As far as healthy desserts for kids go, this recipe is super easy. Your kids will have no clue these brown rice, low-sugar, peanut butter rice krispie treats are actually good for them!
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Sometime in the middle of toddlerhood, it happened.
Deep down I hoped it never would, but after multiple birthday parties, holiday gatherings, and visits to friends’ houses, my oldest daughter acquired a taste for sweets.
If I were honest with myself I knew this day would come eventually. I mean, with my own
addiction habit of eating Ghirardelli chocolate chips every evening, who was I kidding? But in the la-la land of my idealistic goals for my daughter, one was that she wouldn’t need or even want sweet treats.
And then I woke up.
Because let’s be honest, in the culture we live in lollipops are in just about every shop we visit. Candy is now thrown from floats during Fourth of July parades and every gathering with friends – whether our own or our kids – inevitably includes some chocolatey or sweet indulgence.
The world is stacked against parents trying to raise kids who don’t have a taste for sweets.
So eventually I caved, but not entirely.
While we do occasionally have cookies, ice cream or even (gasp!) brownies in our house, I try my best to offer my kids desserts that at least have some nutritional value.
It’s not always easy, but I’ve found a few desserts that do the trick. This recipe for peanut butter rice krispie treats was one of the first healthy dessert recipes I tried and fortunately, my kids are TOTALLY fooled (husband included).
Every time they bite into a semi-sweet crunchy square they have no idea they’re eating nutritious brown rice and protein-rich peanut butter, plus a lot less sugar than the traditional marshmallow kind. Win. Win.
The great thing about these treats is that they can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. The only stumbling block might be some of the less well-known ingredients.
But DON’T WORRY! Even though most of this recipe’s ingredients can be found in grocery stores or online, a few aren’t as readily available. But easy substitutions exist that result in equally yummy treats.
Brown rice syrup: While I’ve found brown rice syrup in conventional grocery stores, it’s not always available, in which case substituting maple syrup or honey also works. Just note that maple syrup and honey are a bit sweeter than brown rice syrup so you may want to adjust accordingly. (You can also order brown rice syrup on Amazon here.)
Brown Rice Crisps: You can find these under the 365 brand at Whole Foods, but if you don’t have a Whole Foods near you and have no idea where to find brown rice crisps, good ole Rice Krispies also work.
- ¾ cup natural peanut butter (like Smucker's)
- ½ cup brown rice syrup (or maple syrup or honey)
- 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon gelatin or to make vegetarian treats, use 2½ teaspoons
- 4 cups unsweetened brown rice crisp cereal
- Place brown rice crisp cereal in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the peanut butter, brown rice syrup, salt and gelatin or agar flakes in a medium saucepan and heat on low, stirring constantly until combined and slightly bubbling.
- Pour peanut butter mixture into rice cereal and stir until combined. Then pour combined mixture into an 8 X 8 inch pan, cover and place in refrigerator for at least an hour. Once set, cut into squares and enjoy!
Cool Mom Status
Want to be a cool mom while still maintaining your integrity?
Let your kids think they’re eating dessert for- get this – a snack. And these rice krispie treats fit the bill.
The other day one of my daughters – rummaging through the refrigerator for an afternoon snack – said in her innocent sweet voice: “Mom, could it be a special day and I have one of the rice krispie treats for a snack?”
“Hmmm….” I said, trying to put on my best impression of thinking through a really tough decision.
After a few moments of deep contemplation, I said, “Well, perhaps just this once,” knowing full well this was a far better choice than even a granola bar or dried fruit.
“Cool, thanks!” she said and then bragged to her sister about her achievement.
So while I’ll never win an award for keeping my daughters off of sweets (as if that was a realistic goal anyway), I suppose a good runner-up is getting my kids to think I’m a cool mom for letting them eat a dessert for snack time.
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