Even though college this semester is 100% online for me, I still have to attend the dreaded 8AMs. The beauty of virtual learning is that I do not have to wake up 30 minutes early to get ready to walk to class anymore. I used to just grab a banana and protein bar before heading out the door, but now I actually have time to prepare breakfast. I like to maximize the amount of time I can sleep in before class, so I'm lazy when it comes to making breakfast. If you're crunched for time in the mornings, try my easy gluten-free breakfasts for the busy college student. 

Many traditional breakfast foods contain gluten but I've found substitutes that taste just as good! The gluten-free diet can get a bad rep–gluten is not bad for you–it is merely a protein found in wheat that causes an allergic reaction (Celiac) or is not tolerable by some people. If you do not need to cut out gluten for these reasons, then I do not suggest you try to follow this diet. By omitting gluten, you fail to benefit from naturally occurring fiber as well as nutrients from whole grains such as B vitamins, magnesium, and iron. The marketing of gluten-free products can be confusing, and many times the gluten-free version is just as unhealthy as the original product you were trying to find a substitute for. This is because manufacturers add filler ingredients to make up for gluten, such as starches (potato, rice, tapioca) and added sugars. 

I am gluten-intolerant, but have still found ways to make breakfast an enjoyable meal without the gluten! These easy gluten-free breakfasts for the busy college student that I'm sharing with you are all naturally sans gluten, with the exception of gluten-free bread.

Chia Seed Pudding 

Megan Huff

Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3's which support heart and brain health and have anti-inflammatory properties. Simply mix 3 tbsp of chia seeds with 3/4 cup of dairy-free milk (I use Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk) and your sweetener of choice (agave, maple syrup). Put it in the fridge overnight, come back the next morning, and voila! The chia seeds soak up the liquid, producing a delicious, creamy pudding. 

My favorite flavor addition to this customizable recipe is turmeric. Just add 1 tbsp of turmeric to the dairy-free milk, sweetener, and chia seeds and top with bananas, apples, and raspberries. For any matcha lovers, add 1 tsp of matcha and top it with raspberries. Of all of my easy gluten-free breakfasts, this is my absolute favorite. 

Yogurt Bowls

Megan Huff

I have been eating the same yogurt bowl since high school; it never gets old. When I learned I was lactose-intolerant, I had to find a substitute for Chobani’s plain Greek yogurt. My favorite non-dairy yogurt is So Delicious unsweetened vanilla yogurt. It is less viscous and creamy than Greek yogurt, but the texture is very similar to regular yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great option if you are not lactose-intolerant due to its high protein content. Be sure to check the ingredients of the yogurt you buy because many times, there are added sugars. I suggest purchasing a plain or unsweetened/lightly sweetened flavor and adding fruit on top to take advantage of their natural sugars. My go-to toppings are strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, along with granola and cacao nibs.

Unlike Greek yogurt, coconut yogurt does not have protein, so I  supplement with Perfect Bar bites, or a cut up Rise Bar.

My favorite granolas are Purely Elizabeth’s Original Ancient Grain Granola–free of refined sugar and baked with coconut oil–Nana Joe’s granola, a local San Francisco brand, and Made Good crispy light strawberry granola which is free from the top allergens and contains nutrients from vegetable extracts.


Megan Huff

Basic much? Yes, but you can spice up your avocado toast by adding Everything but the Bagel or Chile Lime seasoning from Trader Joe's or adding chia seeds to an almond butter banana toast. For gluten-free bread, I recommend Trader Joe’s gluten-free whole wheat bread and Bread SRSLY, a Berkeley-based company that makes sourdough bread.

4-Ingredient Banana Pancakes

Cynthia Liu

Craving pancakes, but concerned that they take took long to cook? Enter my 4-ingredient banana pancakes: no need to sift through your pantry for a bunch of ingredients. They're gluten-free and ready in a breeze. For one serving (3 pancakes) all you need is 1/8 cup almond flour, 1 egg, half a mashed banana, and cinnamon. Whisk all the ingredients together, spoon onto a buttered, pre-heated pan, and let cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden-brown. Serve with agave or maple syrup, almond butter, and fruit! 


Megan Huff

And finally, the last of my easy gluten-free breakfasts–oatmeal! When you don't have time for stovetop oats, instant oats are a fantastic option. I like Trader Joe's Unsweetened Instant Oatmeal because it's made from oats, chia, and healthy grains like flax, quinoa, and amaranth, and is ready in 60 seconds. My go-to toppings are bananas, cacao nibs, blackberries, blueberries, coconut flakes, Kween granola butter, and agave. Oats have fiber and keep you fuller longer, so if you're hungry, this is a great option that will keep you fueled through class–it gets me through my 4-hour organic chemistry labs.

I am a proponent of intuitive eating: listening to my body’s natural hunger cues, stopping when I'm comfortably full, and not cutting out specific foods that are deemed "bad." College and even high school students are known to skip breakfast. That should not be viewed in a negative light, as long as it is not being skipped for dieting purposes. Sometimes I wake up and my stomach is growling, other days, I feel no hunger pangs at all. It is totally okay to not eat breakfast, just make sure to listen to your body and feed it well. You may have heard the phrase "breakfast is the most important meal of the day," but breakfast really is just optional. Studies show that eating breakfast doesn't jump-start your metabolism, nor does skipping it make you gain weight. If you are skipping breakfast because you don't have time, I hope my easy gluten-free breakfasts for the busy college student serve as some inspiration for you.