In a perfect world of perfect breakfasts I’d love for the carbs of the average breakfast cereal — in our house, it’s a bowl of Cheerios — to be balanced out with some healthy fats and protein. So I took matters into my own hands, and made a cereal mix that combines my kids’ favorites with less processed additions like rolled oats and freeze-dried fruit, and plant-based fats like nuts and seeds. Now they have a balanced meal within arm’s reach, so they can serve their own breakfasts AND get the nutrition they need.⠀
Our school mornings are a chaotic rush to get the kids clothed, fed, packed, and out the door on time, and I’m pretty sure we aren’t the only ones experiencing this madness. So it’s tempting to take the easy way out for breakfast and let the kids serve themselves bowls of cereal once they’re old enough to do it on their own.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with cereal, of course, but even the “healthiest” brands seem to be pretty carb-heavy, without the healthy fats and protein I’d like my kids to also get in their bodies before a long school day.
In this particular mix, we included two of their favorite boxes of cereal: o’s and crisped rice, so that they could get a couple of different types of grains (oats and rice). Then we added in a few cups of rolled oats that I toasted briefly in the oven, and a few plant-based sources of fat and protein: sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. And of course freeze-dried fruit to make it extra enticing.
It was a hit with the kids, and to be honest, the adults too. I’ve been enjoying it scooped over greek yogurt with some fresh fruit, and my husband has been eating a bowl in the mornings before working out.
This idea is certainly not original but I was happy to be reminded of it recently by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. My mom used to do this too… she’d mix puffed rice, granola, pecans, and cranberries. It was a delicious combo.
Everything in this mix I bought from Trader Joes. But I think it would be a lot of fun to take your kids to a market with bulk bins, like Sprouts or Whole Foods, and let them choose a little of this, and a little of this, so they create a cereal mix exactly to their liking. Since this batch of cereal disappeared in just a few days, we will be trying that ASAP.
I mixed everything up in a big bowl and transferred it to a huge mason jar. I’d imagine it would keep for quite a long time but ours certainly didn’t last long enough to test that theory!
DIY Cereal Mix
A mix of your kids favorite cereals supplemented with freeze-dried fruits, healthy fats and plant-based protein.
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 4 cups o's cereal made from whole grain oats i.e. Cheerios, Joe's O's
- 4 cups crisped rice cereal
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 1 ounce a whole package freeze dried strawberries
- 1 ounce a whole package freeze dried blueberries
Preheat oven to 350. Spread rolled oats on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 8-10 minutes until they start to turn golden.
Mix oats and remaining ingredients in large bowl. Transfer to air-tight container like a large mason jar, tupperware, or ziploc bag.
Serve with milk or over Greek yogurt.