One of the most popular breakfasts is a bowl of crunchy breakfast cereal combined with some ice-cold milk. However, what happens on the days when you don’t have milk? Do you just go without cereal?
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to eat cereal without milk, and none of them include bland water. If you’d like to eat your cereal in the typical way, there are even ways to do that without regular cow’s milk.
The best ways to eat cereal without milk include:
- Yogurt parfait
- Smoothie bowls
- Breakfast bars
- No bake cookies
- Cheesecake crust
You can also use any one of the numerous non-dairy milk options on the market as a substitute for regular milk.
Can I Eat Cereal With Water Instead of Milk?
The first thing to pop into your head when you think about milk substitutes might be water. While there is technically nothing stopping you from eating your cereal with water instead of the usual milk, we don’t recommend it.
When you eat cereal with milk, you are relying on the slightly creamy consistency of milk to help enhance the flavor. Using milk also makes cereal a more nutritious meal as it adds both protein and fat to the normally carb-heavy cereal.
When you use water, you won’t be getting any natural flavor enhancement. This is especially true if you are eating water with a more bland cereal like plain cheerios or cornflakes.
Using water also reduces the amount of nutrition that you will be getting from the cereal. Without the protein and fat from the milk, you’ll be eating a meal of entirely carbohydrates which won’t stay with you for very long. You’ll probably be hungry again within a couple of hours, definitely not what you’re looking for in a nutritious breakfast.
Will My Cereal Taste Different If I Use Water?
If you use water instead of milk in your morning bowl of cereal, it will definitely taste different than if you use milk.
When you use milk, the protein, and fat molecules help to coat the cereal and give it a richer, slightly sweet flavor. This makes the cereal creamier and also enhances the flavor. Milk also soaks into the cereal more slowly, allowing you to enjoy a crunchy bowl of cereal for more time before it becomes soggy.
If you use water, you won’t be getting any added sweetness or creaminess. It will simply taste like plain cereal, but wetter since you’ve added water. The water will also soak into the cereal very rapidly, resulting in a soggy bowl of cereal within a few minutes.
Should I Put The Cereal or the Liquid in the Bowl First?
Although many people have strong opinions on this topic, in reality, it isn’t that important. Whichever way you choose to eat your cereal is fine and in the end, putting the liquid in first won’t have a massively negative effect on the flavor of your cereal.
Regardless, the general consensus is that cereal should always be the first thing to go in the bowl. After that, you can pour whatever liquid you’re using overtop of the cereal. This will ensure that milk gets on all the cereal and you won’t have to mix your cereal around to achieve this. It also lets you control how long the liquid is on the cereal for.
When you add the liquid first, the liquid is not going all over the cereal. To make sure that every piece has milk on it you will need to mix all of the cereal around. Although this isn’t a big problem, it’s just one extra step that you have to take before eating your meal. It can also result in soggier cereal since the milk is with the cereal for longer and you have to eat it as soon as it’s poured.
The only time when it is socially acceptable to add cereal last is when you are eating your second bowl. Since there is already milk in the bowl you don’t have the option to add in the cereal first. So in this case, just go ahead and pour the cereal in without worrying about what people think.
Best 6 Ways To Eat Cereals Without Milk
Although milk is almost always the best way to eat cereal, there will be days when you find yourself craving some cereal but don’t have milk. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can still incorporate cereal into your morning without having milk. As a plus, none of them involve using water as a milk substitute.
1. Yogurt Parfait
One great way to enjoy cereal without resorting to water is by using it as part of a yogurt parfait. Since the yogurt is also made from dairy, it will have many of the same flavor-enhancing benefits and nutrition that milk has.
To make a yogurt parfait you’ll simply need some yogurt, fruit, and cereal to use as a topping. Just layer the yogurt and fruit together in a bowl then top with cereal. For best results, use a crunchy or granola-like cereal. These will stay crispy the longest and provide a good textural contrast in your yogurt parfait.
This is even a meal that you can prep in advance if you are usually short on time in the mornings. To prep it in advance, you’ll just put your fruit and yogurt together then place it in the fridge. Hold off on adding the cereal until morning to keep the cereal from becoming soggy.
2. Smoothie Bowl
Another easy way that you can eat cereal without milk is as part of a smoothie. Gone are the days of drinking a smoothie from a cup, nowadays smoothie bowls are all the rage, and for good reason. They create a delicious cold and fruity breakfast that can be enjoyed with lots of sides.
To make your smoothie bowl, you will want to take your regular smoothie recipe, then make it as thick as possible. To do this you can reduce the amount of liquid you normally use and add more fruit. Ideally, you’ll want to use a blender with a tamper. This will make it easier to push all of the ingredients down into the blades and will keep your blender from overheating.
After your smoothie is fully blended go ahead and pour it into a large bowl and add toppings. Some popular toppings for smoothie bowls include things like shredded coconut and dried fruits.
To make a smoothie bowl more filling, you can also top it with things like cereal and granola. This will add a great contrast in texture with the crunchy cereal compared to the soft smoothie. You can also add things like yogurt or protein powder to the actual smoothie to make it more nutritionally dense.
3. Breakfast Bars
If you want something that you can eat on the go without having to worry about mess, breakfast bars are the way to go. They are super easy to make and will stay good for several days allowing you to meal prep for multiple breakfasts in an hour.
To make breakfast bars you will want to use a non-sugary cereal that is pretty dense. Shredded wheat is a good example of a cereal type that works well in these breakfast bars.
All you’ll need is some cereal and rolled oats along with whatever else you want to mix in. Some popular add-ins are things like sunflower seeds, dried fruits, and spices like cinnamon. You’ll want to mix those together until they form a batter then bake them for a short time to make them solidify.
You can eat them along with some yogurt to make for a more filling snack. You could also add protein powder to the initial batter to help increase the nutritional value of this breakfast.
4. No Bake Cookies / Treats
Now, this is not an official recipe, but it is one that most families have and have passed down for generations. When you don’t have the supplies or time needed to bake a whole tray of cookies, you can make no-bake cookies in a matter of minutes with minimal supplies.
Just like with the breakfast bars, you’ll want to use a pretty durable cereal for this. To bulk the cookies up even more you can start the base with a mix of 50% cereal and 50% rolled oats. The rolled oats will help to soften the cookies and prevent them from becoming too crumbly.
Once you have your cereal base go ahead and mix things in like melted nut butter, butter, and even cocoa powder. Make sure to add enough that the cereal is coated and sticks together, but not so much that it becomes soup-like.
After your batter is mixed, you’ll take out small scoops and shape them into balls. Once they are shaped lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place them in the refrigerator. After a couple of hours in the refrigerator the cookies should have solidified enough to eat them easily.
Depending on the ingredients that you add, these can be a very healthy way to eat your cereal without milk.
If you have more time and need to get rid of a large amount of cereal, using it as a base for cupcakes could be a solution. If you use whole-grain cereal with minimal sugar, this could also be a great way to make a healthy breakfast that will keep you full all day long. Cereal cupcakes are also pretty easy to transport, making them a great snack.
Just make your regular cupcake or muffin batter then mix cereal in as part of the base. Immediately after mixing the cereal in you’ll want to pop them in the oven. This will help to keep the cereal from becoming completely soggy while in the oven.
Once the cupcakes have cooled down and been frosted, go ahead and toss some more cereal on top. This will help to tie in the flavors and is also a super easy way to decorate your cupcakes.
6. Cheesecake Crust
If you’re trying to make a quick and easy dessert for a party, you know how tricky it can be to get your cheesecake’s crust right. After all, the filling is the easy part. Just whip it together then chill it in the fridge. However, the crust can be more difficult.
To make a super easy cheesecake crust you’ll want to use a mildly sweet cereal, preferably with cinnamon for extra flavor. You’ll likely need several cups for this so make sure you have a fresh box of cereal. If you have a food processor you’ll want to pulse the cereal until it is in rough crumbs. You can also do this by hand but it will take much longer.
After the cereal has been crushed you can add in some melted butter. This will help to hold the crust together and make it easier to press into the pan. After you’ve added the butter just press the mixture into the bottom of the cheesecake pan and allow it to chill in the fridge for a few hours.
After the crust has fully chilled you can add the cheesecake filling. This will result in a super easy cheesecake with a crust that matches the flavor of your favorite cereals.
Cow’s Milk Substitutes
If you’d still like to eat your cereal in a bowl like traditional cereal, none of the previous options will work for you. Some of you may also not be able to eat milk for dietary or health reasons which is why you’re avoiding regular milk in the first place.
Fortunately, there are several cow’s milk substitutes that are similar in flavor. When used in place of regular milk, these can be a great addition to your morning bowl of cereal.
One of the most popular milk substitutes is soy milk. This milk is made by blending soybeans with water and then straining the chunks away to leave a rich, creamy beverage that is high in both calcium and protein. One of the reasons that this milk substitute is so popular is because overall, it has a very similar nutritional profile to cow’s milk.
Soy milk comes in several different flavors including natural, unsweetened, vanilla, and even chocolate. This allows you to enjoy soy milk in all of the ways that you would use cow’s milk.
The one concern with soy milk is that some people are allergic to it. Some brands also don’t have the best ingredients and contain stomach-irritating thickening agents that many people can’t tolerate.
For people with more sensitive stomachs, rice milk can be a great cow’s milk alternative. It is made by blending rice with milk and then straining it. It usually has a mildly sweet flavor but a slightly thinner texture than soy milk and cow’s milk. It is also very low in protein and fat, meaning that it won’t add too much nutrition to your breakfast.
If you use rice milk, you may notice some of the same effects that water has on your cereal. Since it doesn’t have much fat it won’t coat the cereal in the same way as regular milk. This can cause your cereal to become soggy much more rapidly than with some of the other substitutes.
Quite possibly the most popular milk substitute on the market is almond milk. You can find just as many almond milk brands in the supermarket as regular milk brands. It also comes in many different flavors, you can even find almond milk creamers for your coffee in the mornings.
Almond milk is made by blending almonds with water and then straining out the almond fibers. It is not quite as thick as soy milk is naturally, but it is still more milk-like in texture than rice milk.
Almond milk is generally very good for people with allergies unless they are allergic to nuts. Just make sure to pick a good brand that uses high-quality ingredients with minimal additives.
Coconut and Hemp Milk
The last milk substitute that you can eat with cereal is either coconut or hemp milk. Both of these are less common but can be found in health food stores or ordered online.
Out of these two, coconut has the strongest flavor which is something you should definitely consider, especially if you are going to be mixing the flavors with cereal. However, it has a very thick texture and somewhat high-fat content that will more closely mimic the feel of regular cow’s milk in your cereal.
The next time you reach into your fridge looking for a jug of cow’s milk to go with your cereal and realize you’re all out, don’t panic. Even if you don’t have milk on hand, you can eat cereal in a variety of different ways. You can use it to top yogurt and smoothie bowls, you can even use it to make breakfast bars or cupcakes with a couple of other ingredients.
If you still want to eat your cereal the normal way, you can always use one of the many milk substitutes available on the market. The two most popular are soy and almond milk, but there are many more that you can try out as well.