7 Smart Cereal Snack Hacks

Chex cereal party mix

“Mom, I’m hungry!” Cold cereal is a great answer to that near-constant refrain, but simply pouring it into a bowl with milk means missing out on all kinds of tasty possibilities. It’s a great anytime snack, and even a useful ingredient in other family-pleasing dishes. Here are just some of the ways cereal can make your kitchen-workload a little bit lighter.

 
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Make your own trail mix.
Little bags of snack mix are popular picks school or car trips. Except Susie ignores the nuts. And Joe won’t touch pretzels. Handle the problem assembly-line style so everyone gets what they want. Put out bowls of ingredients and give general instructions for kids to make up a week’s worth of snack bags: Choose a cereal base, like Rice or Corn Chex, then add mix-ins by the handful. Nuts (assuming no allergies), dried fruit like cranberries or banana chips, chocolate chips or candy-coated chocolates, pretzel sticks or rice crackers, even a few tiny marshmallows make fun additions. And no, an all-candy trail mix is not allowed!

Prep single-servings in advance.
There’s something about individual portion sizes that kids just adore. But if you don’t have tiny cereal boxes on hand, you can do the next best thing and portion out those jumbo boxes into single-serving, reusable plastic containers. Kids can grab their favorites and go, even eating in the car on those rushed school days—pull off the lid and pour in some milk and the container becomes the bowl.

Crush it.
If you have a family of cereal lovers, it can pay to think outside the box and beyond breakfast and snack time. Crushed cereal can add texture and crunch to all kinds of foods. Try dredging boneless chicken breasts in crushed Corn Chex before baking for a gluten-free breading, or sprinkle crumbs of your favorite sweet cereal on top of a frosted cake for a quick and easy decoration.

Make a no-oven party mix.
Chex mix is a hit at every party, so the bigger batch the better. But with everything else you have to cook, do you have time to dedicate your oven to the bake-and-stir routine? This is a great opportunity to put your slow-cooker to work. Just follow the classic Chex-mix recipe (or use any ingredients variations you like), gently combining all ingredients in the slow-cooker. Cook on low for three hours, stirring about every hour. Spread out on parchment to cool and it’s done!

Add some grown-up appeal.
Speaking of party mix, if you’re serving adults at your next soiree, you might want to take the classic mix up a notch. A great way to do this is to add some spice. Stirring in a few teaspoons of red-pepper sauce (to taste) to the traditional recipe will give your mix a nice kick, making it a perfectly addictive nibble to serve alongside cocktails at happy hour.

Build a perfect parfait.
Want to up the protein at breakfast without taking the time to cook an egg? A yogurt-cereal parfait is a quick and nutritious option. Layer your kids’ favorite cereal in a tall glass or ice-cream dish with plain Greek yogurt and fresh sliced fruit, for a delicious blend of cool and crunch in every bite. Sprinkle some chopped nuts on top for an extra satisfying protein boost.

Mug it.
Cereal with milk isn’t just for the breakfast table—it also makes a tasty and nutritious afternoon or anytime snack. If your kids want to plop down in front of the TV with their cereal or carry it to the playroom, try serving it in a coffee mug instead of a bowl. The handle gives them an added measure of control—and you less spilt milk to wipe up.

What other out-of-the-bowl ways does your family enjoy cereal?


Image ©iStock.com/RonOrmanJr


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