7 Whole Grains to get You Thinking Outside the Cereal Box

It’s getting cooler every day now, and if you’re anything like me, a warm bowl of cereal on a crisp fall morning is sometimes the perfect thing. But it doesn’t have to always be oatmeal. Here are some ideas to get you thinking outside the cereal box.

1. Quinoa

Quinoa makes a perfect breakfast food because of all the excellent protein it contains—which will keep you full and powered up throughout the whole morning. You can cook and eat quinoa just as you would oatmeal, dressed with your favorite fruit and toppings, or try this cinnamon quinoa bake; make it your own by adding fresh or dried fruit, nuts, or other spices.

2. Millet

This fun dish combines quinoa, oats, and millet with blueberries, lemon, and hazelnuts for a refreshingly nutty grain salad that’s perfect for breakfast. Plus, it’s an easy make-ahead dish, and actually improves in flavor after marinating overnight. Eaten hot or cold, this one’s a winner.

3. Polenta

Think polenta is only for dinner? Think again! Try creamy soft polenta swirled with a warm berry compote or your favorite jam. (Polenta is roughly the same thing as Southern grits, after all.) Top it with fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, a little maple syrup… Or, slice leftover polenta and pan fry it, then use as the base for a killer eggs Benedict. You’ll thank me.

4. Bulgur

Bulgur is a grain traditionally found in Middle Eastern cooking, but it works great as a porridge for breakfast, too. Try this bulgur breakfast cereal with dried fruit and nuts or a breakfast bulgur porridge for a healthy start to your morning.

5. Barley

Oprah is a big fan of barley for breakfast, because it won’t give you the blood sugar crash that other carbs can. Try it as a sweetened porridge, with a scrambled egg, or made into cakes.

6. Farro

This oft-overlooked grain can be cooked just like oatmeal, and its chewy texture goes really well with some crunchy nuts, as in this banana walnut and cranberry farro porridge

7. Savory Oats

Just because it’s breakfast doesn’t mean you have to go with sweet cereals, either. Try any of these savory oatmeal recipes—and then try them with some of the other grains above! The possibilities are practically endless. 

Image by cafemama