Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?

October 5, 2010

Healthy cereal ingredients

I will not eat blueberry pie for breakfast. I will not eat blueberry pie for breakfast.

See, this is what happens if I buy something like blueberry pie. It’s sitting there on the counter, calling my name at all sorts of inappropriate hours of the day! How rude.

Breakfast is probably the most problematic meal of the day for most of us. You’ve got nutrient-poor Dunkin Donuts egg white sandwiches. Or some kind of danish. A refined flour bagel. Maybe you’ve gone the “healthy” route and bought some cereal with claims of Omega-3’s and whatnot.

Guess what? That cereal is probably full of sugar. Sorry but it’s true. You’ll be starving by 10:30 when your blood sugar takes a nosedive. Don’t believe me? Read the ingredient list and look for anything with the words “sugar”, “cane” or “syrup” for starters.

There are 3 boxed cereals I’ll buy. (Not to say these are the only acceptable cereals out there, but these are available at the local store and fit my standards: only whole grains and zero sugar whatsoever.)

1. Uncle Sam’s
2. Kashi 7 Grain Whole Nuggets
3. Nature’s Path Organic Puffs Cereal (Millet, Brown Rice, Corn or Kamut)

I don’t mind a sugar-free breakfast. To me, it feels clean and nourishing and I enjoy the taste of whole grains. But my husband? Eh. Not so much. Like most people, he wants a little somethin’ somethin’ in his breakfast. And all of you with kids out there? They’re probably like my husband. (Insert joke here.)

My mission: To create a fast, low cost alternative to the standard cold cereals out there, and still appeal to my husband’s taste buds.

The solution: Fancy up those plain grains!

I started with millet puffs – a blank canvas for breakfast artistry. Lots of sugary cereals look like round puffy things, so this is a good start. The difference is regular boxed cereal is covered in sugar and artificial flavors. Mine would be covered in natural yumminess.

Flavors of Fall Cereal Puffs

Flavors of Fall Cereal Puffs
3 cups puffed millet
3/4 cup dried cranberries (sweetened with fruit juice)
3/4 cup toasted, salted pumpkin seeds
2 tsp. cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine ingredients until puffs are evenly coated with cinnamon. Transfer to tupperware containers or an empty cereal box.

One of my childhood favorite cereals was Cocoa Puffs (ingredients include Corn, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Cocoa, Canola Oil, Caramel, Beet Juice Concentrate, Color Salt, Fructose.)

This inspired a healthy chocolate-centered idea:

Cocoa-Coco Puffs
3 cups puffed millet (corn puffs would actually be a better size to replicate the original)
1 cup pitted dates, chopped small
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1.5 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until puffs are well coated in cocoa. Transfer to tupperware containers or an empty cereal box.

Natural Cocoa Puffs

These easy cereals were well received by the man of the house, which is the closest I can come to testing on a kid. You’ll have to tell me how your kids respond! I imagine they might like to choose their own ingredients and mix it up themselves.

And if you’re looking for some healthy kid-friendly ideas, don’t miss Having a Healthy, Happy Family on Oct. 21st. I may not have pint-sized testers around here, but my friend Hannah sure does. Together, we have an excellent evening planned for you!

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