A Kinda Genius Way to Eat Chunky Monkey for Breakfast

April 17, 2018

I am what our Director of Partner Content Cory Baldwin calls a "time optimist." I never plan to be late to anything—who does?! Rather, I spend too much time planning every detail, and then I get distracted. If I watch this cat video one more time, I'll still be able to make it there by 9 a.m.; all I have to do is walk briskly and be really aggressive when trying to get into the train. As such, I end up running a little behind of schedule pretty much all the time.

To make it into the office at a reasonable hour, I'd spent most of my adult life skipping breakfast and putting enough whole milk in my coffee that I could pretend I was full until lunch. Some mornings I managed to scarf down unadorned cereal or eat fruit on-the-go, but I still pretended I was full until lunch. (I can't multitask with this; eating and working at the same time means one of them will suffer.)

All of this ended when I saw this Instagram from our very own Kristen Miglore (you may know her from Genius Recipes):

Chunky Monkey for breakfast?!?!?!?!?! Sign me up. But I can honestly say I like this quickie breakfast even better than the ice cream. It's not a character flaw. It's the fact I can enjoy the same flavors minus the sugar crash and the brain freeze. This is all well and good for a Saturday night Jane the Virgin marathon, but in the morning, I'd rather not fall asleep on the lobby sofa.

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The combination of fiber cereal (I like Kashi GoLean), a banana, cacao nibs, and unsweetened nut milk takes me all of five minutes to make and, if I'm really rushing, eat. I've tried it with a less fiber-y cereal (...Frosted Flakes), with chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs, with whole milk instead of almond, and it's simply not the same. While these variations tasted wonderful, more like the ice cream, I didn't have the same amount of focus or energy while I was at work. The bitterness of the cacao nibs plays well with sweetness of the banana, and the nut milk adds...nuttiness. Cereal is cereal; we each have our preferences.

If you don't have time to wash the dish, hide it in your room and deal with it later. Photo by James Ransom

This formula does not need a recipe. You don't have the time to measure. Just eyeball it. Use any cereal—as long as it looks kind of nutritious and is low in sugar—and add any milk with a thinner consistency. It's best if the milk does not have any sugar, either, because you don't want it to hog all the attention from the humble, genuinely sweet banana. If you can't find cacao nibs at the grocery store, order them online. And, if cinnamon is nearby, a few shakes over the bowl go a long way.

I know you're probably thinking: "What's so genius about putting fruit in your cereal? That's literally every picture on a cereal box." Maybe it is silly! But sometimes obvious things can be kind of genius, too.

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From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • witloof
  • CalamityintheKitchen
  • calfe345
  • Shannon Kreisel
    Shannon Kreisel
  • Nikkitha Bakshani
    Nikkitha Bakshani
Former Associate Editor at Food52; still enjoys + talks about food.


witloof April 18, 2018
You'll actually feel infinitely healthier, more energetic and more productive if your breakfast contains no grains and no sugar at all. Cereal causes insulin spikes and blood sugar crashes. You're so much better off with a piece or two of fruit and a handful of nuts or eggs, or maybe fish and vegetables.
calfe345 April 22, 2018
"no sugar at all"
"piece of two of fruit"

Surely the contradiction is evident...
Shannon K. May 29, 2018
That was my thought too. The sugar in fruit is not magic. Bananas have a lot of it especially!
CalamityintheKitchen April 17, 2018
So, cereal? Is the genius breakfast for when you are late? No offense to the author, adding cacao and banana is a great idea. But, c'mon Food52 staff, THIS is your cover article?
Nikkitha B. May 29, 2018
Hello, you certainly have a point! I changed the headline to be less silly. Thank you.