Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Zen Monkey for Breakfast on the Run

I'm most definitely an oatmeal girl, but when the temps start to rise it's not quite as appealing to stand over a hot stove cooking it up (no, I don't microwave it). My summer weekday go-to breakfast is often a half cup of Trader Joe's maple pecan granola mixed with berries and Greek yogurt. So, when I was invited to try this new breakfast offering called Zen Monkey, which is a blend of equal parts oats, yogurt, and fruit, well, we were pretty much mostly there in my morning comfort zone.

So, what are we talking about here? There are three flavors: strawberry, apple cinnamon, and blueberry. Chunks of the fruit are blended with plain nonfat yogurt, agave nectar, and oatmeal soaked in apple juice. The result is a very authentic flavor with a texture that may take some getting used to. You don't get the crunch of my granola combo but it's not the same as a bowl of oatmeal either. To be honest, it's sort of goopy, but it absolutely grows on you.

Made in L.A., where it got its start at the L.A. Farmers Market, the labeling shows that the container is actually two servings, but even if you eat the entire thing, depending on the flavor, you'll still only be out only 260 calories and 3 grams of fat. You'll also have consumed 5 grams of fiber.

Now the PR spin on this is that it's the California rendition of a cereal, invented by Swiss physician Maximillian Bircher-Benner--the Birchermuesli having become a popular Swiss and German breakfast treat. That's all well and good, but this isn't muesli, nor does it have to be. The oatmeal works and gives busy people a way to eat a nutritious, well-balanced breakfast that also tastes pretty darn good.

You can find Zen Monkey at Southern California Whole Foods markets for $2.99 per 8-ounce container.

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