The National Cereal Day website reports that “of more than 314 million people in the U.S., 49% start their day with a bowl of cereal.”
Cereal got its start in the 1800’s as a remedy of sorts, a ‘health food’. According to the National Cereal Day website (yes, there is a National Cereal Day website!), breakfast cereal was created in the 1800’s on the premise that the American diet was a poor one filled with too much protein (meat), caffeine and alcohol. Cereal was supposed to be the healthy ‘wonder food’ for the ailing. At the time, it wasn’t exactly pleasant to eat. It was difficult to swallow and digest. The bland tasting, dense bran nuggets needed to be soaked overnight just to make digestion a bit easier. How unappetizing does all of that sound?!
It wasn’t until around 1939 that cereal as a ‘health food’ began to change. Sugar and clever marketing sweetened up the cereal game in a massive way. Radio and TV ads advanced the popularity of cereal as well as the product packaging and variety.
Knowing what we know today, most cereals are the total opposite of healthy. They are usually loaded with sugar, refined/processed carbs and grains, and other unhealthy ingredients we can barely pronounce. Nutritionists would likely tell you to stay away from cereal all together, or at least make your own, with whole grains and natural sources of nutrients (seeds, fruit, nuts, etc.).
For some cool trivia on the beginnings of certain cereals such as grape nuts, granola and corn flakes, take a look at the National Cereal Day website, where you’ll also learn some bits about the Kellogg brothers, Charles William Post and Horatio Magellan Crunch.
Meanwhile, National Cereal Day has become quite popular on twitter today: