Three ways to eat your oats without a bowl in sight

I struggle with breakfast. I’m the kind of person who needs to eat first thing in the morning (we all should, really) but a dairy allergy makes things tricky. So many easy, satisfying options are off the table: yogurt, cottage cheese, any cheese. I’m always hungry two minutes after a bowl of cereal, I can’t quite bring myself to eat eggs every single day, and I haven’t quite found the perfect muffin recipe (though, I’m still searching).

After having my second child I found breakfast even more difficult as I juggled the two kiddos. Toast with peanut butter and jam is my go-to dish but I started searching for easy dairy- and soy- free breakfast options that were grab and go to add some variety. Here are my favourite three:

1 – Gluten and dairy free blueberry oat bars:

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I first made these bars with dried cherries, cashews and mini chocolate chips for the topping and they were delicious! I’ve since tried coconut, almond and dried apricots, and then the kitchen sink: dried cherries, almonds, coconut, mini chocolate chips, and dried apricots. The fresh blueberries, though, are key to sending this breakfast over the top! Be aware: if you add too much in to the topping you’ll have trouble keeping it on when you are eating (but it will still taste great).

Even when my son was in a growth spurt and feeding like crazy one of these bars kept me satisfied for hours. I think the scoop of protein powder really does make the difference.

I really thought the chocolate chips and blueberries would make this a hit with my daughter and husband but she apparently doesn’t like dried cherries and he doesn’t like to mix chocolate and fruit. More for me!

2 – Breakfast cookies:

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In Ottawa we have a local coffee shop called Bridgehead and they make the most amazing vegan granola cookies. In my search for something that might come close I found this recipe and although it’s not the same it still tastes great and is very satisfying. I usually use store-bought almond butter but made my own once just to try it and it was much easier than I had imagined. I add dried cherries, dried apricots, and chocolate chips (I know, it’s a problem). I also add a scoop of protein powder for a little something extra.

3 – Oatmeal smoothie:

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I love smoothies and so does my daughter but again, it’s difficult to find something that doesn’t leave me wanting more. Then I saw a recipe for an oatmeal smoothie and figured I’d give it a try. This breakfast shake is packed with chia seeds, peanut butter, oatmeal, honey and bananas. We didn’t use frozen bananas and only had cashew milk on hand but it’s the same idea. I added a teaspoon of cocoa because we are obviously chocolate addicts over here! It was too thick at first for my little to get it through the straw so I added more cashew milk until it was the right consistency (to be fair, I didn’t measure anything).

My daughter loved it, the baby was upset because I wasn’t getting it in to him fast enough, and I was stuffed after my cup. My husband said it was “OK” so I don’t know that I’ve won him over but he’s not really a breakfast person.

Bonus –  Oatmeal energy bites:

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A friend dropped over one day with a small container of peanut butter energy bites from the store. They were incredible and there were only four ingredients listed. I made my own batch that same day!

We roughly followed this recipe but decided to add Rice Krispies for a bit of an extra crunch and I kept adding more and more peanut butter until it felt like I had the right consistency. Both my kids were gobbling up the “batter” before I had even rolled these puppies up and my daughter was asking for more a couple hours later (luckily I had stashed them in the freezer so she wouldn’t ruin her appetite for dinner).

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