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Crazy for cereal

What’s one food that you can eat virtually anywhere, anytime, for any reason? That food is cereal. Whether I’m up bright and early at 7a..m., or it’s 2 a.m. and I’m hungry for a post-dinner snack, a bowl of cereal always makes the day better. Since starting high school, I have developed a newfound affection for cereal. However, in middle school, I always longed for the movie breakfasts: tables filled with pastries, fruits, parfaits, bacon, toast, etc. While I still heartily appreciate a full breakfast, cereal is a quick and easy fix in the mornings, especially perfect for when you wake up three minutes before your first Zoom class. With that in mind, I’ll be ranking and reviewing my five favorite cereals in the hopes of making your mornings (or nights!) a little more exciting.
Before we get into the rankings, however, I want to provide a small disclaimer: while a lot of people are more of the raisin-bran, whole wheat puff cereal-eaters, I have a cereal palette that involves the more (dare I say) “fun” cereals. These are not necessarily meant to be “healthy” alternatives for breakfast, just ones to look forward to. 

#5: Apple Jacks: 
Let’s talk Apple Jacks. I would personally say that these are better suited for mornings when you’re just starting your day. I love the crunch and the sweet coating of sugar that encapsulates each one, however, they are #5 because of how they work with milk. When left unattended for more than five minutes, this cereal collectively begins to sink into and absorb the milk, leaving its satisfyingly crunchy texture behind for a soggy, chewy texture. This is not the most pleasant, and also forces you to eat the cereal at a much faster, less leisurely pace than is enjoyable. So, if you’re looking for a quick sugar boost for a fast breakfast, Apple Jacks is your cereal. It is also great when eaten by itself, as showcased by “Boo” in Monsters Inc.  

#4: Cookie Crisps: 
Is it even a cereal? We’ll call it a hybrid. Cookie Crisps is the mini cookie-shaped cereal you see with the wolf on the front of the box. Why a wolf? I do not know. However, what I do know is that Cookie Crisps are delicious; while they don’t taste like “real” cookies per se, they are crunchy, sugary, and great with milk. Another cute plus is that it looks like you’re eating cookies and milk for breakfast! Like Apple Jacks, a plain bag of Cookie Crisps is also great to eat as a snack. However, I don’t consider this cereal a “staple,” or one that I would eat on a daily basis; this cereal is more reserved for special occasions, or if I want to mix it up a little bit.

#3: Lucky Charms: 
A childhood classic. We all know the green-clad leprechaun when we see it, right? Lucky Charms has been a constant cereal for most of my childhood and I, like I’m sure a lot of children have used to revel in hurriedly eating all of the wheat cereal first and save my marshmallows for the end, devouring one huge marshmallow mass. Another plus (or possibly a negative for some people) is that your milk will adopt a green-ish tint from the coloring of the marshmallows. Similar to the cereals above, I love Lucky Charms on their own and I’m sure some of you have seen me eating this trademark childhood cereal on the way to class or in the car. 

#2: Cocoa Pebbles: 
Not to be confused with Cocoa Krispies! Cocoa pebbles can make any day better; they are small pieces of flat, crispy rice cereal bits coated in chocolate powder. However, one time my family got Cocoa Krispies and, be warned, they are NOT the same despite the almost identical names. (Please do not mix them up, otherwise, you will be sorely let down when you pour yourself a bowl of Cocoa Krispies when expecting the far better Cocoa Pebbles). Cocoa Pebbles, unlike Cocoa Krispies, have a rich chocolate flavor that shines through and is complemented by the crunchy texture of all the collective rice cereal bits. It also turns your milk into chocolate milk, which makes drinking the remaining milk at the end much better for non-milk enthusiasts like me. I do not, however, recommend eating Cocoa Pebbles by themselves; this is one of the cereals where milk not only enhances the cereal-eating experience but is necessary given the small nature of the cereal, which makes it harder to eat alone. Also, like Apple Jacks, Cocoa Pebbles do not fare well in milk when left in for long periods, so enjoy them fast! 

#1: Honey Bunches of Oats: 
An absolute must-have. Honey Bunches of Oats is a cereal that has truly been there for me whatever time of day: in the slow mornings of the weekend, the early hours in class, or the late nights for dessert. Its perfect ratio of thin, crispy corn flakes to the bunches of oats to the slivers of almonds make it a delight. I would say I frequent this cereal most often, and a nice bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats makes for a reliable and delicious bowl of cereal. I also consider this cereal to be “healthy” because of its ingredients of oats, honey, and almonds, however, Honey Bunches of Oats still has its fair share of added sugar. 

All of the aforementioned cereals are ones that I look forward to eating, and are great to eat no matter the time, place, or situation. Some extras that I did not have room for but still highly recommend include Mini-Wheats, Reese’s Puffs, Pops, Frosted Flakes, and Captain Crunch. If, by chance, your morning, afternoon, or night routines have turned into a monotonous blur from being at home so often because of the pandemic, consider adding in a new cereal to brighten it up. Do a cereal taste-test, and find the cereals that inspire you to wake up in the mornings or bring you comfort in the evening.

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