Whole grains for breakfast

Oatmeal can be the perfect breakfast on chilly winter mornings. So can amaranth, farro, quinoa, millet, barley and wheat berries.

The weather outside is frightful. As cold winds chill our bones, we have the opportunity to heat them up with some warm and healthy winter-time foods. It is well known that eating breakfast is an important part to every nutritious diet. Whole grains are nutrient dense and packed with fiber - an excellent addition to your breakfast table.

Most Americans are familiar with oatmeal as an option to fill the breakfast bowl. It seems that few are familiar with many other delicious whole grain choices. Almost any whole grain can turn into a healthy and satisfying, hot start for your morning. Some examples include barley, cornmeal, amaranth, quinoa, farro, millet and wheat berries. Prepare the grain according to package directions and then add all the fixings, just like you do with oatmeal.

To add even more variety, try cooking the grain in low-fat coconut milk or regular milk to create a new and different taste. Try topping your hot cereal with banana, coconut flakes, dark chocolate, dried apricots, cranberries, cherries, and nuts and seeds of any kind to further pack the nutrient punch of your breakfast. Then pour on the milk, soy milk, almond milk, or low-fat Greek yogurt to complete your morning masterpiece.

While most whole grains are good sources of fiber, vitamin E, iron, manganese and zinc, they are not created equally. A healthiest whole grain does not exist. Instead, some whole grains are stronger in one nutrient and others in different nutrients. For example, amaranth and quinoa are high in protein, while other whole grains are antioxidant powerhouses, like barley. Start experimenting with your morning cereal and see which one works best for you. Visit the Whole Grains Council to learn how to recognize a whole grain and great ideas for including them in your daily meal plan.

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