Weight watching

Mr. Tidbit doesn't ordinarily follow weight-control products, but suddenly several items from Weight Watchers, including Whole Grain Honey Nut Toasted Oats, popped up in the breakfast-cereal aisle, big as Life. (Actually, a little smaller than Life: Quaker's Life cereal is in a slightly bigger box. But never mind that now; it was just Mr. Tidbit's little joke.)

It's clear from the picture on the box (though you might not realize from its thudding name) that Weight Watchers Whole Grain Honey Nut Toasted Oats is almost identical to Honey Nut Cheerios. The toasted oats are in the form of little Os about the same size as Cheerios, and both packages tell us that there's real honey involved.

The 12.25-ounce box of Honey Nut Cheerios and the 12.3-ounce box of the Weight Watchers cereal contain (obviously) about the same amount of cereal, even though the Cheerios box says it's "about 12" ¾-cup servings (that would be 9 cups), and the Weight Watchers box says it's "about 12" 1-cup servings (that would be 12 cups). Mr. Tidbit's 4-cup measuring cup put the contents of both boxes at 10½ cups.

The nutrition analyses of the two cereals are very similar; the differences are probably attributable to the difference in the claimed serving size. So, presumably, the cereals are equally good choices for weight control.

Mr. Tidbit assumed that the Weight Watchers cachet would translate to costing more than the Cheerios. Surprisingly to Mr. Tidbit, at the store where he saw them, they were the same price. But …

Cheaper choice

Hmm. Do you want weight control and cost savings? Mr. Tidbit just noticed that the Weight Watchers cereal actually comes from Minnesota's own MOM Brands (which makes Malt-O-Meal and quite a few "compare to" varieties of cereal in bags). One of those cereals is Honey Nut Scooters, a Cheerios lookalike that turns out to be absolutely identical (even down to punctuation in ingredient lists) to the honey nut item that MOM packages under the Weight Watchers brand. It comes in a choice of big bags (two or three times the size of the Weight Watchers box), which cost less per ounce.

Al Sicherman