Rachael also contributed to this post.
Your mother may have told you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. The science behind that statement remains in flux, with some studies suggesting that skipping breakfast has no impact on diet but may impact heart health. We tend to be part of the crowd who thinks that breakfast is generally a positive thing.
We’ve written extensively about breakfast foods over the years, from the premade to the make-it-yourself. We’ve even written about cereal. However, up to this point, our breakfast coverage has been all about Aldi, since that makes up the majority of what we write about. We do occasionally write about Aldi’s distant cousin, Trader Joe’s, though, and we decided to take several of TJ’s cereals for a spin.
Trader Joe’s Frosted Flakes
These were $1.99 at the time of writing. They’re an obvious imitation of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, and a pretty good one, too, as they do a solid job of capturing the Frosted Flakes taste. As you might expect, that comes at the price of sugar, as this cereal has 10 grams of sugar per serving and pretty good vitamins and minerals. It’s a product of Germany, and the box cautions that it contains wheat and may contain traces of milk and soy.
Trader Joe’s O’s
These were $1.99 at the time of writing. In addition to this classic variety, Trader Joe’s also offers Strawberry Yogurt O’s (see below), Hot Cocoa O’s, Multigrain O’s, Honey Nut O’s, and Organic High Fiber O’s. They are, as you would guess, an imitation of General Mills Cheerios.
Trader Joe’s O’s are surprisingly impressive. They have a really good taste and a nice texture; they’re better, in our view, than Aldi’s Toasted Oats and are one of the better generic imitations of Cheerios we’ve ever tried. In our view, they’re as good as — and, dare we say, possibly even a little better — than the name brand version. Better still, they have (like Cheerios) just one gram of sugar per serving, and have a decent assortment of vitamins and minerals.
Trader Joe’s Raisin Bran
Trader Joe’s Raisin Bran was $2.49 at the time of writing. Like the previous two cereals, it’s not hard to figure out what this is meant to imitate, as Kellogg’s Raisin Bran is a staple in most grocery stores. Our first impression of this cereal, admittedly, was not the best: the bran flakes felt a little bland and we weren’t sure the raisins made up for it. It grew on us, though, and we would say that we came to like it, although we don’t think it is quite as good as some other Trader Joe’s cereals. It contains a whopping 16 grams of sugar per serving, although it counterbalances that with a 8 grams of fiber. It’s a good source of several vitamins and minerals, too.
Fair warning: the box notes that the cereal is made on shared equipment with soy, and in a facility that processes peanuts and tree nuts.
Trader Joe’s Strawberry Yogurt O’s
This cereal was $2.99 for a 12-oz. box at the time of writing. Our family immediately loved this cereal, which features “a medley of yogurt-covered O’s cereal, yogurt chunks, & dried strawberries.” It’s a little skimpy on the yogurt chunks and dried strawberries, but our kids loved the sweet flavor and the crunch of the O’s.
At 8 grams of sugar per serving, it’s not exactly the lowest-sugar cereal out there, but it’s better than a lot of other sweetened cereal options. Also, its coloring comes from purple and black carrot concentrate. We liked this so much that we’ll be buying it again.
Barbara’s Cinnamon Puffins Cereal
This was $3.99 for an 18-oz. box at the time of writing. Puffins cereal also is available in Original and Peanut Butter flavors. The Cinnamon variety we tried has a strong cinnamon flavor, and what makes it unique is that you really taste the cinnamon rather than a lot of sugar mixed in with cinnamon.
At 5 grams of sugar per serving, this seems like a good option if you want cereal that has some sweetness and flavor without a lot of sugar. My kids, though, said this cereal was just okay and not great. I do think I’d like to try the Peanut Butter Puffins variety next.
Also, Barbara’s Puffins are not exclusive to Trader Joe’s. They can be purchased at regular grocery stores in my area, as well as at Target.
All of these cereals turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The Frosted Flakes were solid, the O’s were as good (and maybe a little better) than generic Cheerios, and the Raisin Bran grew on us over time. Our family really enjoyed the Strawberry Yogurt O’s, and the Cinnamon Puffins were decent.
Overall, all of these are solid cereals and worth a look.