Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Custom Choice Cereal

Until last week, I had been wishing and hoping that there was a make-your-own cereal company that offered a healthy, gluten free option. While I don't regularly eat cereal for breakfast I love it as a nighttime snack or when I'm traveling. The convenience and comfort in knowing there's a safe food option are unmatched. So, when I stumbled upon Custom Choice Cereal, I was beyond excited.

I was immediately impressed that they operate a completely gluten free facility. Some other cereal mix companies offer a gluten free variety but can't guarantee that there won't be cross-contamination. The enticing photos of the 3 bases upon which customers build their cereals look delicious and made me eager to create my mix.

Building my mix was really easy. In 3 quick steps, I had created my own Gluten-Free Grazer mix. Custom Choice offers 3 healthy cereal bases (cinnamon granola, corn flakes, and good morning flakes) and then you can add in dried fruit (apples, apricots, banana chips, blueberries, cherries, Goji berries, cranberries, strawberries, pears, pineapple, and raisins) and nuts (almonds, coconut, hazelnut, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts). The possibilities for a tasty creation are endless!

As I made my mix, 2 features really stood out to me. The first was the nutritional calculator on the right hand side that constantly updated the nutritional information of my mix as I added my fruits and nuts. This is extremely helpful for someone, like me, who is mindful of the healthfulness of their food. The second feature I loved was being able to scroll over pictures of each ingredient for its individual nutrition information. This can be extremely helpful if you watch your sugar intake, etc.

My mix contains: cinnamon granola base, strawberries, blueberries, banana chips, apricot, pecan, and almonds. I wanted a light and fruity granola and that is exactly what I got! Unlike store-bought granola packages, this is pretty low in calories and fat per serving (which is a nice 2/3c cup)! There's such a great variety of textures and tastes inside - I LOVE it. The granola is sweet and crunchy with tons of flavor and the fruits and nuts are generously and evenly mixed throughout the entire bag so there's no worry of being left with granola sans add-ins.

My mix arrived just 2 days after submitting my order online. Quite impressive!  There was also a handwritten note from one of the owners, Hajo. What a nice, personal touch! The bag has my MixID printed on it so that I could easily reorder in the future without having to "remake" my mix on the website.

The one thing that will influence whether or not I re-order is the cost of this great product. Having grown up eating gluten free, I'm not frequently shocked by a higher price tag for quality ingredients that taste good. I also frequent Whole Foods and believe that buying quality food contributes to my overall health. However, by the time my mix was completed, this was more than double what I pay for my very expensive bread. For a special treat or long trip, etc. I would definitely consider ordering simply because the nutrition stats for this granola can't be beat.

Overall this is a great product and Custom Choice is definitely worth trying for any cereal lover!

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