Start Your Day Right With A Whole Grain Breakfast
Start your day right with whole grains at the breakfast table for good health—get these top 4 expert tips on how to enjoy a whole grain breakfast the easy way.
Nothing says “rise and shine!” better than a well-balanced, plant-powered breakfast. Starting your day with a meal emphasizing whole plant foods, including those wonderful, crunchy, nutrient-packed whole grains, is an easy way to take care of your body. In fact, your daily breakfast is the perfect opportunity to add more nutrients and fiber to your day, and a good way to help you reach your whole grains goal. I recommend that you include at least three servings of whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, quinoa, amaranth, teff, sorghum, buckwheat, wild rice, and wheat (including farro, spelt, Kamut, and bulgur), in your diet every day for optimal health. At least one of those servings should be at the breakfast table! Eating more whole grains is a healthy habit—it’s been linked with reducing your risks of developing chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. You can even maintain a healthier weight with the help of whole grains. So bring ‘em on!
There are so many different breakfast foods that feature whole grains, from porridge and cereals to pancakes, waffles, and muffins. These delicious whole grain breakfast meals can help keep you feeling full for hours, and add a healthy dose of plant protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your diet. One cup of raw oats has an amazing 11 grams of protein, and offers 27% of the Daily Value of magnesium, 43% of the Daily Value of selenium, and 27% of the Daily Value of zinc, for example. By adding more whole grains to your breakfast, you’ll get these important nutrients plus more!
Not only that, focusing on plant foods for breakfast is truly one of the best ways to cut back on your animal food intake; and if you go meatless for breakfast seven days a week, you can make a significant dent in your carbon footprint, as well as health. Protecting and preserving our Earth is so important for the lives of future generations, and adopting a plant-based diet is a simple and great way to care for the environment and our bodies. With so many delicious meatless recipes and options in the supermarket available, you won’t even miss the bacon at the breakfast table!
Figuring out where to add whole grains into your diet, especially at breakfast, can be tricky. However, there are lots of simple swaps and additions you can make to create a healthy and delicious breakfast, and truly start your day off right. And, switching to whole grains can also be a cost savor, as whole grains are good for your wallet and health!
Check out these top tips on how you can boost whole grains in your breakfast each morning, for good health and good taste.
1. Cook up those Whole Grains. Try cooking up a pot of ancient grains, such as quinoa, millet, or amaranth and reheating it in the morning. Even brown rice can be a nice change to your standard bowl of oatmeal. Not that you can’t enjoy an amazing bowl of steel cut or old-fashioned oats, either! Top with nuts or seeds and fresh seasonal or preserved (canned, frozen or dried) fruit, and within minutes, you have a beautifully balanced breakfast.
2. Breakfast Breads Done Right. For breakfast breads, from pancakes and waffles to muffins or toast, make sure to use 100% whole grain products in your recipe. Their low-glycemic index will help keep your blood sugar steady and prevent a mid-morning crash before lunchtime even hits, plus you’ll get the full benefits of those healthy whole grains. Plus, the uniquely nutty flavor of whole grain flours, like quinoa or spelt, will add another level to your baked goods.
3. Use Whole Grains in Creative Ways. Whole grains are so versatile! Try adding them to your usual breakfast in creative ways, such as adding less familiar whole-grain flours (try quinoa to teff) to your batters and creating overnight oats bowls (just mix up oats and your favorite plant-based milk and topping, then chill them in the fridge overnight for a grab and go breakfast).
4. Choose Whole Grain Products Wisely.If you choose to turn to ready-to-eat breakfast cereals and products, check out the ingredients list to make sure the first ingredient is a whole grain—or look for the Whole Grains Council Whole Grain Stamps, which indicate the presence of whole grains in your food choice.
Remember this: All of those whole grain choices in your morning routine will help provide important fiber and nutrients for vibrant health, so enjoy some today!
Here are some of my favorite breakfast recipes that feature whole grains:
Written by Kathryn Atkinson, dietetic intern, with Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN
Photos and recipes by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN
Main image: Strawberry Banana Coconut Baked Oatmeal
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Try cooking up your next whole grain breakfast with an Instant Pot!
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