Thursday, December 8, 2011

Now With More Protein!

My kids' favorite cereal is Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries.  Hey, I'm a health-minded mom; I  make certain that they get a serving of fruit every morning.  Sure, Crunch Berries might not have the same anti-oxidant, cancer-fighting properties of acai berries.  (Amazonian natives don't get cancer, so it must be true!)  But I sure ain't gonna feed 'em the fruitless stuff.

They were rooting around in the pantry for their fix when they came across this old cereal container:

I tried to pass off the larvae* as a science experiment/proof of spontaneous generation/Christmas surprise, but my kids would have none of it.  I was tempted to call the Captain himself to complain about the inaccurate nutrition labelling, when my husband discovered another little squirmer in a half-opened box of Cinnamon Life.  Somehow finding one larva in your cereal is way more disturbing than finding a colony of them.

No doubt some of you are more disgusted that I let my kids eat sugary cereal than by the fact that my pantry is an insect zoo.  And indeed, you would be in the right.  There are no studies examining the larval content of sugary cereals, but there is a study showing that there is (brace yourself) sugar in sugary cereal. 

The Environmental Working Group released a report this week on the sugar content of 84 popular breakfast cereals.  Only one in four met the U.S. government's guideline of having less than 26% added sugar by weight.  The worst was Kellogg's Honey Smacks, followed closely by Post Golden Crisps (formerly known as Sugar Smacks; there used to be truth in advertising).  Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries came in 9th, with 42% added sugar.  A cup has 11 grams of sugar, which is less than a Twinkie but more than two Oreos.  You can imagine how upset I was when I read that.  I've since reformed my ways, and this is what I now serve my kids in the morning:

Chocolate's an anti-oxidant, isn't it?

*They weren't maggots; maggots eat meat, not fake berries.  I have no idea what these larvae would have metamorphed into.  (Any entomologists among my readers?)  We sprayed them with Raid, squished them, burned them, and scattered their ashes in a lovely forest glen.


  1. we now know what to serve for breakfast Sunday! Thanks Steph!

  2. Just found out from a (well-read) cardiologist friend that the larvae are probably the Indianmeal moth, which makes its home in cereal. Guess they didn't read the EWG report about sugar content...

  3. As we are vegetarian, I now have to set aside a good portion of our home made, no added sugar, muesli to see if I can repeat your findings.

    Are you going to let your larvae complete their life cycle?

  4. Ick, no way! The Crunch Berry larvae are gone, though we still have to go our pantry to see if anything else is infested.

    I don't think anyone else, insect or otherwise, eats muesli! ;)

  5. P.S. I realized I was probably being culturally insensitive -- revise that last statement to "I don't think anyone else IN AMERICA....eats muesli." (That's way too healthy for us Yanks.)