I wish I could say my kid was the sugary-cereal fiend in our house but that would be a bold faced lie. My husband has a thing for cereal. He has since he was a kid and I don’t think he’ll outgrow it anytime soon. I can only guess that my daughter will also have a deeply rooted cereal-obsession… but who wouldn’t want their kid to look back and relish those mornings in front of the TV, shoveling candy into her gob for breakfast with her Dada. I’m all for that…but what if we could introduce cereal in a way that gave her what she wanted, something colourful, crunchy and sweet, and left me at ease knowing she got a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals, fibre and protein with each crunch?
Though she is still years from taking part in that most-wonderful-time-of-the-year known as Back-To-School, it still serves as a reminder that it’s time to get back to the table and re-focus on what we’re putting in our bodies so we can get the most out of them during busy days. Breakfast is the best place to start, it sets the tone for the day and helps our little people fuel all the shenanigans they get into ALL DAY LONG… though often I wonder if all those shenanigans really need fueling.
Like most kids, my daughter loves anything colourful and crunchy (hence, cereal). So this Raspberry Dark Chocolate Smoothie Bark spattered with chocolate and cereal grabbed her attention right away and she dove into it thinking it was dessert. Mama – 1, Ruthie – 1 (because she benefits, we both win…I guess). But for me, this bark is ALL about pumping up her protein and fibre for the day without having to cram a meal she has no interest in in her face. Because at 7am, who in their right mind wants to deal with a screaming, hungry kid that won’t eat a damn thing? FORGET THAT.
Let’s talk shop for a second. The base of this bark is a rasperry-puree swirled Smooth Cottage Cheese from Nordica; one serving (1/2 cup) contains 15g of protein and 20% of your daily calcium intake. It’s creamy, tangy and rich like Greek yogurt so for anyone that claims they don’t like cottage cheese, you won’t even know! Add to that hemp seeds (a mere 2 tbsp contains almost 7g of protein, the same amount in 2 egg whites as well as 116 mg of magnesium that helps regulate blood sugar), chia seeds (one tablespoon contains 5 grams of fibre as well as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to raise “good” HDL cholesterol) and ground flax (a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and Omega-3 fatty acids) and you’ve got a cocktail for super health that looks like one of those freakin unicorn beverages all the kids (and some weird adults) are drinking these days. For extra crunch and sweetness, I added some of our favourite granola, some chopped dark chocolate and a spattering of sugary cereal as the pièce de résistance and, let’s get real, the only reason our kid is into this.
It’s cold and refreshing, makes a perfectly adult-appropriate breakfast when served with a piece of grainy toast (so long as you don’t mind getting a little messy). Grab a chunk from the freezer anytime you need a little boost.
I used the Plain Smooth cottage cheese here because I like to be able to control the sugar. If you think you or your kids would prefer something less tangy and more sweet, try the individually portioned Lemon or Vanilla Bean Smooth Cottage Cheese in place of the plain.
I’ve left the granola and cereal types up to you – use what you like/what your kids like.
For the Smoothie Base
4 cups (from 2 tubs) Nordica Plain Smooth Cottage Cheese
1 ripe banana
1/2 ripe avocado
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
For the Puree:
1 pint raspberries
2 tbsp sugar
For the Toppings:
1/4 cup 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup granola clusters
1/2 cup cereal
Cover a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
Toss the berries with the sugar and let sit for 5 minutes. Mash with a fork until smooth. Set aside.
Place all smoothie ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth. Dump onto the cookie sheet and spread out with a rubber spatula until it’s about 1/4″-1/2″ thick. Spoon the macerated raspberries over the smoothie and swirl around with a fork or toothpick so it’s well spread out. Sprinkle the chocolate, granola and cereal evenly over the bark. Freeze for 4 hours or until frozen through.
Peel the parchment paper away from the bark, and break into small portions. Serve frozen. Keep in sealed container in freezer for 1 week.
Disclaimer: I am part of the #BornOnTheFarm Campaign sponsored by Gaylea Food Coop & PTPA Media and receive compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. Regardless, I only work with brands I use personally and enjoy.