If you take a stroll down the cereal aisle in any store, you’re going to see box after box of cereal made from oats, barley, and other grains. In fact, if you set yourself a challenge to find a box that has no grain in it, you’ll be there for a while.
While whole grains pack a nutritional punch of fiber, vitamins and minerals, if you’re trying to go low carb, paleo, keto, gluten-free, or on any other diet that suggests limiting the intake of grain, you’re going to have to give up traditional cereals.
“But I love cereal!” you say - okay, you can still eat cereal, it just has to be grain-free. So if you’re determined to eat grain-free cereal, what are your options?
Below We Cover:
- Grain-Free FAQs
- Grain-Free Cereal Recipes
- Other Grain-Free Breakfast Ideas
- Grain-Free Breakfast Recipes
- No-Sugar No-Grain Breakfast Recipes
What Breakfast Cereals Are Grain-Free?
While it may not be easy to find grain-free cereals on the grocery store shelves, most stores now have no grain breakfast cereal options that are both grain-free and gluten-free.
Grain-Free cereals contain nuts, seeds, and gluten-free flour that easily replaces ingredients used in traditional cereals which are full of carbs and, often, a couple of buckets of sugar. (We wish that was seriously hyperbolic, but…) If consuming no sugar, no grain breakfast is important to you, be sure to look at the nutritional information on the packaging.
Here are some of the best grain-free cereals:
Effi Probiotic Chickpea Granola
You’ll find granola as a staple in all grain-free cereal lists because it’s just so easy to make grain-free. This granola is made from chickpea flour and contains probiotics (healthy bacteria) that may help to keep your gut healthy. It comes in 3 grain-free flavors: Powerful Walnut; Gentle Pecan; and Nutty Cacao. Avoid the Wholesome Raspberry flavor as it contains oats and is therefore not grain-free. This cereal is vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and low in sodium, it is non-GMO and most ingredients are organic. It contains 7g of net carbs, which isn’t bad, but it’s not as good as other low-carb granola options, so if you’re keto or paleo, you can do better.
Nature’s Path Grain-Free Granola
Nature’s Path is one of the brands you are most likely to see on store shelves. Their grain-free granola is made from nuts and seeds instead of grains and comes in 3 flavors: Maple Almond; Caramel Pecan; and Vanilla Poppy Seed. All flavors are vegan, gluten-free, and made from organic ingredients. This cereal is suitable for both paleo and keto diets, as it has just 4g net carbs, but all those are added sugar. Plus - not to boast - our own HighKey granola has only 2g of net carbs!
This granola is coconut-based and contains the usual nuts and seeds. It comes in 4 flavors: Original; Chocolate Chunk; Super Hemp Blend; and Coffee Crunch. All include unsweetened coconut, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds, other ingredients vary depending on flavor. This cereal is gluten-free, organic, and suitable for a paleo diet. All of GrandyOats products are made in a solar-powered bakery, so not only is it good for you, it is good for the environment!
Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Style Muesli
This cereal has a base of unsweetened coconut flakes, mixed with real berries (blueberries, cranberries, currants and strawberries), macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. This muesli is gluten-free, vegan, organic, and suitable for a paleo diet, but you’ll have to watch your portion and it may not be the right choice for you if you’re on keto, due to the carbs contributed by the dried fruit.
Wildway Grain-free Instant Hot Cereal
This cereal is made with nuts and seeds and dried fruit. It comes in 4 flavors: Original, Cinnamon Roll, Blueberry Flax, and Toasted Coconut. All include walnuts, ground flaxseed, cashews, coconut flour, pecans, dried dates, and vanilla bean. This cereal is gluten-free, sweetener-free, dairy and soy-free, organic, and suitable for both paleo and keto diets, so unless you’re allergic to nuts, this is a good option.
Wildway Grain-free Granola
This granola is made with nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and a hint of spice. This comes in 7 flavors: Dark Chocolate Strawberry, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, Gingerbread, Coconut Cashew, Vanilla Bean Espresso, Apple Cinnamon, and Banana Nut. All include dates, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dry roasted cashews, pecans, and vanilla bean. This cereal is gluten-free, organic, sweetener-free, vegan, oil-free, dairy and soy-free, and is suitable for both paleo and keto diets - though that does depend some on the flavor. If you’re keto, double-check the nutritional labels especially for the fruit flavors.
Forager Project Organic Grain-free Os
If you have a nut or coconut allergy this is a good cereal option for you (not to mention one of few, unfortunately). This comes in 3 flavors: Plain, Cinnamon, and Chocolate. All are made from a base of cassava flour, with navy beans, cane sugar, safflower oil, pea protein, and water. This cereal is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, and organic.
Thrive Market Coconut Flakes
Thrive Market Coconut Flakes are made from coconut (did the name give that away?) making them naturally sweet, which is a major plus for those who dream of eating something sweet like say doughnuts for breakfast. Unlike doughnuts, the high-fat content in these flakes will help you stay full for longer, and each serving contains 5g of fiber, plus just 5g of naturally occurring sugars, which makes a good choice for those looking for a grain-free, healthy cereal. It doesn’t contain any protein thoughl, so if that’s a concern think about adding a protein shake or some protein powder to your milk.
Love Grown Chocolate Power O’s
It’s not all granola if you’re grain-free - try the Love Grown Chocolate Power O’s if you’re looking for something that looks like every other cereal on the shelf. Power O’s are made from beans, instead of grains, and for a whole cup serving there is just 1.5g of good fats, 2g of sugar, 6g of protein, and 4g of fiber. They’re not keto-friendly (19g net carbs) or paleo, but if you’re not watching your carb intake and you’re looking for a healthier chocolate breakfast cereal, this is a great option.
What Can I Eat on a Grain-Free Diet?
Fortunately, there are many other food options you can eat for breakfast that do not contain grain, and even more if you look at other meals. When answering this question it’s really worth looking at what you can’t eat, since if you’re only going grain-free (and not also going paleo or keto) most foods will still be available to you.
What Foods Does a Grain-Free Diet Cut Out?
A grain-free diet cuts out all grains, so that means no wheat, spelt, barley, rye, millet, rice, and oats, and any byproducts of those grains. Unfortunately, foods like bread, pasta, conventional breakfast cereals, rice cakes, cakes, and cookies all have to be eliminated from your diet because they are all made from one or more grains.
It’s also worth noting that while fresh corn is a starchy vegetable, dried corn is considered to be a grain, so you must avoid corn flour, corn tortillas, and corn taco shells. If you’re going grain-free, it’s time to invest in some alternative flours like almond meal, ground flaxseed, coconut flour, and other nut-based flours. Most of these work in recipes in much the same way as normal grain-based flour, so it won’t take too much getting used to.
What Can I Replace Grain With?
There are a few foods that, although eaten like grains, aren’t considered to be grains. These are called pseudocereal grains and include quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat, most grain-free diets allow a small amount of pseudocereals so these can be added into your diet in place of food you have had to cut out.
You can also use things like zucchini noodles, lentil-based pastas, cauliflower rice, and other vegetable-based alternatives to replace traditional grain-based foods in your diet.
What Can I Eat Unrestricted?
All foods that aren’t grain-based are completely unrestricted so you can eat foods from other groups as you wish, such as fruits and vegetables, protein-rich foods (both animal and plant-based), and nuts and seeds, although it is best to stick to a natural diet, avoiding processed foods which often contain grain-based additives.
Are There Any Paleo Cereals?
Yep, sure are! Many people choose to embrace the paleo diet, so-called because it looks back to Paleolithic times when humans were hunters and gatherers and farming was yet to develop, Paleo diets typically eat only foods those early humans would have been able to access.
So if you are on a paleo diet you don’t eat dairy products, cereals, beans, starch or refined foods but you will eat lean meat, fish, vegetables nuts and seeds. In addition to those cereals mentioned above that were paleo, you can eat:
NUCO Coconut Crunch
This grain-free cereal is made with only 3 ingredients: coconut water, coconut meal, and palm starch. It is, therefore, paleo, vegan, and free from gluten, soy, dairy, and egg. Simply add your favorite milk or enjoy it with fruit, or however you like it!
Julian Bakery ProGranola®
We’ve talked about Julian Bakery products in other articles because they’re great options for those on paleo or keto, and this granola is no different. This cereal is made using a base of tapioca and shredded coconut along with a range of different seeds to create clusters of granola. It comes in 4 flavors: Vanilla Cinnamon, Espresso, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Sunflower Butter. They are suitable for both paleo and keto diets, are gluten and grain-free, soy and dairy-free, and free from anything artificial.
The clue is in the name of this one! This grain-free granola is made from a blend of nuts and seeds, with berries and unsweetened coconut. This comes in 7 flavors, all of which include almonds, pecans, dried coconut, and vanilla extract. Other ingredients vary depending on flavor. As well as being suitable for a paleo diet this granola is gluten-free, dairy and soy-free, and free from artificial substances.
Purely Elizabeth Grain-Free Granola
This granola, baked in coconut oil, is made with organic hemp, chia, and coconut flakes, and sweetened with coconut sugar. This comes in 3 flavors suitable for a paleo diet: Coconut Cashew, Banana Nut Butter, and Vanilla Almond Butter. It is also gluten-free, vegan, and organic.
Is Grain-Free also Gluten-Free?
Yep! Gluten is a protein found in many (but not all) grains. Therefore, when you cut out all grains you are also cutting out gluten. A grain-free diet is one step beyond a gluten-free diet. Apart from gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley and so on with a grain-free diet you also avoid non-glutinous ones, millet, rice, and oats, for example. Dried sweet corn is classed as a grain and shouldn’t be eaten on a grain-free diet.
Is Grain-Free Cereal Healthy?
It can be, but going grain-free does not guarantee the foods you eat are also healthy. Grain-free cereal may provide more fruits and nuts into your diet which are good for your health, especially as they add fiber into your diet which can be lost when you cut out whole grains. Since grain-free cereal typically contains a lot of nuts, seeds, and fruit, it can help to retain those valuable vitamins and minerals that could be reduced when cutting out grains and can be a healthy way to start your day.
Like any elimination diet, to stay healthy you must be aware of exactly what nutrients you might be missing out on and find other food sources to replace them. For example, with grain-free diets you are in danger of missing out on vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Regardless of whether they are grain-free or not, to consider the healthy status of any cereal you should also be aware of added sugars, which are particularly prevalent in cereals.
Grain-Free Cereal Recipes
Grain-free cereal doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can easily make grain-free cereal for yourself at home. Here are some of the best grain-free cereal recipes:
Grain-Free Oatmeal Recipe
Since oatmeal is made from oats, it is a grain derivative and therefore you are not able to eat traditional oatmeal when you’re on a grain-free diet. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great substitute.
This recipe for Quick Grain-Free Hot Cereal from Bakerita is made with nuts and coconut, along with a few other non-grain, easy-to-find ingredients to create a tasty, grain-free alternative that will satisfy any oatmeal craving.
Grain-Free Granola Recipe
For a great grain-free, paleo home-made granola, try this recipe for Paleo Granola from The Real Food Dietitians. All you need is almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, coconut oil, honey or maple syrup, dried cranberries or cherries, and some other spices and flavorings. Essentially, you mix it all together, bake it for 20 minutes or so, and leave to cool. Then you can eat it as a snack or cereal! Swap out the nuts and seeds in the recipe for your favorites or whatever you have on hand.
Highkey Cinnamon Spice Instant Hot Cereal
If you’re looking for the best hot cereal, grain-free oatmeal replacement that happens to be keto friendly, you’ve found it. Or at least, you’ve found one of the flavors! We make our delicious Cinnamon Spice Instant Keto Cereal with hemp, flax, chia, sunflower seeds, and all-natural sweeteners. All you need to do is add boiling water and mix, so it is perfect for at home or at work! This cereal is grain-free and certified gluten-free and has only 1g net carbs per serving, so is perfect for those on keto. Flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, this is a delicious and healthy breakfast…or eaten as a snack at any time of the day!
Highkey Cocoa Almond Instant Hot Cereal
Our Cocoa Almond Instant Keto Hot Cereal is a major favorite of our customers, and for good reason! Also made with hemp, flax, chia, and sunflower seeds, it is perfect for grain-free, gluten-free, and keto dieters with only 2g net carbs per serving! This cereal is flavored with almonds and cocoa powder, so it hits the spot for any of you chocoholics out there without all the sugar. So Good. Simply add boiling water to enjoy a healthy and filling breakfast.
Highkey Strawberries and Cream Instant Hot Cereal
If you prefer something with a fruity vibe at breakfast time try our Strawberries and Cream flavor. Like our other hot cereals listed above, this is also made with hemp, flax, chia and sunflower seeds but is flavored with natural strawberry and no added sugar. Suitable for a keto diet, with only 2g of net carbs per serving, it is also grain and gluten-free. If you like something sweet at breakfast time you have to try this!
Porridge is another breakfast option that is usually made from oats, although it can sometimes be made from other grains. Either way, it is typically not suitable for a grain-free diet! However, this recipe for Grain-free Porridge uses shredded coconut, almond meal, and a mix of seeds to create a breakfast similar to porridge suitable for grain-free/gluten-free, paleo, and vegan diets. This recipe can be made the night before or in the morning, depending on whether you’ve got a morning to relax ahead of you, or if you’ve got to burst out the door like an Olympic sprinter - either way, this porridge recipe will give you the energy to do it!
To prep it overnight, simply combine all ingredients in a large mason jar or bowl, mix it up well and store it in a container with a lid, just in case it leaks. Refrigerate overnight and mix up in the morning, add milk or more water to loosen up. Optionally microwave for 30 seconds if you’d like to eat it warm or just serve cold and add desired toppings
To eat it that day, just combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat while stirring. After a few minutes, the porridge will thicken to the warm, gooey texture you’re looking for. Pour the porridge out when it has reached your desired texture and serve with desired toppings. Super easy!
Other Grain-Free Breakfast Ideas
Maybe you’re getting sick of the whole cereal idea and you’re looking for something else now you’re going grain-free? We get it, while we like granola, it isn’t for everyone. Here are some other great grain-free breakfast ideas:
If you need to eat a no grain breakfast on the go, breakfast bars are the perfect way to do so. When you make them right, or buy them from the right sources, they’re packed with goodness and can be made in bulk to get ready for the week ahead so you can just grab one and head out the door! Plus, when you make them yourself, you’ll know exactly what is in them and you can change up the ingredients depending on your preferences. Why not try this recipe for Blueberry Pumpkin Muffin Breakfast Bars and see how you like them?
They are grain-free and full of great ingredients, like nuts, seeds, and fruit (and flavor!), you will never think about buying a breakfast bar in a shop again, as most of them contain grains and are often filled with added sugar .
You may be someone who doesn’t feel hungry enough to eat breakfast in the morning, but you know that you need fuel to start your day off right, after all they do say that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” If you are one of these people, try having a smoothie for breakfast instead of cereal. Smoothies are super flexible and you have loads of grain-free options to create, so you will definitely never get bored of the same old thing. Try this Raspberry Colada Smoothie from With Salt and Wit. With only 4 ingredients it is the perfect recipe for a quick breakfast option and a great way to energize your day!
Another great on-the-go breakfast option are muffins. Not the sugar-filled ones you find in store, but when you make them yourself they can be both healthy and delicious! Muffins can be easily made over the weekend so they are ready for quick and easy breakfasts during the week, especially if you like a smaller breakfast just to tide you over until lunchtime. (Plus, they’re easy to freeze and defrost overnight each day, so you won’t be tempted to snack!)
You can find both sweet and savory recipes to satisfy your taste buds, and you’ll find a ton of great grain-free recipes online with just a simple Google search. If you prefer a sweet grain-free breakfast, why not recreate these Coconut Almond Paleo Breakfast Muffins? This recipe uses ripe bananas and almond flour, along with spices, nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips to create a grain-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free, delicious breakfast option. It’s not keto or paleo, but it’s a delicious option nonetheless for everyone else. If you are keto or paleo, look at recipes like these Keto Egg Muffins with Mushroom and Sausage!
If you have a bit more time in the morning and like to eat a hearty breakfast an omelet is a great choice. You can add in whatever veggies you like according to your dietary requirements or tastes, and they are, of course, completely grain-free. Try this recipe for a simple Paleo Omelette and then try experimenting from there.
Chia Seed Pudding
There are a lot of people who stay away from chia pudding because of the way it looks or its texture, but chia seeds have so many health benefits and they provide a really good alternative to conventional breakfast cereals, so you should absolutely try them. Chia seeds are full of fiber to help keep you regular, plus they contain protein, and omega-3 acids which are important for so many processes in your body. If you are put off by the texture (don’t knock it ‘til you try it), topping it with crunchy granola and berries will help add some variety. This Cranberry Nut Chia Pudding is a great one to start with, and this keto-friendly Keto Coconut Chia Pudding option is even better.
Alternative Flour Pancakes
For something a bit more indulgent, or just as a weekend treat, there are some great grain-free pancake choices. Simply by swapping out typical wheat flour for an alternative like almond flour, you can make some really tasty breakfast treats that everyone can enjoy. Try this simple Paleo Pancakes recipe, which combines almond, tapioca, and coconut flours to create grain-free/gluten-free, dairy-free fluffy pancakes. Top with yogurt, fruit, and a natural sweetener for a delicious breakfast.
(Pssst! If you’re not up for making your own pancake mix take a look at our HighKey Keto Pancake Mix, it tastes great and is a lot less effort.)
A Special Breakfast Casserole Treat
If you have the time this recipe will start your day off with a bang! You can make it the night before then all you need is bake it for half an hour. Then, you can enjoy some great flavors that will set you up for a hard day at work or begin your weekend as only sausages can. Sometimes breakfast can take a little bit more effort, and this Sweet Potato Sausage Breakfast Casserole certainly won’t disappoint. It is grain-free and dairy-free.
Sometimes a sweet treat is what you need to start the day and any breakfast that could double as a dessert gets our vote! These Paleo Pecan Pie Scones are made with an almond and coconut flour combo and naturally sweetened with maple syrup and molasses. Gluten-free and dairy-free and so delicious.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth and would rather have something savory to start your day, that is also healthy, you could try a breakfast burrito. This Healthy Breakfast Burrito recipe uses collard leaves instead of a traditional wheat tortilla wrap and is filled with bacon, egg, and vegetables. It is paleo, and grain-free and gluten-free, and you can easily switch up the filling to use your favorite ingredients.
Other Grain-Free Breakfast Recipes
Not found enough inspiration yet? Okay. As grain-free diets become more popular, so are cooks and nutritionists developing more and more alternative breakfast ideas. The great thing about making your own is that you can modify the recipes to suit your own tastes and you know there are no unnecessary additives. Below are just a few examples of tasty, nutritious and healthy grain-free breakfast suggestions, after trying these you might be motivated to come up with your own flavorsome recipes.
- Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake - this recipe is delicious and grain-free.
- Coconut, Vanilla & Almond Butter Smoothie - this is another great smoothie recipe with simple, healthy ingredients.
- Detox Smoothie - looking for a green smoothie to make you feel extra healthy? This should do the trick!
- Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes - another great pancake recipe.
- Grain-Free Banana Bread - not suitable for paleo or keto, but delicious for everyone else!
What Recipes Are No-Sugar and No-Grain for Breakfast?
We should all be very aware of what we put into our bodies and often less is definitely more. Cutting out added sugar can have all sorts of benefits, and although it can take a while to train your taste buds to accept and enjoy an unsweetened breakfast, there are many recipes you can try that are both grain-free and sugar-free, these will help get you started:
Apple Pie Caveman Bars
These Apple Pie Caveman Bars are so quick and easy to make it’s almost a crime, five minutes prep and just chill them – no cooking at all! All that fruit and nuts, makes these the ideal ENERGY bars that will truly keep you going right through until your next meal. Perfect for those going grain-free and those following the paleo diet!
Paleo Morning Glory Muffins
Look, I don’t wish to overhype these Paleo Morning Glory Muffins but… they actually look like muffins! Don’t go in expecting sweet dessert-style muffins, however, as these little delicious breakfast treats are made with sweet potato and carrot as the core ingredients. Don’t let that put you off - they are definitely worth trying at least once if you’re on a diet that allows you to eat potatoes and carrot!
Now if you don’t think you’ve got enough grain-free breakfasts ideas, you’re just being greedy! While walking down the aisle in Walmart or Target and looking for grain-free options may be pretty uninspiring, if you head into the kitchen or get on-line you’ll find a ton of delicious options to buy and recipes to make. So get trying!