People who are gluten intolerant or who have celiac disease must follow a strict gluten-free diet to help avoid discomfort and/or serious health complications. That means staying away from wheat, rye and barley and sometimes oats. Fortunately, breakfast doesn't have to take hours of effort because there are plenty of gluten-free choices out there so you can satisfy your appetite and face the day.
Eggs are naturally gluten-free, which makes them the perfect breakfast choice. Not only are they safe to eat, but eggs also contain a wealth of nutrients that support good overall health. They are very versatile, which means you can cook them in many ways so you don't get bored eating the same thing every morning.
Try the following delicious ideas to get your morning started out right.
- Make an omelet and add sliced veggies and cheese.
- Bake a crustless quiche with your favorite fillings.
- Serve scrambled eggs wrapped in corn tortillas and topped with melted cheddar and salsa for a yummy gluten-free breakfast burrito.
Oatmeal is a tricky food when it comes to a gluten-free meal plan. Oats themselves are gluten-free, but are often grown or processed in the same ground and facilities as wheat, which contaminates them. If you are gluten intolerant, you might be able to eat them without a problem. However, if you have celiac disease, you might compromise your health eating oats. Look for certified gluten-free oats and go ahead and enjoy these yummy breakfast ideas.
- Cook a batch of oatmeal according to the package directions, then jazz it up with fill-ins like raisins, brown sugar, fresh sliced fruit or chopped nuts.
- Make a batch of oatmeal breakfast bars using the following recipe:
- 2 cups gluten-free oats
- 1 cup gluten-free flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large banana, mashed
- 1 cup applesauce or other pureed fruit
- 1 cup milk
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar
- Drizzle of honey
- Dash of vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the oats with the flour and baking powder.
- Add the banana, applesauce and milk and stir well to combine.
- Season the bars with cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar.
- Drizzle in the honey and the vanilla and stir well to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 8x8 baking pan.
- Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the bars are set and cooked through.
You might not be able to get by on fruit alone for breakfast, but it sure makes a great addition to the other gluten-free choices you've selected. Fruit is naturally gluten-free and chock full of nutrients that make for a healthy morning meal. Try the following ideas for a refreshing dose of fruit before you start your day.
- Dice and toss together any fruit you have on hand. Bananas, oranges, pears, apples, kiwis, mangos and berries are great choices. Drizzle with a bit of lime juice just before serving.
- A fruit smoothie is an inexpensive choice and can be easily made by combining fruit in the blender with milk or juice and adding flavor with honey.
- Of course, you can also serve breakfast with fresh fruit without doing anything fancy with it. A banana or apple are great portable choices that taste good too.
Yogurt is another naturally gluten-free choice, in most cases, and is a healthy choice for any meal, breakfast included. You can simply eat a carton of it before you head out the door, but there are also lots of tasty things you can do with yogurt to turn it into a full blown meal.
- Top plain Greek yogurt with chopped fresh fruit, gluten-free granola and a drizzle of honey.
- Add a scoop of your favorite yogurt to a fruit smoothie for a thicker consistency and a boost of nutrition.
- Use yogurt as a substitute for butter on gluten-free pancakes. It tastes great combined with real maple syrup.
Breads are something that generally have to be avoided if you're following a gluten-free diet because most are made with wheat flour. However, there are many sweet bread mixes and recipes using alternative flours so you can enjoy your favorites in the morning.
- Serve a gluten-free chocolate muffin with yogurt, fruit or both.
- Have a slice of banana bread with a hard-boiled egg and fruit.
- Try this recipe for cinnamon raisin French toast on a morning when you have time to go all out:
- 2 slices gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread (you can use store bought or make it from a mix)
- 1 egg, beaten with a bit of milk
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Cooking spray
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray.
- Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture and allow them to sit for about 30 seconds.
- Lift the bread from the egg and let the excess drain off.
- Fry each slice of French toast for about 2 minutes on each side, or until egg is cooked and set.
- Serve with your favorite toppings. Syrup, yogurt, fresh fruit, peanut butter and powdered sugar are great options.
Traditional pancakes are off limits with a gluten-free diet, but you can still eat gluten-free pancakes. You can make them from scratch using alternative flours or purchase a pancake mix at the grocery store. You can often use the same mix to make waffles and you can use the following ideas on both pancakes and waffles.
- Go traditional with butter and warm maple syrup.
- Top yours with Greek yogurt, chopped strawberries and maple syrup.
- Have peanut butter and applesauce on top.
- Mix in chopped berries, mashed bananas or crushed nuts into the batter before cooking the waffles or pancakes.
- Try fruit flavored syrup instead of regular.
Toast is the ultimate in breakfast foods and it's simple to find a range of gluten-free breads at the supermarket or you can make your own. Toast it up like you normally do and you're set with a base that goes wonderfully with the following breakfast accompaniments.
- Serve toast with scrambled eggs and fruit.
- Top toast with a fried egg and a slice of cheese for a gourmet breakfast sandwich.
- Use toast to sop up egg yolk when you have a fried egg.
- Slather your toast with butter, cinnamon and sugar and serve it with oatmeal or yogurt.
Most anyone would love a Danish or donut for breakfast, but that's not always easy on a gluten-free diet. You can still enjoy these treats in the morning by buying them pre-made or creating your own. Check out the following ways to beef up the meal and give yourself something to look forward to.
- Have a gluten-free cream cheese Danish with a pile of fresh strawberries.
- Eat a gluten-free powdered sugar donut with a side of orange segments.
- Dip your gluten-free pastry into coffee or hot chocolate.
Many types of cereal are not gluten-free and must be avoided to stay healthy and comfortable. However, many cereal manufacturers are increasingly catering to the gluten-free crowd by selling gluten-free options, including most of the General Mills Chex cereals.
Serve a bowl of cereal with fresh fruit and you have a well-rounded meal that will be both satisfying and delicious. The following types of cereal are gluten-free, according to the University of Arizona.
- Barbara's Bakery Gluten Free Puffins
- Nature's Path Organic Mesa Sunrise and Corn Flakes
- Glutino Berry Sensible Beginnings
- Enjoy Life Perky's Crunchy Flax
There's no hard and fast rule that says you have to eat traditional breakfast food like oatmeal, cereal or eggs in the morning. If there's a gluten-free meal or food that you love and could enjoy all the time, it's perfectly fine to have it for breakfast without worry. Check out the following "out of the box" breakfast ideas for something different.
- Eat leftovers from dinner the night before.
- Have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on gluten-free sandwich bread.
- Heat up a bowl of gluten-free canned soup.
- Or try this recipe for rice pudding:
- 1/4 cup leftover cooked white rice
- 1/3 cup milk
- Dash cinnamon
- Chopped dried fruit
- Slivered almonds
- Place the rice in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the milk and heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once hot, season with cinnamon and top with dried fruit and nuts.
Making Life Simple
Getting started on a gluten-free diet can make meal planning and prep more time consuming. With time and practice, you'll begin to recognize safe foods and you'll gain confidence and experience cooking gluten-free. In the meantime, it's a good idea to do your research and write everything down. That way you are prepared for breakfast no matter where you are.