Do We Really Need a Pop-Tarts Shrine?

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I’ve never understood the appeal of Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts. Even as a kid, I thought they were pretty awful. 

Read the label on a box of Pop-Tarts, and the mystery may be solved. Your basic Unfrosted Blueberry Pop-Tart weighs in at 210 calories, with 16 g sugar, 2 g saturated fat and less than 1 g fiber. The main ingredient is enriched flour, which sounds reasonable enough. But the next two ingredients are corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, followed by dextrose, soybean and palm oil, cracker meal, wheat starch, salt, dried blueberries, dried grapes, dried apples, leavening, citric acid, cornstarch, modified wheat starch, soy lecithin, natural and artificial blueberry flavor, xanthan gum, caramel color, red #40, vitamin a palmitate, niacinamide, reduced iron, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), blue #1, blue #2, riboflavin (vitamin b2), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin b1) and folic acid.

In a sure sign of consumerism run amok, fans can now enjoy Pop-Tart “sushi” and other weird concoctions at the new 3,200-sq.-ft. flagship Pop-Tart Store and Cafe in New York City’s Times Square. I won’t even bother figuring out the nutritional content and calorie count of the well-publicized Fluffer Butter: marshmallow fluff sandwiched between two Pop-Tarts. It’s also unclear to me why people would pay $12 to assemble a custom Pop-Tart dozen. They can buy two eight-packs for half the price at a local grocery store.

Several natural-food companies have produced organic toaster pastries modeled after Pop-Tarts. But a Nature’s Path Unfrosted Blueberry Toaster Pastry, also 210 calories, contains 18 g sugar (more than a Kellogg’s Pop-Tart), 2 g saturated fat (the same as a Pop-Tart) and only 1 g fiber. The ingredient list: organic wheat flour, organic evaporated cane juice, organic evaporated cane juice invert, organic palm oil, organic apples, organic whole wheat flour, organic corn starch, organic vital wheat gluten, organic dextrose, organic blueberries, organic blueberry flavor, organic rice starch, sea salt, leavenings (baking soda, cream of tartar), organic rice bran extract, organic honey, organic molasses, citric acid, organic vanilla flavor.


Amy’s makes 99% organic, 160-calorie apple and strawberry Toaster Pops, which respectively contain 10 g and 11 g sugar, 2 g fiber and no saturated fat. The ingredient list (apple): organic unbleached wheat flour with organic wheat germ and organic wheat bran, organic apples, filtered water, organic evaporated cane juice, organic sunflower seed meal, organic apple juice concentrate, organic high oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil, organic cornstarch, sea salt, yeast, spices.

Ultimately, a healthful breakfast should include a low-fat protein and high-fiber whole grain. Traditional children’s cereals are a joke, so shop for a low-sugar, organic, whole-grain alternative. Check out this basic recipe for Cracked Wheat Cereal, or treat yourself to a Southwestern Scramble and Pumpkin-Maple Oatmeal.

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