Friday, June 22, 2012

Objectively Bland, Original Life Cereal Remains A Favorite From My Childhood!

The Good: Nutritious
The Bad: A little more expensive than many other cereals, Not very distinctive on the taste front.
The Basics: Quaker Life Original cereal is surprisingly sweet in milk, but otherwise is remarkably bland.

I have fond memories of Life Cereal from my childhood. Only in sitting down to review it did I recall why that was the case. My father was a strong proponent of staring one’s day off right and that meant that the breakfast cereals he bought were, above all, nutritious. So, Life Cereal must have represented the sweetest breakfast cereal that met his nutritional criteria. It is somewhat ironic that I am now reviewing Original Live, considering I have already evaluated Cinnamon Life ( here!) and Maple & Brown Sugar Life ( here!). And it is unsurprising that I am having the greatest difficulty in describing the taste of the Original Life or determining if I actually like it.

More than any other Life Cereal, Original Life is good in milk, but not worth eating on its own.


Quaker Life Original cereal is an old cereal – it has been around my entire life! - with baked square oat flour pieces. It looks like a refined cereal with each Life square having an open grate-like form that is generally uniform throughout the package. Each piece of Life cereal is approximately 3/4” by 3/4” wide and long and 1/8” thick. The light brown Life squares are fairly uniform in their appearance. The holes in this cereal are ideal for allowing milk to penetrate the cereal which helps to spread the sugar crystals on the outside of the cereal around.

The standard box of Life Original cereal is 13 oz. That represents approximately twelve servings, but I never seem to get the full twelve out of the box (I suspect my wife snacks on it when I am not looking!). This cereal is comprised of just the square cereal bits themselves, with nothing else in them.

Ease Of Preparation

Life Original cereal is a breakfast cereal, so this is one of the low-impact breakfast options as far as preparation goes! Simply open the box of Life Original cereal, pour out three-quarters of a cup (I’ve taken to using a measuring cup) and add 1/2 cup of milk to it. I have discovered, as part of getting healthy, that one of the biggest challenges one might have with breakfast cereal is actually eating the serving size recommended by the manufacturer. Given that I have been monitoring my intake for several weeks now, I am now able to enjoy only a proper 3/4 cup serving of Life Original cereal in a sitting.

For the purposes of my reviews, and my regular consumption, I only use skim milk (fat free) milk with cereal.


Opening the box, the Original Life has no discernible scent. This cereal smells like grain; wheat and oats, nothing more.

On the tongue, the Original Life cereal is dry and only a little sweet. The sweetness is a very light, but undeniably plain sugary flavor. This makes the wheat and oat flavor of the cereal seem less dry and quite a bit more inviting.

Doused in milk, Original Life becomes more homogeneously sweet. In fact, the sugary flavor seems to use the milk as a medium to overwhelm the dry, generally bland, nature of this cereal. Even in milk, though, this is not the most flavorful cereal.


Quaker Life Original cereal is fairly nutritious on its own and with skim milk! Made primarily of whole grain oat flour, sugar, and corn flour, the Life Original ingredient list degenerates into a chemistry equation after “salt.” This cereal has a lot of preservatives in it.

A single serving of Quaker Life Original cereal is 32 grams, 3/4 cups. In that serving, there are 120 calories, with 15 calories coming from fat. There is no saturated fat in this cereal, nor is there any cholesterol. With 160 mg of sodium and 2 grams of dietary fiber, this is not a bad dietary choice for those striving to improve heart health. With three grams of protein and 90mg potassium, Original Life has some decent nutritional elements other cereals do not. On its own, this cereal has significant percentages of seven vitamins and minerals, most notably 60% of the RDA of Folic Acid and 50% RDA of Iron!


Life Original is a cereal, so as long as it is kept sealed in its box, it ought to remain fresh for quite some time. The box of Life Original cereal I purchased on June 2, 2012 had an expiration date of April 7, 2013. Obviously, when you are done pouring the cereal from the box, fold down the plastic inner wrap to help maintain the cereal’s freshness.

Cleaning up after Life Original cereal is simple as well. Simply brush away crumbs left by it and you are done! It is that simple! This is a cereal that does not even discolor the milk added to it!


Life Original cereal is very healthy, not terribly distinctive in the taste department, but still well worth buying.

For other cereals, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Quaker Brown Sugar Oatmeal Squares
Honey Kix
Kellogg’s Special K Fruit & Yogurt Cereal


For other food reviews, please visit my Food Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the food reviews I have written!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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