Cereal shelf lifeIt’s difficult to avoid eating breakfast cereal in one form or another.  Kids devour the sweetened ones with relish.  Ultra-busy working folks gulp down cereal bars as they drive to work.  Older adults consume  oatmeal because its soluble fiber helps to reduce cholesterol. 

In addition, today, cereals are not just breakfast food.  Cereal boxes provide consumers with countless recipes for using cereal as an ingredient in appetizers, meatloaf (made with oatmeal), cookies, and, of course, the famous Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats (with marshmallows). 

Today there are hundreds of  dry cereal choices on the market, an entire aisle of them in supermarkets.  It’s hard to believe that this food didn’t exist until 1863 and didn’t  begin to catch on until the late 1800s, thanks to the inventions of the Kellogg brothers.  Initially, breakfast cereal was promoted as a health food for sickly adults.  Only after World War II did cereal advertising begin to target children.

Tips for Parents:

In the U.S., there’s widespread concern that highly sweetened cereals are contributing to the nation’s obesity problem.  Here  are two tips for weaning kids off these cereals:

1) Serve them a mixture of sweetened and unsweetened cereal and gradually cut  the proportion of the sweetened one.

2) Serve unsweetened cereal and let kids add the sugar themselves.  According to a Yale University study, they’ll add less   sugar than is in the sweetened cereals. There are 4.2 grams of sugar in a teaspoon. How many grams are in one serving of the sweetened cereal in your cabinet?

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Cereal Shelf Life
Cereal, Ready To Eat, unopened6-12 months
Cereal, Ready To Eat, opened2-3 months
Cereal, cooked (before preparation)6 months
Handling Tips: 
Refold package liner tightly after opening.
"Cupboard Storage Chart." K-State Research and Extension n. pag. Web. 23 Dec 2009. <http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/humannutrition/hrap/storage/cupstor.htm>.

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