GF Recipes, GF Resources, Healthy Living

Gluten-Free Breakfast and The Balanced Platter

32 Comments 03 January 2012

On January 1st, 2012, a new gluten-free website launched that you all need to know about. It’s called The Balanced Platter created by Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake and Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, and it’s purpose is to provide you with gluten-free diet tips from your favorite gluten-free bloggers.  You’ll find tips, recipes, how-to’s, and product reviews from a variety of perspectives, but each contributor is linked with one common goal…balanced, healthy, gluten-free living.

Whether you have been newly diagnosed as a celiac, lived gluten-free for years, or just feel better when eating a healthy, gluten-free diet, The Balanced Platter will be a wonderful resource for you.

I’m honored that Amy and Maggie asked me to contribute today’s post for The Balanced Platter.  And since we’re starting at the beginning of a new year, I thought I’d start by sharing tips for the beginning of a healthy day.

Breakfast

Breakfast is often seen as the most challenging meal for those on a gluten-free diet.  If you’re used to eating donuts, pastries, pancakes, and pop tarts, well yes, you’re going to struggle a bit with the transition.  BUT YOU’RE GOING TO FEEL A WHOLE LOT BETTER SOON! There are gluten-free versions of all of your old favorites, but that doesn’t mean that they’re good for you.  Kick the morning junkfood out of your diet and you’ll find that new-found energy and well-being is much more valuable.

The most balanced gluten-free breakfasts are those that are naturally gluten-free.

Smoothies

My favorite way to start the day is with a smoothie.  Pack it with whole fruits, a protein supplement, and maybe even some veggies.  What, veggies? Yes, veggies.  Smoothies are a great way to start your day, and if you build a balanced smoothie with protein, good carbs, and healthy fats, your day will be off to a great start.

Here are some of my favorite smoothie recipes:

For a template for building your own balanced smoothie read Smoothing the GF Transition with Smoothies.

Hot Cereal

As much as I love my smoothies, sometimes I need something warm in my tummy to start the day.  Hot cereal is my second go-to breakfast, and it hardly takes any time at all.  I just bring my grains to a boil in a saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer while I dash to the mirror blow dry my hair.

Be careful when selecting a gluten-free hot cereal as grains are often processed along on the same production lines as wheat products.  You can’t go wrong with gluten-free cereals from Bob’s Red Mill.  And have you discovered quinoa yet? Quinoa has 24 grams of protein per cup!  Here are some gluten-free hot cereals and grains that I love:

  1. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain, Rolled Oats
  2. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Buckwheat Groats
  3. Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Gluten Free Hot Cereal
  4. Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes
  5. Gifts of Nature Certified Gluten Free Whole Oat Groats
But I rarely prepare a plain hot cereal.  I enjoy combining my favorite flavors, and I love the combos that can be prepped ahead of time so I can grab a satisfying breakfast and run out the door. Three of my favorite hot cereal combos are:

Eggs

Eggs are a great way to start your gluten-free day with a tasty protein source and vegetables.  Add a sprinkle of cheese, saute a few veggies, slide them on a slice of your favorite whole-grain gluten-free toast, and you’re on your way.  If you have time for something a little more culinarily romantic, how about these?

Cold Cereals

But aren’t there cold cereals that are gluten-free and wholesome? Absolutely.  You just need to read your labels.  Look for a cereal that is high in fiber without added sugar.  I love Erewhon Corn Flakes, because their ingredients are simply organic milled corn and sea salt.  Can you get any more pure than that?  Add a protein source like skim milk or a nut milk, sprinkle on a few nuts, slice up some fresh fruit, and you have a balanced breakfast.

Here’s a soaked raw grain breakfast called tRAWpical Oat Breakfast that I’m crazy about. Soak buckwheat and oat groats overnight, puree the soft grains in the morning with dates, nuts, and spices, and you’ll have a creamy, delicious breakfast with leftovers for the rest of the week.

Fruit

Fresh fruit is always naturally gluten-free.  Stick with seasonal fruits to give variety to your diet and to find the most delicious options.  Just add a protein source to make sure you stay satisfied throughout the morning.

Additional Gluten-Free Protein Sources:

I keep mentioning the need to add protein.  While gluten-free grains do have some protein, my body seems to require more. If you’re like me, try these options:

  • eggs
  • yogurt
  • cottage cheese
  • milk or nut milks
  • nuts and seeds
  • nut butters
  • hemp seeds
  • protein powders (read labels carefully)
  • super greens like spirulina
According to About.com, these are the top 10 gluten-free grains ranked highest to lowest for protein content in one cup of the uncooked grain.
  1. Amaranth – 28.1 grams
  2. Oats – 26.3 grams
  3. Teff – 25.7 grams
  4. Quinoa – 24 grams
  5. Wild Rice – 23.6 grams
  6. Buckwheat – 22.5 grams
  7. Millet – 22 grams
  8. Sorghum – 21.7 grams
  9. Brown Rice – 14.7 grams
  10. White Rice – 13.1 grams

Make a Healthy Version of Your Favorites

Eating a balanced, gluten-free diet doesn’t mean that we say goodbye to our old favorites.  It means we’re smarter about how we make them.  I still make French toast, but I use egg whites, almond butter, and bananas instead of drenching it in powdered sugar and syrup.  I still make pancakes, but I choose almond flour to increase satisfaction and to decrease the post carb lull.

Give it a try.  How can you make your favorite breakfast just a little more balanced?

(For more wonderful breakfast ideas like chia puddings and tofu scrambles, check out Breakfast Bias by Valerie of City|Life|Eats.)

Each day in January you’ll find more balanced tips at The Balanced Platter. Be sure to check out Kalinda’s tips tomorrow at Wheat Free Meat Free. And you won’t want to miss the Balanced Platter Baking Gift Pack give-away on February 1st!

Reader questions:

  • What are you favorite gluten-free breakfasts?
  • How have you adapted your favorite breakfast items to make them gluten-free and healthier?
Disclaimer:  I am not a nutritionist or health expert.  The above tips are based on 7 years of personal experience of pursuing a well-balanced, gluten-free diet.

Your Comments

32 Comments so far

  1. Ah breakfast…my favorite meal! Question for you re: protein powders: do you have a non-dairy/whey/hemp one that you really like? I’ve been hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t have an off flavor. Would love to get your thoughts… :)

    • Janel says:

      Garden of Life’s “Raw Protein” is excellent!!! It’s non-dairy/whey/hemp and it’s gf. I’ve tried many and it’s my favorite because it is so well-balanced. It has live probiotics and enzymes and the protein sources are from sprouted grains and seeds which makes it highly digestible. 17g protein per serving, no sugar. Just know that it really has NO flavor, so mix it in w/smoothies or I also put it in gf oatmeal or gf oat bars.

      • Heather says:

        I’ve tried the sample packets of Raw Protein and loved them. Just having a hard time taking the financial plunge. Yikes!! But so incredibly good for you. Thanks for posting the nutritional specs here.

    • Heather says:

      Breakfast is my favorite meal too. The perfect day would contain 3 breakfast meals…for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. :) I really like Nutribody Protein. It’s vegan and made from brown rice and pea protein. I really like the flavor…it’s a bit deeper, nuttier than others I’ve tried.
      http://www.nutribodyprotein.com/

  2. Maggie says:

    Heather this is such a great post! Thank you so much for sharing this and helping us launch TBP! We’re honored to have you on board. I always love reading your posts. I am so with you on the smoothie. I jump out of bed for mine! It’s freezing here today so I just might make some oatmeal too :) My husband likes the Vega Vanilla protein powder.

  3. Alicia says:

    Had gf oatmeal this morning. It’s freezing here in Florida. I put my oats in our coffee grinder to make them a more satisfying consistency. I also add raisins, flax, almond milk, coconut and cinnamon.

  4. Deanna says:

    I’m having a delicious green smoothie for breakfast right now! Breakfast is still my favorite meal of the day, even without gluten. Loads of great ideas here.

  5. Kathryn says:

    This is a great post. Breakfast is not my favorite meal of the day so there is a lot of inspiration to glean. I like to make a breakfast cake with almond meal the night before so my guys can have a nice amount of protein to start their day.

  6. I didn’t realize just how high in protein amaranth was! I will be making amaranth for breakfast in the near future :)

    My favorite gluten-free breakfast is homemade pancakes with real maple syrup on top.

  7. Great tips all around, even if you’re not celiac. I know I’m not and I love cooking gluten free. We should all eat a lot of it anyway. Love the options you’ve highlighted.

  8. Hi Heather!

    This is one of the most thorough posts I’ve seen on breakfast dishes. I love all the info you have, especially the protein counts. I need protein in order to feel my best.

    Thanks so much for your support of The Balanced Platter! We’re loving the new site and it seems everyone else is, too!

    Big hugs,
    Amy

  9. Amber says:

    Hi Heather,

    Great post! I love it. I’m a big breakfast girl too and this is such a great resource.

    Great job!

    Best,
    –Amber

  10. Caitlyn says:

    We have two little daughters and the only meal that they consistently eat is breakfast. So- we try to make it an healthy as possible. We almost always eat farm eggs and then some other side like Pamela’s pancakes. Great post, thanks for the help!

    • Heather says:

      Breakfast is definitely the most kid-friendly. What a blessing that your kids are learning the value of a healthy breakfast at such a young age. Way to go mom!!

  11. Christine says:

    Great tips for breakfast! I’ll have to try out the tRAWpical oatmeal as that sounds amazing!

    My favourite breakfast is natural peanut butter (or other nut butter) toast with fruit. Yum!

  12. Kristin W. says:

    WOW! You just gave me so many NEW great ideas! I am a breakfast gal also and breakfast can be hard. I am so excited to try all of these recipe’s!!! Fantastic Post!

  13. I love this post. I just wrote up something similar for a different New Year’s challenge and linked yours :) Happy New Year :)

  14. Wow, you covered everything with this post! I thought I was a smoothie aficionado, but I’ve never thought of adding cardamom. Great idea. I love that spice. And I love breakfasts so this post was right up my alley. Loved it!

  15. Gena says:

    Great and comprehensive post! And I, too, loved Valerie’s.

    Just wanted to say that I really adore the attitude and approach on your blog — it’s so very modest and sane.


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  1. Breakfast Bias - 07. Jan, 2012

    [...] (though, I admit, things like chia pudding require a bit of a palate adjustment for some). Heather of Gluten-Free Cat just did a great post on breakfast, and I love this breakfast post by Ricki as well – while it is geared to those on the anti-candida [...]

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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, friend, fitness fanatic, foodie, high raw vegan, child of the King, and Mama Cat. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. And now I have another challenge ahead...I'm moving to New York City! I look forward to Living Raw Vegan in the City and sharing my experience with you.

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