Firm believers in the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, Scarsdale’s Margaret and Ian Wishingrad woke up one morning, and it dawned on them: Cereal was the “naughtiest” food on their table. It was around the time their baby boy, Ellis, now 3, was beginning to nibble the classic O-shapes for snacks. “As a first-time mom, I heard all the moms recommending ‘Os,’ and it made me realize that there really wasn’t a better option,” recalls Margaret, a 29-year-old transplant from Brooklyn.
No matter the shape, most cereals on supermarket shelves are sugary and made with commodity grains, like oats, wheat, rice, or corn. “These filler grains are deficient in any real nutritional value,” says Margaret. “Popular cereal is sweet, carby, and naughty.”
When Margaret suggested to Ian that they make their own cereal, the 34-year-old Stamford native was all in.
The couple quickly learned, that making cereal is not something you can do at home, after work, once the baby’s asleep — even when you’re bosses of your own advertising firm. “It requires intricate machinery, technology, and expertise,” says Ian. They hired a food scientist and committed to three non-negotiables: more protein, less sugar, gluten- and grain-free. “Our goal was a product with cleaner, better ingredients that leaves you satiated without the sugar crash,” Ian says.
The Wishingrads chose chickpea pea protein as the base, along with tapioca, and monk fruit and organic cane sugar as sweeteners. They spent more than two years testing and tweaking. “The whole process took a lot longer than expected,” says Ian. “It’s difficult to make plant proteins taste good.”
In the end, the Wishingrads tasted more than 100 batches of cereal creations, and about three years after the idea was hatched, they launched Three Wishes cereal in unsweetened, cinnamon, and honey flavors, all certified non-GMO and available at Stew Leonard’s and Whole Foods (a fourth flavor, cocoa, was added recently).
Each variety contains four to eight ingredients, with only three grams of sugar and eight grams of protein, double the amount in typical Os. “We didn’t set out to reinvent the American palate,” says Ian, “but to make a healthier version of the cereal kids are used to.”