Implementing new Canada’s Food Guide at breakfast

Three key ideas promoted in the recently released new Canada’s Food Guide are the reduction in the use of processed foods, the increased consumption of whole grain foods and being mindful of what, when, where, why and how we eat.

Breakfast is a perfect example of how to implement these ideas.

Boxed breakfast cereals are often highly processed with added sugars and are costly when compared to whole grain alternatives.

Hot whole grain breakfast cereals are simple recipes that offer an opportunity for learning and/or teaching food preparation skills. Sharing the preparation also encourages conversation and relationship development. With a little planning, a hot whole grain breakfast can become the norm.

From a health perspective, it has been shown that there is a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes when there is an increase in total dietary fibre in the diet. Whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables are natural sources of dietary fibre. High fibre foods also digest slowly, giving a longer feeling of fullness.

Pluma moos (fruit soup)

Last fall we attended an ethnic supper in the nearby community of Herschel, Sask., and I thoroughly enjoyed the pluma moos, or fruit soup. On a cold winter morning the warm fruit would be a tasty addition with a hot cereal.

  • 3 c. dried fruit, use a mixture of apples, pears, raisins, cherries, apricots or prunes 750 mL
  • 4-5 qt. water 4-5 L
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar 375 mL
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. cold water 125 mL
  • 1 c. dried cranberries 250 mL
  • 2 c. canned or frozen sour cherries or saskatoon berries or a combination 500 mL
  • 1 pkg. cherry Jello powder 85 g

Cut large fruit such as apricots into bite size pieces. Combine fruit with four quarts of water and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch, add cold water and stir to dissolve cornstarch. Add to hot fruit mixture.

Add dried cranberries, sour cherries and/or saskatoon berries, simmer until mixture thickens and fruit is soft and add more water if needed. Add cherry Jello powder to hot mixture and mix until dissolved. Serve warm or cold. Adapted from Edith Krahn and Dianne Wiebe’s recipe.

Baked multigrain cereal

Our family likes baked oatmeal, and this version substitutes a multigrain porridge mix that includes oats, rye, barley, spelt, khorasan and quinoa flakes, oat bran, millet and flax seed for the oats.

Mix this recipe up in the evening, cover and place in the refrigerator for the night. Pop it in the oven as soon as you wake up and by the time everyone is dressed, a hot breakfast can be enjoyed. Leftovers reheat well in the microwave. Serves eight to 10.

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 c. milk or non-dairy milk alternative 750 mL
  • 1/4 c. canola oil 60 mL
  • 1 c. brown sugar 250 mL
  • 3 c. multigrain porridge mix 750 mL
  • 2 tsp. baking powder 10 mL
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 2 tbsp. shredded unsweetened coconut 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. milled flax seeds 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. hulled unsalted pumpkin seeds 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. slivered almonds 30 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Oil a 9 x 13 inch (22 x 33 cm) Pyrex pan or a casserole dish.

Mix eggs, milk, oil and brown sugar well to combine. Add porridge mix, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, coconut and milled flax seeds, stir to combine and pour into prepared pan. Crumble pumpkin seeds and slivered almond over the top. Bake 30 minutes. Serve with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit.

An alternative is to bake this mixture in a muffin pan to create individual servings that could be frozen and reheated in the microwave when a hot breakfast is desired.

Fruited nut and barley bake

Erika Altwasser shared this high-fibre dish that can be served for breakfast or dessert.

She found the recipe in Parents Magazine in 1988 and made it often when their children were still at home. She has shared the recipe with many friends and family through the years.

When I made this recipe our grandchildren loved it, and they even wanted to take it as part of their school lunch.

This recipe can be made in the evening and then popped into the oven to cook in the morning. Alternatively, it can be totally prepared ahead and the servings reheated for breakfast or a snack. Serves eight to 10.

  • 3 tbsp. butter or margarine 45 mL
  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds (optional) 125 mL
  • 3/4 c. pot barley 175 mL
  • 4 1/2 c. water 1.125 L
  • 1 c. unpeeled apple, chopped 250 mL
  • 1 c. unpeeled pear, chopped 250 mL
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. raisins or dried cranberries 125 mL
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL

Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan. If using the almonds, stir into the butter and gently brown over low-medium heat. Do not brown the butter. Scoop out nuts and drain on paper.

To remaining butter add barley, water, apple, pear, brown sugar, raisins or dried cranberries, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.

Spoon mixture into 9 x 13 inch (22 x 33 cm) glass pan or casserole. Cover tightly with foil or a lid. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 30 to 35 minutes until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Serve sprinkled with the prepared almonds and topped with cream or ice cream if desired.

Note: Pearl barley has had the bran layers removed and then the kernel is polished. It contains more fibre because the hull has been removed but not the bran layers.

Variations: Substitute white or brown rice for the barley, and a nectarine or peach may be added or substituted for one of the fruits.

Hot quinoa pistachio cereal

Quinoa and pistachio nuts create an interesting combination for a hot breakfast. Some advantages of quinoa are that it is a vegetable seed rather than a cereal grain, which means it is gluten free. As well, it contains all eight of the essential amino acids, so it is a complete source of easily digested protein. Serves two.

  • 1/2 c. quinoa 125 mL
  • 1 c. water 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. chopped unsalted pistachios 30 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1 mL
  • 1/2 c. low-fat plain thick Greek yogurt 125 mL
  • 2 tsp. liquid honey 10 mL

Quinoa has a natural protective coating on the seed that gives a bitter taste. To rinse the quinoa, put in a fine-mesh sieve, place in a bowl of water, use a spoon to stir and rub the quinoa to remove the saponin coating.

Lift the sieve to drain and then shake quinoa into a medium saucepan. Add one cup (250 mL) of water and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 17 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pistachios and vanilla. Divide between two dishes and top each with yogurt and honey. Serve.

Alternatively, use 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) cooked quinoa, reheat and add other ingredients.

Per serving: energy 260 calories; protein 11 grams; carbohydrates 39 grams; dietary fibre four grams; fat seven grams; sugar 10 grams; cholesterol five milligrams; sodium 50 mg.

Source: Quinoa Revolution by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact:

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