Three Creative Whole Grain Breakfast Ideas to Start the Day Right

By Bethany Johnson in Healthy Feeling

In the last few years, whole grains have finally gotten the recognition they deserve. The Whole Grains Council defines them as kernels that include all the important parts of the seed, like the bran and germ. They’re essentially a nutrient-dense superfood. When you add more whole grain food into your family’s diet, you can expect more protein, fiber, iron, and other nutrients to come with it. Many people even taste a difference when they serve it at home.

Whole Grains Taste Better sign

To harness the goodness, start your family’s morning with a healthy whole grain breakfast. Here are three creative ideas to try this week.

La Quinoa Casserola

This dish is an original recipe that incorporates quinoa, a gluten-free whole grain celebrated for having more protein than all other grains, as reported by Rodale’s Organic Life. I love this meal for its make-ahead character—I whip it up the night before and rest assured my family will get a nutritious whole grain breakfast casserole without adding another task to my morning routine.

whole grain breakfast casserole

What you need:

  • 3 quart glass baking dish, oiled with coconut oil
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa, prepared
  • 1/2 cup organic cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup organic whole milk
  • 10 oz. chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 Tbsp. hot sauce
  • 4 oz. mild cheddar cheese
  • 6 oz. Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat the eggs together in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk cream (or yogurt) and milk together until it’s sufficiently blended. This is a perfect step to involve small hands for “assistance.” First combine both mixtures, then add all your other ingredients, and stir them together.

breakfast casserole, before baking

Pour the mixture into your baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until the eggs have set. Garnish with a few more sprigs of fresh cilantro and, if your kids have adventurous palates, serve with a bit of hot sauce.

baked breakfast casserole

Buck Tradition Pancakes

Where I live in the Mid-Atlantic, flapjacks have earned a reputation for being a true comfort food. My kids view pancakes as a sweet, cozy, belly-filler. I, on the other hand, find satisfaction in the ability to customize a buckwheat pancake for a variety of nutritious whole grain breakfast ideas.

buckwheat pancakes are a whole grain breakfast option

To get started, gather your base ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 6 Tbsp. buckwheat flour
  • 6 Tbsp. organic einkorn flour
  • 1/2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch salt

First, make the batter by combining the egg, flour, baking powder, salt, and almond milk. Mix them well!

Heat the coconut oil over medium heat. The pan is ready when a single drop of water sizzles before evaporating. Drop 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan. When the batter’s bubbles start to pop, flip the pancake and cook for 1 more minute before removing from heat. Repeat until the batter is gone.

To customize, garnish your whole grain flapjacks with slices of strawberry, banana, and crushed nuts.

add banana for even more nutrients with your whole grain breakfast

Oats to Go

Realistically, weekdays don’t afford much time for gourmet breakfasts, so I keep a few whole grain breakfast options on hand in the form of oat bars. With only five ingredients, this recipe is a classic. You won’t feel guilty about on-the-go snacks, since these squares pack the same nutritious punch you’d get from a steaming bowl of whole grain oatmeal.

The four ingredients you need are:

  • 1 tsp. vanilla (try a homemade variety)
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • coconut oil

no bake whole grain breakfast bars

To make this, simply combine the vanilla, almond butter, and honey in a glass mixing bowl.

child making no bake breakfast bars

Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until soft, then add rolled oats and mix well. Prepare a glass dish by oiling the bottom and sides with organic coconut oil. Then, transfer your mixture into the dish, pressing down with a spatula to even it out.

Cover and refrigerate overnight, then cut into squares and serve. Store these bars in the fridge to keep them firm, and offer them up as a special breakfast treat when you’re crunched for time before work or school. Kids will be especially surprised to hear how healthy these delightful little goodies are.

When you think of whole grains, you might imagine lunches, dinners, or even snacks. But with a little creativity, the goodness of whole grain can be worked into the morning meal just as easily.

What’s your favorite whole grain breakfast recipe? Tweet pictures of your healthy creation to @TomsofMaine!

Image source: Bethany Johnson

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Morning is no time to indulge for time's sake, or feel guilty about not getting enough nutrition. Prepare the night before by incorporating one (or all) of these recipes into your morning routine. Not only will you enjoy the feeling of a full belly, but you'll also know you're serving the goodness of whole grains to your family before you head out the door.