From Rice Krispies to crispy rice

>> Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We've been at this no-HFCS diet for a little over half a year now, and we're generally pretty content with the foods we eat. Favorite foods that contained HFCS have been replaced with equally fine HFCS-free foods, and for the most part, we find that we contentedly over look foods that do contain HFCS (with the exception of my husband and that supermarket sushi). There are a few foods that we haven't been able to find a good substitute for, though. Nilla wafers, for example - every single variation of Nilla Wafer that I've seen contains HFCS - and until recently, Rice Krispies.

Did you realize that Kellogg's Rice Krispies and most Rice Krispies knock-offs contain HFCS? You know I'm an ingredient reader, so see for yourself: rice, sugar, salt, malt flavoring, high fructose corn syrup, vitamins, and iron. HFCS is a common ingredient in cereals - even some that promote themselves as being uber-healthy. We tried a few Rice Krispie-like cereals (like Nature's Path Organic Crispy Rice), but they just weren't the same. The texture wasn't quite right or they tasted a little like cardboard. So, we set aside those recipes that called for Rice Krispies.

Just before Christmas, I happened upon a cereal I've overlooked in the past - Natural Directions Organic Crispy Brown Rice. This cereal is fantastic! Take a look at the ingredients: organic whole grain brown rice, sea salt, organic barley malt. That's it! The texture is right - crisp, light, and airy, just like Kellogg's Rice Krispies - and the addition of the barley malt gives it the right flavor. There's no sugar, though barley malt is apparently converted pretty easily into simple sugars (probably mostly maltose) and is sometimes used as a natural sweetener. The Natural Directions cereal is even made from whole grain brown rice and has less salt per serving than Rice Krispies!

I really don't make many opportunities to use crispy rice, but I used the Natural Directions crispy rice in a peanut butter ball dessert recipe over Christmas and in a new granola bar recipe tonight. It's a great replacement for traditional rice krispies. I'm sure that it would be fantastic in a marshmallow laden rice krispie treat! (Hey, just because we're eating healthier doesn't mean we don't get to have a dessert every now and then!)

If you've seen a HFCS-free vanilla wafer product, I'd love to hear about it. And if you have a nilla wafer recipe, care to share?


laura January 21, 2009 at 6:48 AM  

Thanks for this. I put Rice Krispies in a granola bar recipe just to use them up...and discovered I loved the addition. I don't think I can get that brand here but with your recommendation I'll give brown rice cereal a try.

fatfighter January 21, 2009 at 7:52 AM  

I don't even think Rice Krispies are "sweet" so why use HFCS in them? Weird. Thanks for the great find. I will have to see if we have that brand around here.

Choofy Mama January 21, 2009 at 9:50 AM  

we've found a couple nilla wafer alternatives. i make little cheesecakes in mini muffins with these guys

and then i found these but haven't used them

Sagan January 22, 2009 at 8:02 AM  

I'm impressed with that cereal. It seems that even lots of health blogger types don't pay so much attention to ingredients so it makes me very excited that you really read those lists:D

cathy January 22, 2009 at 8:56 AM  

Laura - they add a nice, light crunch to granola bars, don't they? Let me know if you find another brand that you like!

Fatfighter - They don't really seem sweet, but they have HFCS AND sugar as main ingredients!

Choofy Mama - You rock! We have those brands here, but I haven't seen the vanilla wafers. I'll have to request them or else order them online. I heart Amazon!

Sagan - I started reading labels when my kids had food intolerances. Now it's a habit - and a habit that plays into my geeky side at that. It's amazing the strange ingredients you find even in simple foods!

Erin February 4, 2009 at 10:15 AM  


I'm new to this blog, but have been weeding out HFCS and partially-hydrogenated oils from our food for over a year now. I NEVER thought to check the Kellog's Rice Krispies and am incredibly disappointed that they contain HFCS. No more! No more for us!

By the way, what about "corn syrup" listed as an ingredient in food? Is it just as bad? Are you also striking those foods from your pantry? Just curious. The fewer the ingredients list, the better (IMHO), but that Rice Krispie find - ug! I can't stand that!

MaryBeth February 15, 2009 at 6:19 PM  

I am brand new to your blog... happened upon it tonight from another site. I just started working toward removing HFCS from our house. My DH would do like yours and go through and chunk it all, but he's in Iraq, so I'm doing it the frugal way.... reading labels and not bringing back into the house things that contain it. I was shocked last week when our Rice Krispies ran out to discover HFCS in the ingredients list! I don't think we have the replacement brand you mentioned around here (we're in GA), but I'm going to check. Thanks for the great resource. I'm looking forward to reading much more!!

Anonymous March 3, 2009 at 8:38 AM  

For Rice Krispies Treats don't you need marshmallows? All the marshmallows I've seen at my store have HFCS. Have you found a recipe for them that doesn't use marshmallows or maybe marshmallows without HFCS?

cathy March 3, 2009 at 9:11 AM  

Anonymous - the Jet-Puffed marshmallows that I've bought in the past have been HFCS-free.

Anonymous July 23, 2009 at 9:03 PM  

Thanks for the Rice Krispies substitute suggestion.

We're going to try making our own marshmallows. Corn syrup (more glucose than fructose, so yes, made by a different process than HFCS) is still in many recipes, but we found without corn syrup here:

Now if we can find an aspartame-free version of Fiber One, we'll be in business with our bar recipe:

Anonymous March 20, 2011 at 10:36 PM  

Thank you sooo much for this info...i have been looking for rice krispies that my son can eat that doesnt have HFCS.

MerladyK October 19, 2016 at 10:59 AM  

I was so excited to find this old blog post that gave me an alternative to Rice Krispies! I went right to the manufacturer's site to see where I could get it, and ... I discovered they don't make it anymore! So sad! On with the search...

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