Breakfast – hallowed as the most important meal of the day – is also easily the most gluten-filled. Gluten, a protein found in most grains – and a source of gastric distress for many people – seems to be ever-present among many breakfast foods. Given our fast-breaking world filled with biscuits, pastries, waffles, pancakes, cereals, and breakfast sandwiches galore, anyone gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant would cringe at their options (or lack thereof).
It can be saddening to have to give up certain foods we love – how could we forget Grandma’s pancakes on Saturday mornings, or chocolate croissants from our favorite bakery? Thankfully, those with sensitivities needn’t fear – learn to spot a few gluten alternatives, and you’ll set yourself up for a dietary win. There are also many quick and easy recipes you can master that will help you feel full for the entire morning, without upsetting your stomach. To become better acquainted with ingredient do’s and dont’s while keeping your breakfast gluten-free, read on.
Look for corn alternatives
Think Corn Chex for a safe cereal, or corn tortillas in a savory breakfast burrito. Yes, corn itself is a substitute; sometimes accompanying ingredients, however, are not. Be on the lookout for sauces and other foodstuffs packaged with corn that might contain gluten.
Paleo? It’s a go
If it’s paleo-friendly, it’s automatically gluten-free. This type of diet aims to mimic those of our hunting and gathering ancestors (read: the Paleolithic Era), before the era of farming brought on new food groups: dairy products, legumes, and grains. Bagging grain-free granola is a great example of an easy snack prep, with ingredients that make going paleo and kicking gluten no-nonsense habits. Paleo wraps are also a light and easily-flavored food vessel to use instead of the bread in your wraps or sandwiches.
Don’t hate on veggie-based
A more recent trend, vegetable-based alternatives are both gluten-free and low-carb. Many are mildly flavored and versatile, like cauliflower or broccoli, both favorable gluten subs. It also absorbs the flavor of other ingredients; get creative, and you can flavor it a multitude of ways. Chop or crush it, and you’ve got a white flour substitute for baking. Others use cauliflower to swap out the rice in sushi, stuffed peppers, and taco bowls. Most of us aren’t consuming our recommended daily servings of vegetables, so all the more reason to give this one a try.
Some grains are gluten-free
Not all grains are created glutenly-equal: wave goodbye to wheat, barley, and rye, and say hello to buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and brown rice. Blander grains like these can easily be spiced, sweetened, or otherwise flavored for a more enjoyable meal. Herby quinoa patties (great with ketchup!) make a great light meal or savory side dish. Mix in pesto with either grain for a delicious warm dish (the pine nuts in pesto are fine to have). Speaking of nuts…
That’s right – all nuts are naturally sans gluten. (Seeds are, too!) Peanut butter and almond butter remain reliable and tummy-safe spreads on gluten-free toast for a filling snack. Just be careful with flavored nuts, as its additives could contain wheat.
Opt for easy recipes
You don’t need to spend lots of time, money, and effort on meal prep to keep gluten off the menu at home. A recipe like this gluten-free overnight oats one, something you can top with a number of items such as fruit, seeds, coconut shavings, or spices, is a great example of an easy gluten-free breakfast – make a full batch for the week, and pack them in Mason jars for cute on-the-go storage. If you’re in a rush without time to make your usual wrap or sandwich, consider keeping hard-boiled eggs, non-messy fruits and yogurt containers for safe breakfast options to-go. Bags of grain-free granola or baking your batch into granola bars make a healthy snack option for when you’re busy and can’t make time to cook.
Dietary intolerances can be a nuisance at best, or terribly painful at worst – gluten sensitivities are no different. But with a bit of planning and meal prep, you can absolutely maintain a gluten-free diet and stay kind to your stomach, without sacrificing a ton of time in the kitchen or at the grocery store. Stay consistent, read ingredient labels, and your gut will thank you.