Gabe and I used to fantasize about the day when our kids could get out of bed and help themselves to breakfast. We thought of this as a major milestone in our parenting career and had visions of us lingering in bed with coffee in one hand and the paper in the other. Parents with babies in tow take note; someday this day will arrive and it will be every bit as wonderful as you can imagine.

Weekday mornings don’t allow for much lingering on our part. There are lunches to pack, school bags to get in order, dishes from last night’s party to tend to, and the most important thing – coffee to be made. To help avoid too much chaos (some is just unavoidable) we keep breakfast during the week very simple. Most often it’s cereal. I’ll admit it. But when I have life somewhat in order cereal comes in the form of whole grain puffs lightly sweetened with maple syrup and flavored with cocoa powder. I like to tuck in all sorts of puffed grains and by the time they are coated in a deeply colored cocoa syrup the kids really have no idea what they are getting into. Their most important task during breakfast – turn their milk into chocolate milk, which this cereal does so beautifully. There are enough whole grains from the cereal, plus we pair it with an 8 ounce glass of milk for an additional 8 grams of high-quality protein to help my munchkins start the day and give them energy to deal with math class before the lunch bell rings.

My favorite part? I can make a huge batch, relatively quickly so they have breakfast they can serve themselves all throughout the week.


*This post is sponsored by Milk Life. As always, the words, recipe, and images are my own. Thanks for supporting that brands that support me in doing the work I love.

Whole Grain Cocoa Cereal


1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted

14 cups puffed cereal

1 cup puffed quinoa

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)

Add ins:

Coconut flakes




Preheat your oven to 300° F

In a small saucepan combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and cocoa powder. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

In a large bowl combine the puffed cereal, quinoa, sesame seeds, and any other add ins you may like.

Add the cocoa mixture to the puffed cereals and stir well to coat. Transfer this to a large sheet tray (or two) lined with parchment. Bake for 20 minutes stirring halfway through.

Let the cereal cool before storing in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

Pair with an 8 ounce glass of milk.



10 Responses to “Whole Grain Cocoa Cereal”

  1. Lindsay

    What an awesome idea! This seems like such a simple, yet flavorful way to enjoy puffed rice. The texture of it would be addicting to me! I can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for the post 🙂

  2. Maria

    Your family in the video is so darling!! I know so many people who feel the same way as you do about kids growing up and mornings. I’m not wired that way, but I certainly need to get myself in gear and keep this cereal stocked;) Great idea! And a super cute post!

  3. Karen

    Hmm, have checked my local grocery store – where do you get puffed cereal/grains?

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Oh Karen, I’m sorry. I use unsweetened puff cereal. My store offers a variety of natural options. The puffed quinoa was in the bulk section. I was also just reading up on how to puff grains at home. It’s a bit of a process but I’m going to check it out and try to find an easier solution. I hope that helps!

      • Karen

        I wondered if maybe that was it! I’ll check my local co-op too. My (within walking distance) regular grocery store is pretty well stocked, but it’s no Whole Foods.

        I would love to puff my own grains, if you try it and like it I would love if you shared. Thanks so much – I’m pretty sure that my husband will like this every bit as much as my toddler!

  4. Kelsey

    Wow! It looks great! I love the convenience of cereal, but you really pay a toll when that’s all you eat in the morning! This looks like a great option to get the best of both worlds. Thanks for sharing!