It’s possible I’m addicted to Raisin Bran. A certainty, really, since I almost prefer it to brunch.
As an addict, I’ve tried my fair share of options, sorting out the very delicious from the truly terrible and the ones that’ll work in a pinch. But really, any raisin bran is better than no raisin bran.
And the results are:
Kellogg’s: The flakes are thin and pitiful. The raisins have so much sugar, they’re basically raisin candy. (And who wants raisin candy?) It’s too sweet for a hearty health cereal and not fun enough for a sugary cereal. Fail.
Post: This was my favorite in high school, and it’s solid option available almost everywhere. The raisins are yummy, and the flakes have some heft without tasting like cardboard.
365 organic: Whole Foods’ private label has the best flake hands down, hearty but tasty. At just the right level of sweetness, it feels satisfying yet virtuous. Win. The downside, of course, is that buying it requires a trip to Whole Foods. This inevitably means I’ll also pick up some extra brussels sprouts and Scrumpy’s hard cider and have an “ooh, I’ve been meaning to get ingredients for DIY Larabars” moment along with a “must to try on glitter Tom’s” moment, until the place has basically swallowed all my time and money. But cheese samples and raisin bran!
Honorable mention: Kashi Raisin Vineyard. Props for making my breakfast sound sun-dappled and vaguely alcoholic. Unfortunately, the raisins aren’t quite as plump as most other options. It turns out, fancy sun ripening might not be the way to go. But the flakes are an interesting blend of crunchy hippie grains that taste like actual food, instead of the raw harvest. Available at Target and worth a try, at least for dry snacking.
But all of this research is for naught without the right milk accompaniment. Milk can make or break the cereal.
Personally, I go for the one percent option. My stomach can’t handle the fatty deliciousness of 2% or whole milk, and I flat out refuse to buy skim milk. Milk needs fat. As my guru, Ron Swanson, likes to say: “There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk. Which is water that’s lying about being milk.”
Whether or not it’s any better for you, organic milk may taste creamier, and therefore better. Publix has a delicious organic option, but Whole Foods disappoints. Their plain old 365 milk tastes the same to me as the organic version, so go ahead and cheap out if those are your options.
The best option is from Working Cow Dairy. It’s also the most expensive, but you get to breakfast with the warm fuzzies of supporting local business and grass-fed, happy cows. It’s like you’ve already done your good deed for the day, all while eating breakfast. Throw in a cup of fair trade, shade grown coffee, and you’re basically the Dalai Lama. Go you.