibly the greatest combination of foods on the planet, but I digress.
I have a major sweet tooth. I eat a ton of cereal, because it’s sweet but still maintains that veneer of healthiness. I’m good, too — I stay away from the Lucky Charms and the Count Chocula in favor of Special K, oatmeal, shredded wheat, or my absolute favorite, Trader Joe’s Very Berry Crunch, which is about as close to crack in a bowl as a food item can legally get. I love cereal so much I once hijacked an article about pottery painting to focus on my weird obsession.
I know you’re wondering where I’m going with this. Nowhere. Sorry to ruin it for you, but it’s only fair you should know.
I was at the grocery store the other day shopping for a new cereal. Since I eat so much of it (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner…snack), I thought I should see which of the overwhelming number of brightly colored boxes contained the least amount of calories.
I checked out a favorite, Special K with some kind of yogurt-encrusted fruit things. Special K has a “weight loss challenge” that sounded promising, but being a true Skepchick, I ignored the marketing and zeroed in on the nutritional facts on the back. I was about to take a guess at remembering how many calories were inside, but I decided to do a quick fact check on Kellogg’s web site. If you click here you’ll see the informational page for that flavor. I clicked on “nutritional information,” and the photo to the left is what I got.
Luckily, I eventually figured out how to zoom in, and so I am reminded that there are 120 calories in 3/4 cup of cereal. Turns out, that’s a good deal more than the other Special K brands, which I guess is why the weight loss challenge is conspicuously absent from this particular flavour. Damn.
I checked a number of other cereals, and all hovered at about the same level. Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds was my next choice, with 126 calories per 3/4 cup. I went with that one, since I had never tried it before. The box says it is a “good source of whole grain!” According to the Kraft web site, it also has Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Zero trans fat, is cholesterol free, and provides 9 essential vitamins and minerals. Great!
As I made my way out of the aisle clutching my Honey Bunches of Oats, I noticed Cookie Crisp. Good old Cookie Crisp, with the cunning thief and his screw-up good-for-nothing dog. So many cereal ad campaigns rest on the common theme of someone trying and failing to steal the cereal. What’s up with that? Anyway, Cookie Crisp, a “cereal” based on a bowl full of tiny chocolate chip cookies. Nutritional facts? 120 calories in ONE whole cup. Game, set, match. While Googling for a Cookie Crisp nutritional data site just now, it is telling that the first page was almost all fan sites.
Nutritiondata.com allows you to check the facts and compare foods, so I tested Cookie Crisp against Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds. Here’s the side by side comparison. Cookie Crisp is listed as MORE nutritious, better for optimal health, and has a higher “completeness score,” whatever that is.
Okay, so maybe Cookie Crisp contains twice as much sugar as Honey Bunches of Oats. But really people, just because we’re good critical thinkers doesn’t mean we have to get so hung up on statistics, right? Right?
Excuse me, I’m off to enjoy a nice, healthy bowl of cookies.