Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thinking Outside the (Lunch)box: Blueberry Millet Rice Krispy Bars

We have another delicious-looking post today from Serena of Teaspoon of Spice. You're going to love this fresh take on rice krispy treats that makes them a bit healthier than the usual, by adding fresh blueberries and our favorite--whole grains! This is a perfect lunch box treat.

 Blueberry Millet Rice Krispy Bars

I’m thrilled to have been invited by Britney and Cherie to share my kids’ (and my) favorite lunchbox treat!

I developed this recipe over the summer and there were many picnics to which these Blueberry Millet Rice Krispy Bars added some berry-blueberry fun. My four kids have already informed me (with a very hopeful tone in their small voices) that the treats could “easily fit into a lunchbox.”
Years ago, I remember seeing a blueberry commission recipe brochure showing fresh blueberries added to crispy rice treats. But a search for something similar online, yielded only these too-sweet-even-for-my-sweet-tooth Blueberry Muffin Krispy Treats and this very obscure mention.

So I created the following recipe adapting the classic Rice Krispies Treat® recipe. To bump up the healthiness, you could sub any whole grain cereal for a portion of the crispy rice cereal. I like to add Puffed Millet since it looks very similar to Rice Krispies®; and it displays a super simple list of ingredients: Just puffed millet; no sugar, no salt, nothing but a 100% whole grain!

But the ingredient that makes these Krispy Bars the best you or your kids will EVER taste is the fresh blueberries. The berries taste deliciously sweet-tart as you crunch through the Krispies and sweet marshmallows. A few of the berries burst during the folding-in process – leaving pretty purple streaks. And conveniently, you can use fresh or frozen berries.

Next time you make the classic (super, super quick) treat, change it up: Vary the extract flavoring to almond or even add ground cinnamon. Add other fruits (raisins, dried cranberries or cherries.) And switch up a portion (or all) of the cereal to include more whole grains. Here’s a popular version I created for Relish magazine. The possibilities are endless – enjoy adding delicious fun to all the lunchboxes you fill at your house!

Blueberry Millet Rice Krispy Bars
3 tablespoons butter
1  (10-ounce) bag marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Puffed Millet cereal
4 cups crisped rice cereal
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, keep frozen)

1. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add marshmallows. Cook, stirring, until marshmallows are melted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly stir in vanilla, then cereal and berries.
3. Scrape mixture into prepared pan and, using wet hands (or a rubber scraper coated with cooking spray,) quickly press evenly into pan until firm.
4. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving (or pack in lunchbox with cold pack.) Consume within one day to avoid treats losing their crunch factor.

Serena Ball, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and mother of four who lives in the country outside St. Louis. She and fellow food-loving dietitian, Deanna Segrave-Daly, blog about easy meals and snacks for their families at 

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