Winter mornings can be tough. Waking up when it's still dark out, the cold of the floor when climbing out of bed and the thought of the inevitable frosted car windshield never fail to make me want to crawl back under the covers.
When I was first dealing with my celiac diagnosis I was devastated that it would mean the end of hot breakfast cereal. It was a serious winter staple for me! Cold cereal in the winter just didn't cut it, and I loved the versatility I had when deciding what to add. Fresh berries, slivered almonds, flax, raisins, brown sugar, the possibilities really are endless!
I knew that oats were problematic and that cream of wheat was completely off limits. I didn't think that other options even existed.
I have since learned that it is relatively simple to make hot breakfast cereal out of just about any grain, and that there are so many options out there! Now, what makes getting up worth it for me is knowing I have a delicious hot breakast in my future.
Here are some of our favorite gluten-free hot breakfast cereals. Check them out and share your favorites with us as well!
1. Brown Rice
Brown rice - high in fiber, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, protein and potassium - provides a nutrient packed breakfast. Its nutty flavor makes it a great base for toppings such as berries and nuts but is also delicious with just a little sweetner and a splash of soy or almond milk.
My personal favorite is Arrowhead Mills' Rice & Shine. I also recently tried Bob's Red Mill Organic Creamy Brown Rice Farina and it was also fantastic! Other brands use brown rice as a base and add additional grains such as amaranth, quinoa and flax. Bakery on Main Amaranth Organic Gluten-Free Hot Breakfast is a great option and includes brown rice, amaranth, corn and flax.
No, buckwheat does not contain wheat, and yes, buckwheat is a gluten-free grain! Additionally, it is full of antioxidants and protein, and can improve heart health by helping to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
There are a few brands out there that make cream of buckwheat cereal, including Bob's Red Mill Organic Creamy Buckwheat Cereal, Arrowhead Mills Maple Buckwheat Hot Cereal and Hodgson Mill Creamy Buckwheat Cereal, which includes flaxseed. The favorite at our house is Pocono Organic Cream of Buckwheat Cereal.
You're probably wondering what kind of hot breakfast cereal is made from corn. Before starting a gluten-free diet, I had never as much as tried grits, and now it's quite the morning staple around here. What I love most about grits is that they are delicious either sweet or savory. Sometimes I'm in the mood to add some almond butter and strawberries and others I add chopped spinach, tomatoes, and feta. I haven't found other hot cereals to have the same versatility. Grits are also high in protein and folates, and are a healthy source of carbohydrates.
While traditional grits are usually made from corn, it is still important to buy gluten-free grits. Sometimes other grains such as barley are used, and even if the grits are strictly corn they may be rife with cross-contamination.
The great news is that there are plenty of brands that make gluten-free grits, and they are all delicious. Some of our favorites include Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Corn Grits, Julia's Pantry Organic Steel Cut Gluten-Free Yellow Grits and Palmetto Farms White Stone Ground Grits. Bob's Red Mill also makes millet grits, which provide a healthier alternative to corn as millet is full of protein and fiber. Millet grits are a bit sweeter than corn and in addition to hot cereal, make great side dishes!
This option requires a disclaimer: oats, even when labeled gluten-free, can still be problematic. While regular oats do not contain gluten, the harvesting, processing and storage phases bring a huge cross-contamination risk. Due to this, many companies have begun regulating this process in order to create gluten-free oats. All of that said, some people with celiac still have issues with digesting gluten-free oats and the jury is still out on what exactly is causing people discomfort. When eating oats, proceed with caution, but most people with celiac should be able to tolerate about 3/4 of a cup of gluten-free oats each day.
And now I will sing praises to gluten-free oats. Oats are high in fiber and low in fat and calories. They are also packed with thiamin, magnesium and phosphorus, and could even help lower your cholesterol. My favorite gluten-free oatmeals are Bakery on Main Instant Oatmeal, Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats and GlutenFreeda Instant Oatmeal Variety Packs. Bakery on Main deserves an extra shoutout for their creative flavors: apple pie, blueberry scone, maple multigrain muffin, strawberry shortcake, traditional, and my favorite, carrot cake.
The gluten-free oatmeal cups popping up everywhere have also been a serious timesaver as I can keep a few at work and just add hot water for a delicious, hot breakfast. Bob's Red Mill makes gluten-free flavored oatmeal cups in a variety of flavors, as does GlutenFreeda.
5. Create Your Own Combination!
While this is definitely the more time consuming route, a homemade breakfast is often the tastiest and won't contain any of the extras and additives that packaged food frequently does. Also, mixing grains allows you to pack all kinds of nutrients into your bowl! This recipe reminds me the most of the cream of wheat I grew up loving - something I haven't managed to recreate with a store bought hot cereal.
3 tablespoons short grain brown rice
2 tablespoons millet
1 1/2 tablespoons teff
2 (scant) cups of liquid (milk, water, soy or almond milk all work)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1. Place all grains in a coffee grinder and grind until mostly powdery, but not flour. You want a little bit of graininess in there!
2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the remaining ingredients along with the pulverized grains.
3. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently so that there are no lumps. The cereal will begin to cook and thicken. Length of time you cook is based on your preference, but about 10-15 minutes is needed. The cereal DOES thicken a bit as it cools. Add any of our delicious ideas listed below!
*recipe taken from the lovely Tessa Domestic Diva.
Tasty Additions to Hot Cereal
Try some of these add-ons to spruce up your cereal bowl and add some nutrients to your breakfast: fresh berries, maple syrup, slivered almonds, coconut sugar, toasted walnuts, cinnamon, peanut butter/nut butters, dried cranberries, candied ginger, honey, dark chocolate chips, banana slices, shredded coconut, candied ginger, dried apricots, raisins, vanilla, or a splash of milk, almond milk or orange juice! Mixing grains together can also be a great way to add some protein to your breakfast: gluten-free additions like quinoa, sorghum and flax all give a huge boost, and just one cup of teff provides all the iron your body needs for the day!