Natalie and I just returned from Minneapolis, where we visited the General Mills Headquarters. For complete transparency, General Mills has a blogger outreach program where they like to invite bloggers to learn about their products, their development plans, and their corporate plans for sustainability. The travel for these type of brand trips are generally paid for by the brand, although we aren’t compensated for our time, nor are we promised sponsored posts for the future.
An interesting thing happens whenever we decide to mention Cheerios in a social media post. We get messages from people with concerns about us promoting cereal as part of a healthy diet. We are very concerned about the heath of your kids and are so grateful that you are too! We definitely aren’t looking to make cereal a central part of your families eating plan and would never think of telling you that your standards for a healthy diet are wrong.
However, we do strive to share healthier solutions for families that choose to include cereal in their meals and recipes. We definitely look at peer reviewed research in the process to help us make informed decisions and do not believe scare tactics are effective in making food decisions.
The visit to Minneapolis
So, first, a bit about our trip! One of our favorite reasons to accept a brand trip is to meet the amazing bloggers that we may have only communicated with online. From left to right, we met Amy from Mom Spark, Laura from Momables, Marcie from Obviously Marvelous, the Cheerios bee guy, me, Natalie, Taylor from Food, Faith and Fitness, Kristen from Capturing Joy, The Lucky Charms guy, Sally from Real Mom Nutrition, Carrin from the Simple Moms, Karen from Baby sideburns, Amanda from Dude Mom, Sarah from Sarah Fit, and Amy from Living Locurto.
And lots of chatting over food and drinks!
We also had fun creating new recipes using cereal! Natalie and I made a pumpkin cheesecake that turned out fabulous!
Are Cheerios bad for Kids?
So, what about those pesky Cheerios! We aren’t obligated in any way to share our opinion about Cheerios, but we do like to be authentic on the blog and like to share what works for us and what we feed our kids. And we do let them eat Cheerios. Here are the reasons we are OK with that choice.
- Cheerios are very low in sugar! Probably the lowest in sugar of any cereal I can think of. With only 1 gram of sugar per cup!
- Cheerios are non-GMO. Despite many arguments to the contrary, Cheerios is non-GMO. Other General Mills cereal in their portfolio can not make the same claim. But Cheerios can!
- Cheerios are made with oats, not wheat, making them whole grain and gluten free.
- The oats grown and selected by General Mills are grown to maximize nutrients and sustainability.
- They include fiber! Yes, it’s only 1 gram of soluble fiber per serving, but it’s because they are made from whole oats.
- They are fortified with iron. We live in an amazing age where we can fortify our foods with essential nutrients that may be difficult to get, like Iron!
- The glyphosate argument. This was a new one for us, and our instagram feed had many concerning questions about the levels of glyphosates in Cheerios. The official response from General Mills was:
We take a holistic approach to sustainable agriculture that includes reducing environmental impacts and strengthening our agricultural supply chain. Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels. The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow as do farmers who grow crops including wheat and oats. We continue to work closely with farmers, our suppliers and conservation organizations to ensure the appropriate, minimized use of pesticides on the crops and ingredients we use in our foods.
The official response from us is that, even in the presence of glyphosates, the levels are still in acceptable amounts. We also did research on the carcinogenic effect of glyphosates and found the latest research (as recently as 2016 has determined glyphosates to be “Not likely carcinogenic to humans” (footnote and full info below)
So, while we aren’t trying to get everyone on board with eating Cheerios for breakfast, we do feel like it’s a great option for our own kids, and can be a great way to get whole grains in during the day. Also, if you want to try to make your OWN Cheerios, check out the recipe by Kath Eats here!