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The best oat and bran alternatives for breakfast

Oats form part of many popular breakfast choices, such as porridge, granola, muesli, and bran muffins. Rich in fibre, protein, antioxidants and minerals, they are great for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and keeping you full until lunchtime.   

However, oat-based breakfasts aren’t for everyone. Whether it's due to an oat intolerance or simply a desire to try something new, adding a little variety to your traditional breakfast is never a bad thing. 

In this article, we’ll explore some great options for those who love porridge but are looking to kickstart their day with some delicious alternatives. 

Alternative to oats for breakfast 

While porridge may take the crown for the healthiest breakfast cereal option, there are many oat and bran alternatives that you can use to make delicious and nutritious breakfasts. Here are some of the LiveWell team’s favourites: 

1. Chia seeds 

These tiny seeds have a mild nutty flavour and a gel-like texture when soaked in liquid. Great for bone health and lowering blood pressure, they can be used to make chia pudding which is similar to overnight oats but a little creamier and more filling. To make chia pudding, simply mix some seeds with your choice of milk and sweetener in a bowl or jar and keep in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you can add your favourite breakfast toppings, such as fruits, nuts, seeds or chocolate chips. 

2. Quinoa 

Quinoa is a whole grain with a nutty flavour and fluffy texture when cooked. Containing all nine essential amino acids that the body needs, it’s also high in iron, fibre, magnesium and folate. Quinoa can be used to make quinoa porridge, which is similar to oatmeal but more protein-rich. To make your own quinoa porridge, simply cook some quinoa with your choice of milk and sweetener in a pot until soft and creamy. You can also add vanilla or cinnamon for extra flavour. 

3. Brown rice 

Brown rice is a nutritious whole grain with a mild flavour and soft texture when cooked. It is a great source of complex carbohydrates, fibre, B vitamins, selenium and manganese and can be used to make a delicious brown rice breakfast pudding, which is a creamy and comforting alternative to oatmeal porridge. To make brown rice breakfast pudding, cook brown rice with your choice of milk and sweetener in a pot until thick and smooth. You can also add raisins, fruit or cinnamon for extra sweetness. 

4. Buckwheat 

Despite having ‘wheat’ in its name, buckwheat is actually a pseudo-grain with an earthy flavour and chewy texture when cooked. It’s gluten-free, rich in antioxidants and is a fantastic source of fibre. Why not try your own buckwheat porridge, which is similar to oatmeal but generally more hearty and nutty. To make buckwheat porridge, cook buckwheat groats or flakes with your choice of milk and sweetener in a pot until tender. You can also add nut for extra crunch or berries to enhance the flavour. 

5. Barley 

With twice as much protein and almost half the calories of oats, barley is a real favourite of ours! It’s high in fibre, especially beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and also contains protein, iron and magnesium. For a truly hearty breakfast, give barley porridge a try.  Simply cook barley grains with your choice of milk and sweetener in a pot until tender and thick, adding apples or nuts for extra flavour. 

Gluten free alternative to oat bran 

Although oat bran is naturally gluten-free, it’s not uncommon for it to be contaminated with gluten during the growing or processing stage. Therefore, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should consider these gluten-free alternatives: 

  • Quinoa 
  • Rice bran 
  • Flaxseeds 
  • Buckwheat groats 

You can also look for oat bran which is certified as gluten-free on the packaging. This can be purchased from most good health food retailers. 

Looking for further healthy eating inspiration? 

If you want to learn more about how to eat healthily and improve your wellbeing, LiveWell Dorset is here to help. Our website features a wealth of useful articles and resources, including our handy Habit Hacker tool  designed for people who need a bit of inspiration to improve their lifestyle habits   

You can also register with us to receive personalised guidance and tips from our expert coaches and advisors. The LiveWell team has helped thousands of people across Dorset live happier, healthier lives and we’d love to help you too! Contact us today for more information about our services. 


I drank too much alcohol and had unhealthy eating habits. Pastry is such a bad thing, it's all those pies, pasties and sausage rolls!

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