The term “cinnamon cereal” is a broad category of breakfast foods that are flavored with or otherwise designed to taste like cinnamon. Cinnamon is a spice that carries both health benefits and sweet flavor. Some cinnamon cereals are designed to be health foods, while others are much more sugary. The vast majority are designed to be eaten cold, usually with milk, and the cinnamon in these sorts of products is usually baked into the individual cereal pieces. Hot preparations are more likely to contain the spice in its loose powder form.
Cold cinnamon cereal is usually the most common. This kind of product is usually designed for breakfast, but is packaged in such a way that is could also be eaten as a snack. It is usually at least a bit sweet, and typically takes the form of numerous particles or shapes. Some come in flake form. Others are more intentionally shaped, often in puffs, in rectangles, or in more molded forms like hearts or rings.
Cereal can be made from nearly any grain, though wheat is usually the most popular. Oats and corn are sometimes also used. Cinnamon’s sweet taste makes it a popular option for children, and can be a good way to get kids to eat whole grains. Kids’ cereal is often rather sweet and tends to come in fanciful shapes with colorful boxes and attractive package advertising.
Cinnamon cereal products are also commonly marketed to adults. In an adult cereal, cinnamon is usually included more as a means of improving the healthfulness of a product than augmenting its taste. The sweetness of cinnamon is no less popular amongst adults than children, but manufacturers often try to appeal to adult sensibilities regarding healthfulness and dietary improvement. Adding cinnamon to a cereal can be a way of making it more attractive to both taste and health conscious consumers.
The bark of the cinnamon tree, which when dried and ground yields the cinnamon spice, is known to carry a number of medicinal and health benefits. Many doctors recommend that healthy people eat a certain amount of cinnamon a day to boost immune strength and ward against illness or disease. A cinnamon cereal often promises these benefits right at the start of the day. Many manufacturers add other benefits to cinnamon cereal, as well, including the inclusion of extra fiber, whole grains, and reduced sugar content.
Hot cereals are usually a totally different category of cereals, and are usually presented very differently as well. A combination of raw grains that must be heated or boiled together with water or some other liquid to form a cohesive dish is considered a hot cereal. Ground cinnamon powder is often added directly into the mix for this sort of cereal.
Unless it is full of sugar or artificial flavors, hot cereal is usually a healthy cereal by its very nature. Most of the time, it is a whole grain cereal — that is, a cereal made from entire oats, wheat berries, or seeds. This means that it carries more overall health benefits than one that has been processed. Adding cinnamon on top of this only amplifies the effects.