Author Topic: How to make homemade cereal/granola cheaper than boxed cereal??  (Read 7776 times)

Miss Growing Green

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I started a thread related to grocery spending here: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-do-you-people-spend-so-little-on-groceries/

and realized from the replies that I needed to start tracking exactly where I'm spending on my groceries, and also figure out the cost per serving of the things we eat regularly.  I know that we eat a lot of boxed cereal, so I decided to start with that, plus, there were quite a few suggestions that I make my own granola.

However, I'm finding that homemade granola is *much* more expensive than the boxed cereal we buy.  Anybody have any recipes that are cheap?

I started with this recommended recipe:

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/04/04/recipe-granola-bars-cereal/


But I took out the cashews, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds to save $$.  I also lessened the amt. of almonds and shredded coconut.  What I ended up with was this:

3.5 C rolled oats Cost: $.68 @ 99 cents a pound in bulk
2 oz sliced almonds Cost $1.32
3/4 C shredded coconut Cost: $.37
1/2 C Brown rice syrup (instead of honey) Cost: $1.10  (bought on sale- 21 oz for $3.79- I think this is ever cheaper than honey?)
cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, 6 tablespoons coconut oil (instead of butter) Estimated cost: $.25

So, it yielded about 4.5 cups and equated to $.83 per cup.  It also needed 75 minutes in the oven.

We buy Fiber One protein cereal for $2.98/box, and that yields 5.75 cups, so only $.52 per cup.

Even if I take out the almonds and the coconut and just do straight granola the cost would still be $.58/cup, which is more than the boxed cereal.

Is there any homemade cereal that's actually cheaper than boxed?  Besides going out in the field and collecting the oats myself? ;)

TrMama

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Re: How to make homemade cereal/granola cheaper than boxed cereal??
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2014, 02:59:49 PM »
This is my favorite granola recipe http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/11/smitten-kitchens-big-cluster-maple-granola.html.

I swap the maple syrup for honey, although you could also use brown sugar dissolved in hot water. I also only use raisins instead of other dried fruit. I also buy coconut and other nuts at Costco to bring down the price. Keep the sunflower seeds in your recipe, they're actually a pretty cheep source of protein.

The last batch I made, I swapped 1/3 the oats for spent malt from my first foray into homebrewed beer. I have no idea how the beer will taste yet, but the granola was delicious!

If you have a convection oven, use the convection setting to decrease your cooking time.

The real reason I make my own granola is that it actually keeps me full until lunch.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: How to make homemade cereal/granola cheaper than boxed cereal??
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2014, 03:22:01 PM »
Don't buy pre sliced almonds.

swick

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Re: How to make homemade cereal/granola cheaper than boxed cereal??
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2014, 03:54:36 PM »
75 min in the oven?

I have never needed to cook mine more then 30 - even if you don't use the recipe, check out the method for cooking granola here http://www.bojongourmet.com/2010/06/stolen-granola.html there is no stirring and it cooks MUCH quicker.

We buy organic quick oats in 25 lb sacks from a bulk distributor, it is so much cheaper and we tend to go trough a ton.

Also, are you comparing serving size to serving size? we tend to eat less granola then cold cereal per serving because it is more filling. (we also bulk ours up with flax and chia seeds, so more expensive ingredients but it has a better trade off for nutrients and feeling full) In fact, we both eat less throughout the day when we start with homemade granola (we usually serve it on top of yougurt or apple sauce or some other stewed surplus fruit) and we usually don't feel the urge to snack until lunch - whereas with cold cereal we are hungry an hour or two later.


Rural

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Re: How to make homemade cereal/granola cheaper than boxed cereal??
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2014, 07:12:03 PM »
Cut out some or all of the expensive ingredients. I use rolled oats, TVP for protein and crunch, and spices, then I add things if I find a good sale, or add my own dehydrated apples, or storebought raisins, or just stir in some berries from the freezer when I make a serving with yogurt or milk. Varying the spices makes the biggest difference in flavor. Try it with ginger. Then cocoa. Etc.

Miss Growing Green

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Re: How to make homemade cereal/granola cheaper than boxed cereal??
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2014, 07:26:01 PM »
Thanks for all the tips! I'm always amazed when I can post a topic that seems extremely niche, and have multiple, helpful answers the same day!

I think in the end I'll cut out the almonds and coconut, and add in raisins and sunflower seeds, which are cheaper ingredients.  The idea to replace the syrup with brown sugar dissolved in water is a great idea and will cut costs for sure.

And yes, I was comparing serving size to serving size, only because I was comparing it to a Kashi-type protein cereal that actually has more protein than the granola per serving.  But, my husband reports the granola is filling him up more than even the protein cereal was, so maybe I shouldn't be comparing them equally!

expatartist

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Re: How to make homemade cereal/granola cheaper than boxed cereal??
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2014, 07:37:22 PM »
DH doesn't like any sugars (besides honey and fruits), I don't like raisins, and we don't have an oven, so I make DIY muesli with:

* Rolled oats
* Peanuts (unsalted, instead of more expensive nuts)
* Dried bananas, pulverized with a pestle (cheap!)
* Misc dried fruits like craisins if on sale
* Sunflower seeds (unsalted of course)
* Bran or flaxseed or 'bran stix' to add diversity to the grains

We go through nearly a kilo per week of this stuff - most of it eaten by him! He prefers cold milk, I prefer hot water to make a thick porridge.