Wheatena, A Find

WheatenaBox2In my search for foods that are quick and easy to prepare, I discovered Wheatena. It’s a hot cereal that makes it into a bowl and down your stomach within minutes. And, for me, it fits the bill of being low in fat, high in fiber, and tasty. No added salt or sugar, but you could add your own. It’s made from whole wheat (so, not for people who have difficulty with gluten) that has been roasted and ground. I really like the toasted flavor.

Here are the ingredients from the box’s side panel:

  • Toasted crushed whole wheat
  • Wheat bran
  • Wheat germ
  • Calcium carbonate

It has 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein in a 1/3 cup, 160 calorie, serving. It’s hard to beat that.

It’s sold in a cardboard box, which, at the time of its debut in 1879 was done to “offer consumers a sanitary appeal.” Cereals at the time (cracked wheat, oatmeal) were sold in bulk from barrels. I like that the food only touches paper. Plastics and treated linings have developed a bad reputation for sloughing off endocrine-disrupting chemicals into the food, e.g. BPA.

It may be a hot breakfast cereal, but any similarities to oatmeal stop there. You wouldn’t call Wheatena creamy. It’s lower in fat than oatmeal, just 1 gram in that 1/3 cup serving. And where oatmeal creates a slimy, soluble-fibery background, this cereal stays gritty. It also doesn’t continue to absorb water like oatmeal, so it’s best to cook it to desired consistency and expect it to stay that way.

The first time I tried it I was on the fence. But I kept with it and now I crave it. It’s a more mature taste, like coffee I think, something that takes getting used to. It grows on you.

I was looking around for photos of it cooked but there aren’t many. This probably isn’t a popular food. Maybe at one time it was but it’s been replaced over the years by heavily-marketed sweetened breakfast cereals. Here are photos of mine from this morning:

Cooking. I like it more dry than soupy:


And right before eating. The only thing I put on it is salt. But, looking around, people have gotten quite creative:


9 thoughts on “Wheatena, A Find

  1. Andrea

    I just came across Wheatena on Amazon when I was searching for Ralston . Judging by your post I should give it a try.


  2. mboydp

    The only thing I’ve wondered about such foods is whether the oil in them will go rancid if you buy, say, a case of boxes…. (I’m not going to stores–buying in bulk on the internet)


    1. andrea

      You can usually buy individual boxes on Amazon – you pay more that way, though. I know I have a box of Quaker Oat Bran and it’s expiration date is more that a year from now – so that kind of stuff has a long shelf life.


    2. Luba

      I love Wheatena! You can no longer find it in the supermarket so getting it online is probably the only way to buy it. I ordered mine from Amazon, a two box supply and I use one box and I put the other one in the freezer which works out fine!


  3. wrtrgurl

    When I was a child, many many moons ago, I LOVED Wheatena! Over the last decade I have had a couple of boxes. It doesn’t taste the same. I wonder what changed. Reading on another site I discovered it was bought by several companies over the years. Maybe changes to the product was made along the way. Whatever happened, I wish it had not.


    1. Andrea

      That happens a lot. I think it’s probably hard to be able to source the same ingredients from the same places for decades on end – so the final product ends up tasting different.


  4. Elle Barkley

    I tried boiling it and did not like it, so I put the leftovers in a flat plastic container in the fridge and sautéed it a few days later. It was much better the second time. I treated it like you would scrapple, with some oil, butter and flipping only one time. It was not gritty, and the nutty flavor came through.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s