As we all know, store-bought cereal costs an arm and a leg. A standard box of cereal containing basic ingredients like oat or wheat flakes and maybe some dried fruit can cost close to $5.00. And that cost isn’t even for fancy cereal with organic ingredients, luscious nut chunks, or plump pieces of dried fruit. Let’s face it, the dried fruit they put in those boxes is almost mummified. And the taste? Well, it tastes like mummified cranberry or raisin. Yum.
I refuse to pay so much for substandard cereal when I can make my own cereal for less money, and with far superior ingredients. Below is my staple recipe for cereal that I make on a regular basis. And the cost? I make about two pounds of this stuff at a time, and it costs me $4.00 a pound, a clear savings over the $5.00 for a 15 ounce box of comparable Kashi cereal (not even a full pound). And, I use expensive ingredients (and lots of ‘em) like all organic products; large coconut chips; fresh, aromatic walnuts; and high quality, plump dried cranberries that you just can’t find in a boxed cereal. If you want to economize you can stick with the basics like dried raisins or apples, or non organic ingredients. And if you really want to save money, dry your own fruit and use it in your cereal! And best of all, you family isn’t eating preservatives or fillers: just healthy, tasty food.
I love making my own because I can customize it to whatever I feel like eating. Heck, I’d put bacon crumbles in it if I wanted! And this is good hot or cold. To eat it hot, I just warm some milk until it’s almost boiling, and pour it over my mix. A few minutes of sitting on the table produces a wonderful breakfast for cold winter mornings. Add a drizzle of maple syrup and I’m in heaven.
- Grain Flakes (I like oats, but you can use wheat, rye, barley, or a collection of the four)
- Nuts (I like pecan or walnut halves, but have also used almond chips, peanuts, or whatever I have on hand)
- Dried fruit (raisins, currants, apples, cranberries, coconut, or whatever dried fruit suits your fancy)
- Your Imagination (flax seed, ground cinnamon, wheat germ, chocolate chips…if you think it would be good, add it)
I put all my ingredients in a large bowl, mix it well, then pour it all into a restaurant-sized storage jar that I bought in a Goodwill store for $1.00 (I scored three of these jars, the other two hold my white and wheat flour). The amount of cereal you make is only limited by where you’ll store your cereal–my cereal jar could hold 4 pounds of cereal. You can make yours on a weekly basis, or enough to last you a month.
There are no drawbacks to making your own cereal: it’s cheaper, healthier, tastier, and takes only moments of your time. Let the kids mix up a batch; they’ll have fun choosing the ingredients, too! Try it, and if you have an ingredient mix you particularly like, feel free to share it in the comments!