Category Archives: Breakfast

10 Healthy Foods for the Grain-Free Kitchen

bananas

Organic bananas

I consider bananas a staple in my grain-free diet. Not only are they filling and under 100 calories, but bananas pack a nutritional punch with B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, fiber, even a gram of protein. If you have milk in the house (cow’s, coconut, almond, whatever) – perfect smoothie by itself or as a base. I specify organic bananas because they are usually only 10-15 cents more per pound than regular.

Carrots

Organic carrots

Carrots are versatile, filling, delicious, and one cup provides your entire RDA of vitamin A. Carrots also give you carbohydrates, particularly helpful if you’re going for a grain-free but not low-carb diet. Carrots give you lots of soluble and insoluble fiber as well, helping to eliminate the need for those “healthy fiber-filled whole grains”. Carrots are also a good organic buy because they are very close in price to – sometimes even cheaper than – regular carrots.

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Sunflower seeds

I love sunflower seeds because they are a perfect grain-free replacement for croutons on a big, yummy salad. Sunflower seeds are rich in iron, fiber, magnesium and B6 – you just want to limit them to a handful as there are 200 calories in a mere ¼ cup, and they can contain a lot of sodium if not raw and/or unsalted.

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Eggs

What really needs to be said here? Eggs are awesome. Fried, poached, omelets, quiche, hard-boiled, deviled, not to mention that in grain-free baked goods eggs are often a vital binder. For help sorting out what kind are best for you, Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food has a handy chart explaining egg labels and exactly what they mean.

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Olive oil

Ahhh olive oil! I love it. Nearly anything can be sauteed to delicious perfection in it, and it has a high heat tolerance for frying as well. Homemade salad dressing just begs for a good olive oil. On top of the taste benefits, olive oil contains MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids, considered healthy for their cholesterol-lowering effects), antioxidants, and can even be used in skin and hair care.

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Kale

I used to stay away from kale because being a very mediocre cook, kale intimidated me to no end. Then I heard about kale chips, and I had to try making them. Super easy, delicious, even kids like them! Sauteed in balsamic vinegar and garlic, kale makes a yummy side dish. The real bonus with kale is that it’s high in iron, vitamin K, antioxidants, fiber, and it’s anti-inflammatory. Kale is affordable, to boot!

yogurt

Yogurt (Greek and regular)

Plain full-fat yogurt is my go-to for smoothies, or easy breakfast with some fruit and a drizzle of honey. High in protein and of course a great source of gut-healthy active cultures (probiotics, essentially), yogurt is rich and creamy, even a great substitute for that ice cream craving.

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Potatoes (sweet or regular)

Not everyone agrees on eating potatoes on a grain-free diet, and certainly not those trying to cut out all white starches. I find that being able to have a small potato or a few chips really gives me that little bit of satisfaction I sometimes need when missing the bulk of bread products with a soup or meat. Sweet potatoes are a good healthy choice for those who don’t want white starch – they provide you with iron, fiber, folate (superior to artificial “folic acid”), and more than twice the RDA of vitamin A.

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Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is a true gift to the grain-free diet. It’s super yummy baked with just (real) butter, or butter and brown sugar, and can even serve as a passable noodle substitute for under your favorite pasta sauce. Spaghetti squash contains multiple nutrients and minerals like selenium, copper, and zinc, but one of the biggest benefits to the grain-free diet is that it only has 42 calories per cup, thus offering an enormous calorie savings over pasta.

nuts

Nuts

While the nut debate rages back and forth in the grain-free and paleo communities, I adhere to a simple philosophy – moderation is key. Our ancestors certainly would have foraged nuts, but they wouldn’t have been getting them by the bucketful as we can in a supermarket. Added to a trail mix with dried fruits, or eaten by the small handful once in a while as a protein pick-me-up, nuts can be a healthy inclusion in the grain-free diet. Eaten with restraint, nuts give you heart-healthy fats, brain-healthy omega-3s, protein, and fiber (gee, that whole “must eat whole grains for the fiber” argument is shrinking by the minute, isn’t it?). Just watch your intake if you use a lot of nut flours in baking, as nuts do contain phytates just like grains do.

What are your favorite grain-free, nutrition-packed foods? Share in the comments.

What’s for Grain-Free Breakfast?

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A brief word on breakfast

Friends have asked me what I eat for breakfast if I don’t eat cereal, toast, muffins, pancakes or…you get the gist. Truth be told, smoothies are my favorite breakfast and actually have been for a long while – before I ever started eating grain free. So, what’s in my smoothie? Typically a combo of  several of the following:

  • milk (either cow’s – which I’m trying to eliminate, almond, or coconut)
  • coconut water
  • frozen strawberries
  • frozen pineapple (just a few chunks – too many and the smoothie gets too grainy and bitter)
  • banana (ALWAYS banana – in my opinion it’s the one ingredient that eliminates the need for added sugar)
  • raspberries – fresh or frozen
  • greek or regular plain-flavored yogurt
  • a splash of orange juice
  • chia or flax seeds
  • kale or spinach (only occasionally at this point, since my blender doesn’t completely puree the bits – the fruit really does mask the flavor for the most part)
  • peaches or whatever other fruit happens to be in season
  • a drizzle of honey if you prefer a sweeter taste

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What else?

  • yogurt with fruit or preserves and seeds/nuts
  • eggs – boiled, fried, scrambled, poached (I have a microwave poacher that we adore), omelets!!!
  • meat – bacon (I bake mine in the oven – SUPER easy), sausage, ham, buy on sale!
  • fruit and cheese (go all French-like on your breakfast, why not??)
  • apples and peanut butter (I still eat peanuts at this point – use almond or other butter if you don’t)
  • hash browns (I openly admit I get the frozen patties, they’re cheap, easy peasy in the toaster oven, and the kids love ’em – I have other hash brown prep ideas I’ll be sharing in a future post)

Being a major noob in the grain-free kitchen, I haven’t experimented much yet with alternative flours, so here’s a great list of more complex grain-free breakfast recipes on The Home Life and Me blog.

In the end I’m all about simple. The kids usually grab cereal or sometimes even potato chips (shhh). I’m usually up late working, and my stomach is a bit skitchy in the morning, so when I get up I want to cram some quick ‘n easy energy into my body. More often than not that means a smoothie, but I am looking forward to trying out some different recipes especially with the holidays coming.

A friend just loaned me the GAPS cookbook Internal Bliss, so I will be sharing the results of some of those dishes in the coming weeks.

Share your favorite grain-free breakfast with me in the comments!