Puffed wheat cereal is sort of the Batman of cereals.
It doesn’t have any special powers, there is nothing way out of the ordinary about it, and there is no otherworldly backstory to enjoy. It’s really just a regular pantry food, wheat, that has this incredible secret double life.
All the major cereal brands have their own version of puffed wheat, and there is a good reason for that. It’s Batman. No, it is because it has both neutrality and yet a polarity at the same time. Wow, big words for cereal! I mean it is so simple that everyone likes it, but it comes in so many variations that cereal lovers are divided over which one is the best.
So, which cereal is the best? You decide and let us know in the reviews below.
Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Breakfast Cereal
Possibly the powerhouse of puffed wheat. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks has become the iconic puffed wheat cereal.
And, you could say it is a very contemporary trailblazing cereal having transformed how it identifies. This cereal has been around for nearly a century. Originally known as Sugar Smacks, the cereal claimed a new identity in the 1980s as Honey Smacks. In the 1990s, Kellogg’s dropped the Honey but brought it back in 2004. The cereal itself has not changed.
It’s not a pure puffed wheat cereal, as it has many additional ingredients, including added sugar and other sweetenings, added salt, flavoring, coloring, and palm oil. All of which give it a complex carbohydrate profile. Though high in sugar, it is very low in protein and fiber. Thus, not exactly a healthy cereal.
Nevertheless, it’s a quality snack, and eating a bowl any time of the day is as American as a snack can be.
Malt-O-Meal Golden Puffs® Sweetened Puffed Wheat Kids Cereal
This is the middle ground breakfast cereal between the puffed wheat giants. Or at least that has always been its common reputation. Malt-O-Meal Golden Puffs has an ingredient list closer to Post’s version, but a nutritional profile and taste more like that of the Kellogg’s variety.
Malt-O-Meal has been around for over 100 years, and this breakfast cereal was launched in 1980 (alongside CNN, the Rubic’s Cube, and Post It notes. Who won that competition?). Staying with the caramel taste, Golden Puffs was a cheaper option than the big brand cereal varieties. Its taste of sugar falls between both Honey Smacks and Golden Crisps.
But, here’s the big secret. Malt-O-Meal is one of the top departments owned by Post. So this is a double attack against the frog!
This breakfast cereal has always been seen as the generic option, simply because it comes in a bag instead of a box, and Malt-O-Meal doesn’t really create cereals but clones them. But, honestly, it has held its own for decades against the puffed wheat giants and continues to. Third place is still a medal after all. Or is it third place?
Arrowhead Mills Puffed Wheat Cereal
Though Arrowhead Mills’ breakfast cereal is the newest kid on the puffed wheat block, it’s their delivery that’s different. Arrowhead Mills markets its breakfast cereal as a modern version of an ancient food:
“Wheat, the “Miller’s Choice”. A true American grain staple, wheat has always been the grain of choice. Thought to originate from the middle-east and dating back to pre-historic days, wheat has a wonderful protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrate profile.”
Arrowhead Mills’ breakfast cereal is a pure version of puffed wheat. This cereal has one ingredient, puffed whole grain wheat, and is a favored puffed wheat choice by those on a gluten-free and diabetic diet. In addition, as Arrowhead Mills is void of other ingredients, it is a healthy choice as well as a Kosher choice.
Arrowhead Mills is known as a family of foods that are based upon being natural and organic. They offer a variety of their own versions of corn flakes, puffed rice cereal, whole wheat, and other grains to increase fiber, protein, and the overall nutrition of the product.
Post Golden Crisp Puffed Wheat Cereal
Ah, Team Sugar Bear vs Team Dig’em Frog.
In the puffed wheat breakfast cereal world, it comes down to the big 2. Cereal lovers either eat Golden Crisp or Honey Smacks (Do you dare to eat both?)
Unlike the ‘other’ puffed cereal, Golden Crisp has never gone through an identity crisis. The Sugar Bear has changed shirts a few times, but that’s about it. No huge wardrobe and style changes like what Dig’em Frog’s mid-life crisis took him through.
Post has kept Golden Crisp very stable through the decades. It’s a less sugary cereal with an ingredient list you can count on your fingers. Though still not a pure puffed wheat option like Arrowhead Mills either.
Post markets Golden Crisp as The Original because it actually is the first puffed wheat cereal in the US, having been launched in the late 1940s. In fact, the very original version of puffed wheat was launched by the Quaker Oats company at the 1904 World’s Fair as a cereal version of the loved American popcorn snack, Cracker Jacks. But, it didn’t last.
Post decided to add it to their family of cereals, re-invented it with a new delivery (Sugar Bear), and brought it back in 1948. It’s a sweetened puff cereal, but would be more categorized as a candy-coated cereal, which is why it has the best crunch in the puffed wheat breakfast cereal race.
Is puffed wheat cereal healthy?
The nutritional value of any cereal, or healthiness of any cereal, is a collective result of all of the cereal’s ingredients. If a puffed wheat cereal is made without any additional ingredients, it’s naturally low in calories, fat-free, and would be a healthier cereal choice. Once other ingredients are added, especially sugar and artificial flavors, it becomes much less healthy.
What is the nutritional value of puffed wheat cereal?
The nutritional value of 15 grams of puffed wheat cereal, when no other ingredients are added to the cereal is per serving:
- Calories – 55
- Fat – 0.4
- Total carbohydrates – 12.2 grams
- Total sugars – 0.3 grams
- Dietary fiber – 1.2 grams
- Protein – 1.7 grams
However, added ingredients, like sugar, adjust this drastically.
Is puffed wheat cereal good for diabetics?
Generally speaking, puffed wheat is a good cereal choice for most people who suffer from diabetes. When puffed wheat is made without any added ingredients, it is fat-free, low in calories, and essentially sugar-free as well. All good things for a diabetic diet. It is low in fiber, but not so low to be considered free of fiber.
How many calories are in puffed wheat cereal?
The calorie count of any food is a result of two factors:
- What ingredients the food is made from
- The serving size you create
In this case, for puffed wheat, when no other ingredients are added and for a serving size of 15 grams, there are 55 calories per serving.
How is puffed wheat cereal made?
The most exciting part about puffed wheat is how it is made. It is actually very simple and uses basic cooking techniques. The resulting food product is so different from the original, it’s amazing. Manufacturers cook whole grain wheat in a pressure cooker with steam. When the cooker is opened, BOOM, the wheat explodes into puffed wheat.
Is Post Golden Crisp the same as Kellogg’s Honey Smacks?
Ah, trying to use us to start a war, LOL! Are Pepsi and Coke the same? These cereals differ in:
- Sturdiness to milk
- Degrees of sweetness
- How they flavor the milk
- One is a Kellogg’s product and one is a Post product
- One is a frog and the other is a bear
So, what do you think?
Puffed whole grain wheat is an essential and fundamental player in the breakfast cereal market. It holds up rather well to milk. It’s a cheap and abundant ingredient to work with. And has a good taste regardless of whether it is pure like Arrowhead Mills or in the sugary versions of Kelloggs, Post, and Malt-O-Meal.
Whole grain is not fun, but to get your family to enjoy and eat whole grain can be thanks to these breakfast cereal options. With that said, we aren’t really eating those for the whole grain, are we? It’s all in the delivery.
So, where do you stand? With Team Sugar Bear, Team Dig’em Frog, or are you crazy enough to go it alone and create your own team? If so, we dare you to tell us about it.