Growing up, we’ve all been taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The most difficult part of our culture is that traditional breakfast foods are all laden with gluten. Wheaties is just not going to cut it to be a part of a complete breakfast for gluten-free folks. Grabbing a Nutri-Grain bar on the go isn’t an easy and nutritious option. For people living with Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance, cereal, pancakes, toast, muffins, and bagels will actually set us out on the wrong foot, not start our day off right.
So what can we gluten-free eaters do to get going in the morning without feeling like we need to cook a feast or re-invent the wheel for every breakfast?
One of my favorite discoveries in the world of gluten-free has been the versatility of rice cakes. To people living a gluten-filled life, rice cakes seem like a sorry excuse for a snack or bread substitute. But those doubters haven’t lent this wafer the creative license it deserves. The basic tenet eaters should grant to a rice cake is that it is the template substitute for toast or bagels. Missing PB&J’s? Try layering this childhood staple on a rice cake for an open-faced crunchy-sweet alternative to your old favorite. Want to have pizza for breakfast? Spread on some tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese (just be careful of the microwave – anything over about 15 seconds could lend a risk of the rice cake popping). One of my favorites is to spread a layer of nut butter on a rice cake, and layer on a little bit of honey and some raisins for a quick and sweet bit to eat.
If rice cakes just aren’t your thing, re-consider the traditional breakfast favorites. Love eggs and hash browns? Make your own and they’re totally gluten-free! Just prepare your eggs as you like, sauté some sliced up potatoes, peppers, and onions, and you have a wonderfully filling and delicious breakfast. One of my greatest challenges when it comes to busy mornings is the breakfast on-the-go options, or seemingly lack thereof. Sometimes I’d rather sleep in for 15 extra minutes than stand over the stove to make a gluten-free, filling breakfast.
For breakfast to keep you going throughout the morning, you want to make sure that you’re eating an even combination of protein and healthy fats, as well as some carbohydrates to fill out the meal. Try making your own trail mix that you can keep in your bag or car, knowing that it’s completely celiac-friendly. Mix together almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and raisins for a delicious combo of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Bring along a banana or apple, and you’ll feel more satisfied with your morning munching options.
Breakfast can be just as fun and easy for people living a gluten-free life. Stocking your pantry and refrigerator with quick and easy ingredients will keep you feeling like you have so many options you’ll end any lingering longing for that old “quick and easy” bowl of cereal.