Cereal. It's become all the rage on college campuses.
And The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphy reports that a cafe has opened a block from the University of Pennsylvania campus that sells nothing but.
One student in the shop tells Murphy she had been eating cereal once a day, but, "I've been coming here a lot more lately. It's like my guilty pleasure. Like twice a day now. …It's good college food."
It was no accident that Cereality put its first two cafes near campuses. In addition to the one near Penn, there's one at Arizona State University.
"We decided to launch the business, to test it with college students, because we knew that college students just live and breathe cereal," says Cereality co-founder David Roth.
Whether you like sugary cereal or the healthier kind, if you've got a favorite, they probably serve it, notes Murphy. An employee told her they have 30 kinds of cereals, and reeled off a few of the name-brand cereals they carry: Apple Jacks, Bran Flakes, Cap'n Crunch, Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios...
You can add toppings, from nuts to candy.
"People crave cereal all day long. It's not just breakfast," Roth says. "Our busiest hours here tend to be in the afternoon and often into the evening. …They have cereal as dessert with a meal, they have cereal at the start of the day, at the end of the day."
Murphy chatted with four Penn nursing students who, she says, "are living proof of that. Once a week, they splurge at Cereality. But their diets at home aren't that much different."
They live together -- and have enough cereal in their cabinets to feed a small army. They say they eat cereal at least once a day, and often twice or more. And they say they're not alone.
"In the dining halls," says Julie Marx, "cereal is really popular because, sometimes with the other food, you don't know what you're getting. But they have the scoop thing, so cereal is also a staple there."
Fellow student Bess Stabier says last year she and a friend "did an all-cereal day, where all we ate all day was cereal. I think we had 10 - 11 bowls."
Murphy says a little nostalgia may be playing into the trend.
"I grew up with cereal," student Stephanie Buswell recalls, "and, actually, my mom told me that when I was little, I ate so much cereal that I'd turn into a box of cereal. …So it's kind of like being at home. I can eat what I ate when I was there."
Experts say there's some science behind that warm and fuzzy sentiment, and of all the junk foods college kids eat, cereal isn't so junky, after all.
"Carbohydrates raise serotonin levels in the blood, which actually produces a comforting kind of effect, and milk has tryptophan in it, which also makes us feel nice and relaxed and comforted, so you feel comforted on two levels from cereal," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, a dietitian with the American Dietetic Association.
"I don't discourage any kind of cereal, because many cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals and iron that they need. And, if they are having cereal, there's a good chance that they're having milk, and, as we know, a lot of kids don't have enough calcium, so I'm real happy that they're having milk in there."
Of course, one thing to watch is the sugar intake, but Murphy suggests "a trick: Mix a cereal that's high in sugar content with one that's very low in sugar. …Also, it's always a good idea to throw some fruit on top to get another important food group into your diet."
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