Three Breakfast Alternatives to Boxed Cereal


3 alternatives to boxed cerealIn my early twenties, I fell victim to industry antics claiming that boxed breakfast cereal was the “healthy choice”. Good source of fiber, low in sodium, and less sugar were a few key phrases I always looked for when making a selection.

Little did I know that most cereals — even the healthiest brands — can contain up to 9 grams of added sugar per serving. And, who really eats the recommended serving amount — ahem? So without realizing it, I was consuming at least 18 grams of sugar in one meal. The recommend serving amount for women is only 25 grams per day. Yikes!

Even worse, though, were the addictive additives like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup that were leaving me feeling unsatisfied, bloated, and craving a snack within an hour of consumption. I needed a change.

I never skip breakfast because it’s an essential part of the day. A hectic schedule balancing work and military life, however, often leaves my husband and me rushed to get out the door. We needed something quick to replace our morning cereal, but knew it had to offer nutritional benefits like fiber, protein, and amino acids.

With a little pre-planning, I’ve developed three quick and easy breakfast alternatives to boxed cereal. Each option is served warm, which I especially love during the cold winter mornings. The ingredients satisfy my nutritional needs and keep me energized throughout the day.

Enjoy these meals at home or take the ingredients in a portable bowl to be warmed-up and consumed at your final destination. As an added bonus, all three are delicious so your kids and hungry spouse will enjoy them too. Skip the cold cereal and try these options instead. 

Helpful Tips:

  • I pre-make the rice, quinoa, or oats the night before, following the package instructions, and store them in the refrigerator. That way I can grab and go in the morning without the need to cook or clean up a mess.
  • The recipes below contain one tablespoon each of added sugar. If you are trying to wean yourself off sugar here are some tips to help you transition. You can use a smaller amount, substitute a bit of honey or maple syrup, or just skip the added sweeteners and enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit.  The beautiful thing about making your breakfast from scratch is that you get to control exactly how much sugar you’re getting.  

Rice Pudding
Rice Pudding

- 1 cup cooked brown rice or basmati
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 14 pistachios
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk   

Quinoa & Berries
Quinoa and Berries

- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
- 1 cup of frozen or fresh berries (mix of raspberries and blueberries)
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk


- 1 cup cooked old-fashioned rolled oats (Note: Do not use instant oatmeal. Find a non-processed brand that you have to cook. I like Bob’s Red Mill because they offer a gluten-free option).
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons raisins or any dried fruit of choice
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 pinch of cinnamon sprinkled on top   

What are your favorite warm breakfast toppings?