Sunday, January 22, 2017

Original Life 2.0: Life Vanilla Cereal Is Unfortunately Unimpressive!

The Good: Nutritious, Does not taste bad
The Bad: A little more expensive than many other cereals, Not at all distinctive on the flavor front
The Basics: Quaker Life Vanilla cereal makes vanilla flavored milk, but does not truly wow those who love vanilla flavored cereal.

Life is one of those cereals that I tend to consider as wonderful and a great example of how food manufacturers make weird attempts to diversify instead of simply being happy with the market share they possess. Life cereal is a wonderful cereal and it is one that is hard to shake up the successful formula and have the changes work. That is the pretty immediate thought I had when I tried Life Vanilla.

Life Vanilla is not a bad cereal, but it is only a minor variation on Life Original.


Quaker Life Vanilla cereal is a new twist on the classic baked square oat flour cereal. 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 Vanilla cereal is 18 oz. That represents approximately sixteen servings and our boxes were true to that. This cereal is comprised of just the square cereal bits themselves, with nothing else in them.

Ease Of Preparation

Life Vanilla 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 Vanilla 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 Vanilla 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 Vanilla Life has a pretty strong vanilla aroma to it. Vanilla Life smells decently like vanilla, at least for the first few moments the bag and box is open. The aroma fades, but it does not take on a bad scent - the aroma just fades away.

In the mouth, the Vanilla Life cereal is dry and only faintly sweet. The very vague sugary flavor is not truly vanilla flavored; instead, this tastes pretty much like Original Life , but with the occasional whiff of vanilla.

With the addition of milk, Vanilla Life gets almost completely washed out on the flavor front. The milk, however, becomes a sweet and delightful vanilla flavored beverage. The thing is, I kept trying to find that flavor in the cereal, even when the cereal was saturated with milk, but the oats of the Life Cereal pieces completely mute even the hint of a more sophisticated or truly vanilla flavor.

Vanilla Life leaves a slightly dry aftertaste in the mouth for about two minutes after the last of it is consumed.


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

A single serving of Quaker Life Vanilla 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, Vanilla Life has some decent nutritional elements other cereals do not. On its own, this cereal has significant percentages of five vitamins and minerals, most notably 100% of the RDA of Folic Acid and 40% RDA of Iron!


Life Vanilla 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 Vanilla cereal we picked up a couple of days ago had an expiration date of August 12, 2017. 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 Vanilla 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 Vanilla cereal is unfortunately unremarkable as a cereal, even though it makes incredible tasting milk in the bowl one puts it in!

For Life cereal flavors, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Maple & Brown Sugar


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

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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