Product Review: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s

Trader Joe's Pumpkin O's
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s

Product: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s – $2.49

You know, there is something that is so comforting about cereal.  I grew up eating cereal as a child…and not just the frosted sugary type either.  I was a huge fan of Cheerios and Corn Flakes and even Wheat, Corn, and Rice Chex.  I loved it all.

As I’ve gotten older, cereal has remained a staple in my morning routine.  It’s easy for me to eat a bowl and then get ready for a run…and have the energy to get through it.  Some people run on empty stomachs in the morning, but my sports nutritionist and my own foray into the nutrition field, both have shown me why this is not such a good idea.  As my sports nutritionist said…even if it’s just a handful of cereal or nuts or toast…eat something before you head out.

Not a problem with me, because I LOVE breakfast.  And one of my greatest breakfast loves is…as I mentioned above…cereal.  I had recently stopped eating cereal, subbing in some fruit and yogurt instead.  But…when something so unique comes along that you simply must have it…cereal is back in the bowl in the morning.  And now part of me wonders why I stopped eating it in the first place.

The cereal that changed my entire morning routine back to the way it was happens to be a product of Trader Joe’s.  Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s.  Yes…Pumpkin O’s.  As in a Cheerio-like cereal flavored with mega pumpkin flavor.  Oh, and they are about the size of Froot Loops (or the size Froot Loops used to be when they made them right…like…when I was a kid and all).

So, like most great food stories, this one all started at the grocery store.  I had only a small list of items to buy at Trader Joe’s.  But the moment I walked in the door, I saw the big display of all the seasonal pumpkin everything everywhere stuff.  I noted the cereal and let out a small sigh.  Pumpkin cereal.  Pumpkin O’s to be exact.  Oh, to not be Celiac.

But then, Cathy (the roomie) spotted the print in the corner.  Low Fat.  Vegn.  Gluten Free.

It was as though the pumpkin gods were smiling down upon me that day.  Whatever I did right that day, thank you great cereal gods for watching out for my particular cereal wants/needs.  Happy dance.  Happy dance all the way up and down the aisles.  Seriously…there was no stopping me.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s are “round like pumpkins rounder, actually) and fun like jack o’lantenrs (maybe more fun, since you can eat them)” and are the sibling cereal to the Original Joe’s O’s.  The box claims that the pumpkin wizards created this cereal with a stroke of their pumpkin-shaped wands, which are difficult and challenging to control) so this particular flavor of cereal will only be around for pumpkin season.  So, if you’re a pumpkin nut-case like me…you best get to Trader Joe’s.

This morning, with my Dole pineapple (also purchased at Trader Joe’s) gone…this was my breakfast of choice before hitting the gym.  I measured out a serving, loving the size of the little round o’s.  I snagged a few to taste dry from my bowl and crunched on them while I went to retrieve the unsweetened cashew milk.  Into the bowl it went, giving the cereal a little lift.

In went the spoon.  Spoon went to mouth.  Down the hatch.

And holy Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!  This cereal is amazing. If you’re a pumpkin lover like me, you’ll love this.  Here’s why.  This cereal is LOADED with pumpkin flavor.  No skimping on that.  No way.  It’s crunchy, even in the cashew milk.  And it tastes amazing.  I was tempted to pour myself another bowl, but I opted to behave and stick to the serving recommendation.  I had coffee and the gym to tackle.  That being said, I sort of want to buy Trader Joe’s out of this cereal and just have it in my kitchen for all those mornings, not in pumpkin season, when I just want to have it be pumpkin season again.

I am beyond impressed.

Let’s discuss the ingredients in Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s.  This cereal is made from whole grain brown rice, cane sugar, whole grain oats, brown sugar, pumpkin, sea salt, natural flavor, calcium carbonate, sodium phosphate, cinnamon, annatto (color), mixed tocopherols (Vitamin E as an antioxidant for freshness).  It is gluten-free, vegan, low in fat, and contains 20 grams of whole grains per serving.  LOVE that.

As for nutritional facts, the Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s actually stack up to be a healthier breakfast cereal choice than most commercial cereals.  A serving is 1 cup (30 grams).  This serving will provide 110 calories, 1 gram fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium, 25 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 9 grams sugar, and 2 grams of protein.  It’s not going to fill you up, but it will get you through the morning.

Trader Joe’s did one better than most gluten-free cereals already out on the market.  Trader Joe’s latched onto the pumpkin flavor craze…and it paid off in spades.  If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, go there…and get a box as soon as you can.  The Pumpkin O’s will only be around for a limited time.

Time for me to restock…

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