5 Whole-Grain Breakfasts

Healthy and easy breakfasts to start the morning off rightHealthy and easy breakfasts to start the morning off rightWhole grains are a fundamental part of a healthy diet, but with even Lucky Charms cereal claiming to contain whole grains these days, it's hard to get past the confusing food messages and figure out how exactly to incorporate heart-healthy grains into a breakfast routine. Though wheat is our cultural grain of choice, there's actually a huge variety of grains out there, and they're becoming even easier to find in stores. Once we get acquainted with what's available, eating more whole grains doesn't have to mean just reaching for the whole-wheat bread.

Click here to see 10 Whole-Grain Breakfasts

We've brought together 10 whole-grain breakfast recipes to get you eating more of this diet essential on a daily basis. There are recipes for familiar breakfast foods like pancakes and muffins that are chock-full of oats and whole wheat, plus there are ideas for ways to jazz up comforting staples like oatmeal. We've also included recipes that will help you discover less familiar grains and expand your breakfast horizons.

Use these recipes as inspiration to start bringing whole grains into your own favorite recipes. Almost any recipe can be made healthier by substituting regular flour for a whole-grain variety, and you'll start noticing more complex flavors and textures when you think beyond white flour. Once you get your feet wet, you'll be experimenting like a pro before you know it.

IstockPhoto/ThinkStockIstockPhoto/ThinkStockBrown Rice Pudding
We've all had leftover dessert for breakfast, but a recent indulgent morning of leftover arroz con leche had us inspired: Why not use brown rice and healthy sweeteners for a guilt-free, whole-grain breakfast? Using this recipe, eliminate the sweetened condensed milk, sub in brown rice, and sweeten the pudding with a tablespoon of maple syrup or honey. Experiment with using soy or almond milk for a different flavor.

Donna Griffith Donna Griffith Oat Porridge
Porridge doesn't have to mean a tasteless bowl of steaming mush. This sophisticated oat porridge recipe packs in nutrient-dense ingredients like oats, chia seeds, and flaxseed. Dried dates and prunes lend it its sweetness. Cook for a shorter amount of time to retain the bite and texture of the seeds, and try mixing it up with different combinations of brans, nuts, and dried fruit.

WeightWatchers.comWeightWatchers.comOrange-Scented Millet with Almonds and Currants
In the U.S., millet is most often found in bird food, not on our plates, but it's a protein-rich grain that deserves more of our attention. Millet can be used to enhance muffin or bread recipes, or is delicious eaten alone. In this recipe, the millet is toasted in butter and livened up with orange zest, cinnamon, and currants.

WeightWatchers.comWeightWatchers.comQuinoa and Apple Breakfast Cereal
In addition to being a whole grain, quinoa is also a complete protein. Though most of us have seen quinoa at dinnertime, not everyone is familiar with its possibilities at breakfast. Cook quinoa as usual, but sweeten it with honey or sugar. Add cooked apples or applesauce, berries, nuts, and milk and you will have a warm, comforting breakfast porridge like the recipe pictured at left.

Molly Aronica Molly Aronica Multigrain Pancakes
You don't have to give up pancakes when eating whole grains in the morning. Instead, load up flapjacks with whole-wheat or spelt flour, oats, and cornmeal and they become the perfect vehicle for a whole-grain meal. These multigrain pancakes have an extra bite of flavor thanks to the addition of toasted walnuts. Try varying it up by experimenting with different flours and nuts, or using coconut oil instead of melted butter.

Click here to see 10 Whole-Grain Breakfasts

- Michelle Kiefer, The Daily Meal