Thanks to General Mills for sponsoring this post.
As you may know, several months ago I was invited on an (expense paid) visit to the General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis. While I was there, I learned a lot about the company, the way Cheerios are made and some of the changes General Mills has been making to their cereals over the past several years, including removing high fructose corn syrup, reducing sugar, and most recently committing to remove artificial flavors and colors from all of their cereals.
In addition to those changes, we also learned a lot about the new processes they were developing to make several of Cheerios varieties gluten-free. Now here we are several months later and the process has been refined, tested and implemented! Five varieties of Cheerios (Original, Honey Nut, Apple Cinnamon, Frosted and Multigrain) are now officially gluten-free. Look for the new gluten-free label on the box!
When my friends at General Mills reached out to me to help them celebrate this exciting launch, I jumped at the chance.
Truth is, I’m a longtime Cheerios lover. My mom will tell you I pretty much lived on them for about 20 years. They were my favorite snack as a kid, my go-to breakfast in high school and hubby will gladly tell you how much money my dad threw away on a college meal plan since I pretty much ate nothing but Cheerios and blueberry bagels during my 4 years of college. And when I was pregnant and sick for several long months, Cheerios once again saved the day.
I was world’s pickiest eater for the first 25 years of my life and Cheerios have always been my go-to comfort food. Fun fact- even now, as a Registered Dietitian and semi-reformed picky eater, I still eat a bowl of Cheerios at least once a day!
Clearly eating Cheerios has always kinda been “my thing”. Recently, however, our house has gained another Cheerio lover.
Cheerios were one of the very first solid foods he tried. I actually learned during my visit that Cheerios are specially formulated to dissolve easily, making them a great first food for babies.
When he was about 6 months old, we developed a little morning routine – Cheerios for breakfast. Over the past several months this has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the day. Squish is generally super happy when he wakes up. I bring him downstairs and turn on Curious George while make my own breakfast (oatmeal or Cheerios) and brew my coffee. Then I head into the family room and we eat breakfast together.
When he first started eating solid foods, I put the Cheerios into his mouth. As he grew, I started letting him feed himself.
This is one of my favorite things about Cheerios. They’re a healthy snack AND they’re helping him with his hand-eye coordination. It’s been so fun to watch him go from barely being able to grab one with his fist to learning to quite proficiently pick them up one at a time with his thumb and index finger.
Cheerios have a permanent place in our diaper bag. They go with us to the park, to restaurants, to the gym…and they’ve saved the day on multiple occasions.
As an RD, I’m often asked about gluten-free foods. There are lots of food options out there that do not contain gluten, but due to the foods they’re processed with or the equipment they’re processed on, they cannot be certified gluten-free. Since Cheerios are made with oats, which are naturally gluten-free, the Cheerios you know and love aren’t changing! They’re just being made via a new process that allows stray wheat, rye and barley grains to be removed from the oats.The only flavor that was reformulated was Multigrain Cheerios and that involved replacing wheat and barley with gluten-free grains sorghum and millet. An added bonus? The price and availability shouldn’t change either!
I love that General mills is taking the necessary steps to allow some of their Cheerios varieties be available as a breakfast or snack option for more people, including the 30% of the population who follow a gluten-free diet.
What’s one of your favorite childhood foods that you still eat regularly today?