Chances are, no one needs to convince you that a healthy breakfast is worthwhile. Or to tell you that whole grains -- with their high-fiber, nutrient-rich resumes -- deserve to be a bigger part of your diet.
Among hot-cereal options, classic oatmeal is the shoo-in, and deservedly so. But barley, cornmeal, farro, millet, quinoa, and wheat berries -- grains that are usually confined to lunch or dinner (if they're considered at all) -- can also be turned into satisfying hot breakfasts that have old-fashioned appeal. Try these combinations of hearty grains and healthy, tasty toppings to stir up your breakfast.
Aside from being healthy, these grains are great comfort foods: Cooked like oats, they turn into warm bowls of deliciousness you can customize each day. The cereal can be fluffy or porridgelike, scattered with colorful, crunchy toppings (including fruit and nuts), and made creamy with swirls of milk.
Farro, for example, has a great chewy texture that goes well with crunchy walnuts and slices of soft banana.
This whole-grain cereal is good for instant breakfasts and portable snacking. The pistachios can be swapped out for hazelnuts, dried cherries -- even dark chocolate.
Barley has a nice, chewy texture, with grains that hold their shape. For a healthy breakfast that feels decadent, scatter bits of dark chocolate on top.
All of these grains are abundant in the plant-based nutrients that may lower the risk of heart disease, help to manage blood sugar, and reduce cancer risk, says Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. And because the grains are good sources of fiber, they keep you feeling fuller longer. That's a particular asset at breakfast, when you're priming your appetite for the day.
This style of oats holds its shape better than rolled oats. Sweet-tart fruits add jolts of flavor.
Start the morning off right with multigrains topped with fruit and toasted hazelnuts in this healthy and delicious hot cereal.
Some grains can be prepared different ways to create different textures -- fluffy, like a rice pilaf, or creamy, like a porridge (such as the Breakfast Quinoa shown here). To make the perfect breakfast cereal, experiment with both types and see which you like best.
Sprinkle, spoon, or slice these picks over any cereal.
Regular milk? Soy? Yogurt? Every option has its benefits.