If I could wave a magic culinary wand and make one aisle in the grocery store disappear, I’d probably make the cereal aisle vanish. Even when you find a cereal that truly is whole-grain, unsweetened, and tastes as good as it is healthy, you’re going to be paying a lot more for store-bought cereal than you’d pay for self-created cereal. A 2-pound bag of brown basmati rice costs $3 and contains 20 servings, for example, which comes out to about 14 cents per bowl. Nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and fresh fruit aren’t pricey either, especially when you consider that you don’t need many to pour out a nice bowl of DIY cereal. Chances are you already have some or all of those ingredients on hand. And your homemade cereal is going to be much, much fresher and healthier (and more delicious) than an out-of-the-box version.
And to make it even better, pomegranates – a winter fruit – are ideal for DIY cereals. To get the seeds out, first cut the pomegranate in half on a cutting board that won’t stain. (Wood will soak up the pigment and stain; glass and plastic will not.) Then fill a large bowl with cool water and submerge one half of the pomegranate completely in the water, holding it seeds-down. Pull the seeds out with your fingertips as you slowly turn the half inside-out, letting the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat with the other half. (This underwater technique will prevent the pomegranate juice from spurting out and staining anything it touches.) Skim the floating pith off the top of the water and drain the seeds. You can store the seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Use them in cereals, atop desserts, as a simple snack, or even with savory dishes as a garnish.
Cooked brown rice or any other cooked whole grain (cooked grains can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator, so you can just cook one big batch of grains per week and enjoy your cereal every day)
Sliced almonds or any other nut
Pomegranate seeds or any other bite-sized/cut-up fruit (see above paragraph on how to extract the seeds from a fresh pomegranate)
Spices like cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg (optional)
Drizzle of honey or maple syrup (optional)
Your choice milk (dairy, coconut, nut, grain, etc.)
Combine whole grains, nuts, and fruit in a bowl. Top with sweetener and milk. Note that you can stir the nuts directly into the cooked grains and store them that way, thus making your cereal that much easier to put together in the morning. Pomegranate seeds, blueberries, small seedless grapes, and other bite-sized fruit are the easiest to include. Other good options would be seeds and/or dried fruit.