Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to Break the Cereal Habit

I know, you all are reluctant to read this after hearing about our green smoothies! I realize not everyone is as weird as I am (and my kids are), so these will be more "normal" suggestions.

If, after reading the title, you are wondering why to break the cereal habit--that is out of my league. I can point you to dozens of good blogs on healthy, nourishing foods and why (most kinds of) cereal isn't one of them, but I'm not getting into all that here.

If, however, you are convinced that cereal is not the best food for your family or you just want some alternatives that fill little tummies (or..ahem...larger tummies) for more than an hour after breakfast, read on.

  • Granola. This is an awesome breakfast food that tastes 10 times better than cereal and can be adjusted to whatever food budget you have. If you or your kids are used to cereal, I would definitely start here in making changes because you will never want to go back. For a cheap and quick version, use quick oats, brown sugar and butter, a little cinnamon and salt and bake 10 minutes. For a healthier version, use rolled oats instead of quick oats and cook longer. For a less sugary version, use honey. Depending on your family's preferences you can add nuts, dried fruit or coconut. My kids like it plain, which is cheaper, so I don't argue. :-) 
  • Parfaits. Once you have your granola made and in the pantry, you don't have to just use it as cereal. My kids love vanilla yogurt layered with berries and granola. We call it "Better Than McDonald's Parfaits." And they really are. If you use frozen fruit, just set it out for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
  • Eggs. Go ahead and do mostly egg whites if you want less fat and cholesterol, but we love eggs. We prefer free-range brown eggs, but I never pass up a 79-cent egg sale. You can do anything with them--fried, scrambled with salsa (or not), frittata, omelet, hard-boiled, etc. We even put them on English muffins or biscuits sometimes with cheese. (Yes, we refer to them as "Better than McDonald's" too.)
  • Oatmeal. No, not the soggy kind--the kind with steel cut oats. It is delicious and the only way we'll eat it anymore. I love this crockpot recipe for them when I want to have breakfast already cooked when we wake up.

  • Biscuits. If we get tired of the above breakfasts and the toast we usually have with the eggs, we have "Top Your Own Biscuits" breakfast. Now, I'm still not great at homemade biscuits, but these Biscuit Muffins are easy, so I can throw these together quickly and they turn out the same every time. I set them out with butter, cinnamon sugar, fruit spreads and honey; and we each try our favorite "toppings".
  • Fruit. I try to have fruit with every breakfast just because it's so delicious (not to mention good for us). Bananas are easy if you need something to take with you. Grapefruit is good if you're sitting down to eat. We love fried apples on our oatmeal or just by themselves. If I have a little more room in the food budget, we get a big box of clementines--yes, the little cuties. (No, seriously, that's what they're called.) Whatever is in season works great and tastes the best.
  • Pancakes or Waffles. If we have a little more time, I will make these with just a plain, basic recipe (mixes would defeat the purpose ;-). It's best to make your own syrup or use pure maple syrup. The other stuff is just high fructose corn syrup with colors and flavors in it.
Now, I know that a lot of these are still sugary breakfasts. We'll get to cutting out sugar...someday. However, I still think an ingredient list with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and oats beats this:

Rice, wheat gluten, sugar, defatted wheat germ, salt, high fructose corn syrup, dried whey, malt flavoring, calcium caseinate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), reduced iron, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1), vitamin A palmitate, folic acid, and vitamin B12

You're welcome to disagree, but you're also missing out on some real. good. food. I'd share mine with you, but my kids just polished off the last of the granola.


  1. I can't believe after all my moaning and nagging you've finally seen the light and you're starting to eat healthy food!I think I'm on the verge of a cardiac arrest! Yes, literally.

    I'll always stick to my strong views, if you claims you love your family, feed them healthy food. I'll never understand those women who feed their children unhealthy food all the time and them claims they love their families and do the best for them!

  2. Don't take too much of the credit, Sarah! LOL We have been eating this way for quite a while. I believe the point of contention you and I had was whether they could eat meat or animal products. As you can see, we enjoy eggs and milk, and I do feed them other meats for lunch and dinner.

    I believe all of us mothers try to feed our children healthily. There are a variety of opinions out there, and each family has to make the choices that are best for them individually.

  3. No I don't take all the credit, I'm just suffering from so much shock, I had to comment and hold my chest and try to breathe slowly!

    It's not only about eating animal products, I've been nagging you to eat healthy for sometime! You've finally seen the light.

    I very much doubt that mothers feed their children healthily, but I won't spoil your blog debating this one. But I will say this, some mothers feed their children rubbish food, then wonder why their children get sick and then complain why their children are ill. End of for now.

  4. I am so excited to see these recipes. Last semester I took a nutrition class and at first I was all excited to eat more healthy...but my excitement has started to wane, as has my budget (until my grants come in!) This post was just what I needed to get back into the swing of things!

  5. Great, Christy! That's what I was hoping for when I wrote this. Healthy eating doesn't have to be bland and boring.

  6. Your blog is BEAUTIFUL! You are certainly into it more than I am. No wonder you have so many followers. One can tell you enjoy it. I can't read long e-mails & blogs because it bothers my eyes. It is reading off the computer. I am sorry about that. I love to read books
    Anyway~~~~~~~GREAT JOB.
    I am thinking of giving up mine again. I guess I get bored with it after awhile. My computer acts up and I have a time getting things on my blog, etc.
    Keep up the good job.