Grain-Free Cream of Wheat and My Daily Diet


Low Carb Hot Cereal RecipeFine, fine, fine.  You’ve worn me down and I am going to do it at long last.  I have thought about writing this post many times, but something has always held me back.  But finally, here I am, writing a post about what I eat day-to-day.  I am sure some of  you are thinking “Whoop-de-doo, who cares what your daily diet is?”.  But I’ve been asked for this post  more times than I can count.  Some of you are diabetics, wondering how you can control your glucose levels through diet and exercise.  Some of you are runners, wondering how to get the nutrition you need on a low carb or gluten-free diet.  And some of you are just…nosy.  I’m kidding, of course, as most of you have  vested interest in your nutrition and are curious about what I eat.  I get that.  So, here we go.

(Should you not be the least interested in my daily diet, feel free to skip to the recipe…I don’t blame you for a second!).

Low Carb Hot Cereal Recipe

Now, let me just say that I’ve resisted this post not because I don’t want to share or I don’t think it’s a good idea.  My biggest issue is that I am an inveterate snacker, a “grazer”, if you will, so three square a day is not my usual routine.  I am also the opposite of a creature of habit, I like huge amounts of variety, so what I eat changes greatly day-to-day.  My typical day is very un-typical.  Plus I am also really lazy and a post like this is much harder to write than a cute little anecdote about the recipe.  But as I have also come up with a great new recipe for breakfast, that also happens to have fueled me through a grueling 14-mile run, I figured it was time to share.

Breakfast:  I am usually up by 5am, and I start every morning with a cup of coffee with cream.  That’s probably the only thing that remains standard from day to day.  After that, it’s some sort of low-carb baked good (homemade, natch!), because I love muffins and scones and such with my coffee.  If I don’t have some baked goods on the go, I am at a loss and that’s when I am more likely to eat something I shouldn’t.  So I try to have something made the majority of the time.  Now that I’ve come up with this low carb hot cereal recipe, I have that to fall back on (and it’s good!  And it fuels you through 14 rainy miles!).

Low Carb Pecan Pie Muffins
Mmmm, hello delicious Chocolate Pecan Pie Muffins!

Second breakfast/snack:  When you’re up as early as I am, second breakfast is almost mandatory.  And if I’ve gone for a run, I usually come home starving.  That’s where the omelets and veggies come in.  A 2 egg omelet with cheese and half an avocado is pretty typical, and maybe some tomato slices.  If I don’t have an omelet, then it might be full-fat Greek yogurt with some nuts or berries on top.

Lunch:  I’ll be honest, I don’t usually have a proper lunch.  I am often full from my omelet and working hard in the middle of the day, so I snack on nuts, maybe a few slices of cheese, and some steamed vegetables with walnut oil.  Plus I often eat a few bites (at least!) of whatever I am taking pictures of for this blog.  If I do feel the need for a bigger meal, it’s usually leftovers from the night before, some meat or fish and some vegetables.

Snacks: I do love my snacks, and I spend much of the afternoon snacking.  Half an apple, veggies, peanuts, maybe a muffin or low carb treat (homemade, natch!).  In a pinch when I need fast energy, a scoop of peanut butter on a spoon.

Snack Attack! Zucchini Chips with Smoked Paprika

Dinner:  Dinner is easy.  Well, maybe not so easy when you have three kids to feed.  My kids are not that picky, but they have their likes and dislikes and it can be a struggle to find things that all three will eat.  And I refuse to cook separate meals for everyone just because I am a diabetic, so they are learning to like the food I put in front of them.  And it’s pretty darn great food, in my opinion.  Often it is meat, chicken or fish, with a huge salad or several servings of vegetables.  My kids do eat salad.  And they like their broccoli, red pepper and carrots, so dinner is time to chow down on the veggies.  If we don’t have meat or fish, we have something with eggs or tofu.  Protein, fat and vegetables make up the bulk of our dinners.

Dessert:  If you read this blog, you know I love dessert.  I have seemingly devoted my life to creating desserts that people following a low carb, gluten-free diet can enjoy.  And as far as I am concerned, it’s a very noble cause indeed!  So yes, I always have dessert.  Sometimes twice a day.  And sometimes for breakfast.  Because the great thing about low carb dessert is that there is no sugar or flour, and it’s about as healthy as anything else you could put into your mouth, so why not???

I heart dessert…and these Mini Maple Pumpkin Cheesecakes!

Total Carbs:  In a day, I probably hit between 70 to 100 g of carbs.  That’s not as low as some people go, I realize.  I am fortunate in several ways…that I am slender and fit as it is, and that my diabetes stays well-controlled in this range.  But I am mindful of every single bite I put in my mouth.  I balance it out, I think ahead, I know when I’ve had too much and need to compensate.  And I sometimes fail.  Like anyone, I am human and I have my weaknesses and temptations.  There are days when I am drawn to the things I know I shouldn’t eat, and I give in.  But what’s astonishing is how “controlled” my indulgences are now.  There is always that little voice in my head letting me know I could be damaging my health beyond control should I go too far.  I thank goodness for that little voice – it saves me some guilt now, and it will surely save my health later on.

Low Carb Cream of Wheat

And now, to the recipe.  This seemed like a great recipe to pair with a post about my daily diet, because I have to say, this one is going to be a keeper.  It’s an ideal breakfast, since it’s easy to make, super healthy and keeps me full for a while (a rare feat of any breakfast food for me).  As I said, it recently fueled me through a 14-mile run and I never needed anything else except water.  I call it “cream of wheat” because that’s what it tastes like, although there is no wheat within 14 miles of it.  It’s mostly chia seed and flax seed meal.  I am fairly new to chia seeds and they make me laugh.  They are so goopy and sludgy, you can’t imagine why anyone would want to actually eat them.  And then you do eat them, and they taste great and give you lots of energy.  They are apparently the superfood that the amazing lost tribe of ultra-runners in Born to Run eat, so I figured they were worth a shot.

Thumbs up…it tastes great and is perfect on a cold fall morning.  Try it with some nut butter mixed in for extra energy.

Grain-Free Hot Cereal

Yield: Serves 1


  • 2 tbsp chia seed
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 2 tsp erythritol (I used Swerve Sweetener)
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tbsp nut butter (optional)
  • Berries (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, stir together chia seed, flax seed meal, and erythritol.
  2. Add hot water, stir and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in cream, nut butter, berries, raisins, chopped nuts...whatever floats your boat.


Serves 1. Each serving (without optional stir-ins) has a total of 18 g of carbs and 18 g of fiber. Whoa, that's a lot of fiber! Total NET CARBS = 0 g.

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  1. says

    Thanks for sharing your day-to-day routine. I’m not much of a breakfast person, but am starting to appreciate having a little protein (eggs or cheese) in the morning. Oh, and hot cereal used to be a favorite of mine. Haven’t had it in a while though.

  2. Lisa Hiatt says

    Thanks for the post! I love breakfast cereal in the winter. I have another recipe that is made with ground almonds and flax. I like chia seeds as well! Will definitely try this!!!

  3. says

    I just got a delivery of Swerve sweetener yesterday, I’m stoked about that. I’ve been doing low-carb all this week and came to the same conclusion about dessert: there’s no sugar or flour, nor are they high in carbs or empty calories, so why not eat them as often and as guilt-free as I’d like? My low-carb treats are just another way to get healthy fats and protein and fiber, lol. It’s sort of genius. 😉

  4. says

    thank you so much reading your day to day sounds very much like myself and I am trying real hard to improve the items that I love to eat and snack on daily and stories like yours help very much!.

  5. says

    I was recently diagnosed with diabetes…it really hit out of the blue and struck my eyesight, with no family history. I am working hard to get as slim as I can and overhaul my diet. I appreciate your willingness to share your routine. I was so excited to find your blog and yummy recipes. The hardest part for me right now is building up a low carb pantry. :) I’m hoping I can eventually manage things without medication.

    • Carolyn says

      I am so sorry to hear that, Chris. I need to do a low-carb pantry post, I really do. But for a starter kit, I recommend…almond flour, erythritol, stevia, xanthan gum, high % cacao chocolate to use as chocolate chips, unsweetend cocoa powder, whey protein powder. And eggs, lots and lots of eggs to make baked goods that satisfy without sending your glucose soaring.

      • says

        I have been using the truvia for baking (it was easily available at the grocery store, I’m in a tiny little farming community). Which do you prefer the best, Swerve or Z Sweet?

        Thanks again!

  6. Anna says

    Same, same and same! Absolutely loved hearing about your day-to-day, it sounds so much like mine. I used to take milk & sugar, but I’ve come to love coffee with heavy cream even better and I have it every morning. Homemade baked good, check. Lots of them yours :) Late breakfast and then snacky stuff over lunch and mid-afternoon. My kid is so small she doesn’t know I’m diabetic, but we all eat more or less the same dinner and I feel great feeding my family healthy food without added sugar and excess carbs. I don’t really know anymore how many carbs I have in a day, and I’m guessing it’s probably more than I think. But I am also doing very well with this way of eating for now so I’m not worried about it.

    • Carolyn says

      I don’t track my overall carbs either. But I do test enough that I have a good sense of what my body can handle.

  7. Jean says

    I’m sitting down with a bowl of this hot cereal right now, with chopped up pecans. Yum! This would be great on backpacking trips too – easy to pack and prepare. I love hot cereal for breakfast.

  8. says

    Great post Carolyn – loved reading about what you eat to keep yourself fueled throughout the day. Sending this along to my brother who is pre-diabetic.

  9. Katharine says

    Thanks for this post! I eat very similarly (well, since finding out about diabetes). I maybe tend closer to 60-75g carbs a day as I can’t seem to handle much more than that. I’m eager to get my A1C again in November to see how I’m doing big picture. It’s really nice to see how others are managing their diet! Thanks for sharing about yourself!

    • Carolyn says

      I find having some baked goods on hand really helps me stay more on track. If I don’t have anything that I can grab in a pinch, that’s when I am more likely to stray.

      • Katharine says

        Which of your low carb baked goods do you find yourself making and freezing over and over again? For your early morning coffee companion or snacks.

        • Carolyn says

          Hmmm, good question. I adore my Almond Crusted Butter Cake, and although I don’t freeze it (because I eat it too quickly), I make it over and over again. It can be turned into muffins though, and frozen. I’ve done that with the raspberry jam filled muffins (the batter is the same as the butter cake recipe). The pumpkin “bran” muffins froze really well. Scones are super easy to make and I don’t freeze them because I eat them so quickly too. I’ve made the cheddar jalapeno muffins a few times and they froze well. All of my cakes freeze really well too (un-iced).

  10. says

    Thanks for giving us some insight into your eating routine Carolyn! Congrats on the 14 mile run too. I miss cream of wheat – we used to eat it all the time for breakfast when I was a kid and now that the weather is cooling down I’m missing a comforting bowl of hot cereal! I’m going to try this soon though I may replace the flax with hemp seeds and see if that works!

      • says

        I love the flavor of hemp seeds – kind of walnut meets pine nut flavor and they are loaded with Omega 3’s and magnesium so super healthy for you. I get mine at our local Costco but you can order them online from places like or any other natural foods site for a good price as well. Try them out, you’ll love them!

        • anna says

          the hemp seeds are really great! I put them in my salads and on top of cakes. Really yummy! I, too, get mine at costco…

  11. susan says

    what dishes do you use…i love your little white bowl!!
    i am looking to invest in some white dishes and i love the square and rectangle designs.
    thank you!!

    • Carolyn says

      Oh dear, I wish I could tell you. Problem is that those ramekins came in a set from my father-in-law long ago and I have no idea where they are from!

  12. says

    I used to be a grazer as well for many years. I still tend to do that when cooking – not such a great idea as it often spoils my meal. I find though more often than not that when I’m hungry, I cannot wait to eat! I don’t run or do any exercise of note, other than leisurely activities such as walking my dog, lifting small weights for toning “granny arms” and running on the spot when I have the energy and have been sitting for too long. I refrained from getting a maid and do my own housework. I have a gardener for my huge, beautiful tropical garden though – that would be impossible. I have managed to cut down on grazing substantially since incorporating IFing from time to time; not that grazing is bad if your body can deal with it. I also have my carbs in the range you mention and sometimes eat even more. I eat bananas, a small amount of rice mixed with tons of veggies and other fruit so that’s where they come from mostly. I don’t bake a huge amount anymore, but usually something once a week or so. I have a cheat day a week when I go to the city, but typically it is nothing too terrible. I can be lazy about cooking and baking.

    • Carolyn says

      I love being a grazer…right now, it works for me. And if I had your lush tropical garden, I would get a gardener too! I do have house cleaners, though, and thank goodness, because keeping up in this large house with three kids…impossible!

  13. Jen Houck says

    I reAlly miss cream of wheat and this looks good. I have never seen chia seeds in the store. Do you think this would be good if I just added more flax meal?

    • Carolyn says

      Honestly, no. Chia seeds get sort of gummy when you add water, which helps thicken the whole thing. You might try ordering some online. Do you have a Trader Joe’s near you?

  14. anna says

    I made this, this morning and man was I surprised at how yummy it was. I wasn’t too sure it would be because the chia seeds are like goop when I have used them before. I liked this recipe and will be using it often! I add water to my chia seeds and let it soak overnight and drink it throughout the day. Its really a great food…

  15. says

    oh my.. you gave me such a Lord of the Rings flashback! Second breakfast is as you may or may not know a concept well loved by hobbits!
    Thanks for sharing!
    I look forward to a pantry post..

  16. says

    I’ve been doing the Laura Dolson’s Flaxseed Meal/PB Hot *cereal* and LOVE it but am looking to mix it up. My question: Are the chia seeds whole or is it meal too? Thank you for great recipes. I have been a LC’er for the past 2-1/2 years and have lost a a total of 110lbs with another 8 or so to go. Love the LC lifestyle. Oh, and I am 52 and last month RAN my first 10k.

    Gail Blain Prather

  17. says

    Found your blog a few weeks ago. I’ve was a LC’r for about 2 years then started cheating. Previously, I shunned all sugar, but I think that set me up for failure. Then I found your blog, and I’ve tried this recipe plus chocolate pecan pie muffins and your pumpkin bran muffins. I have to say “YUMMY” to all of them. I’ve had this grain free hot cereal several mornings in a row. It carries me to lunch with no problems. I’m so glad I found your blog! Thanks for sharing,

  18. Tammy Dunlap says

    I had to laugh reading your post of your daily diet eating habits…. You sound just like me! Thanks so much for sharing your recipes, it makes it so much easier to find more great low carb recipes to add to my weekly meal plan! Thanks goodness for people like you who take the time to do that!

  19. Susie Hanigan says

    Thank you so much for the yummy hot cereal. I have made something similar with almond meal and flax but I love the chia seeds !!! I am a Type 1 diabetic diagnosed at age 46. I am 50 now and living and loving the low carb life. It’s great sites like yours that keep diversity in our diets while keeping the blood sugar in range. Like you, I am a runner. I just completed my first marathon (Chicago) two weeks ago and am set to do another in January1 Keep on cooking and keep on running !!!

  20. says

    I finally got my order of chia seeds and Swerve in and this morning I tried this *cereal*. First I have to say that I subbed out the water for unsweetened almond milk – I always preferred my cream of wheat made with milk – added 1/2 c. red raspberries and the cream but passed on the nut butters (this time). OMG — this was so wonderfully delicious!! Really was a *cream of wheat* type experience. I’ll be making this again and again :)


  21. Jennifer Malmberg says

    This is silly good. I’m So relieved to gain this recipe. Breakfasts had been a “quest” bar lately because I just couldn’t get my act together. I travel a lot and I have been pre-bagging individual servings in my carry on.

  22. Dawn says

    I just got around to trying this and was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. I’ve tried chia seeds in other contexts and haven’t really been able to taste them — they really are tasty and went perfectly with the other ingredients. (My add-ins were walnut butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a couple spoonfuls of Greek yogurt.) It’s also very filling!

  23. Heather says

    I made the hot cereal today and I really enjoyed it and the break from eggs.
    It filled me up and stayed with me for hours. Thanks so much!

  24. Ellen says

    Is there any reason you couldn’t store a 1:1 mix of ground flax seed meal and chia seeds in the fridge to make this prep even faster?
    Love the recipe–it’s my new favorite breakfast!

  25. Shel says

    Love! Discovered your recipes yesterday, made this for breakfast this morning. I was tempted to slather this in butter and add some brown sugar substitute (my fave toppings for cream of wheat) but instead hit it with some cocoa and almond milk. Such a tasty change of pace from eggs, eggs, and more eggs!

  26. Janet Banks says

    This hot cereal tasted so much like the cream of wheat I have enjoyed since childhood! Thanks for this! I love hot cereal all year round but going grain free has made this a challenge.

  27. Deb says

    Chia and flax have not been my faves, but I do use them. This is off the charts delicious. I’m from upstate NY, check Montague, NY radar, it’s cold, snowing and letting me know what’s coming for the next 5-6 months… But I’m armed and ready with my hot cereal, thanks, Carolyn.

    Deb :)

  28. Carla says

    I’m not trying to be gross, but I’m wondering how your system handles all that fiber right before a long run like that. Do you have to make any scheduled bathroom stops? I want to try this cereal to fuel my long runs, but I’m worried about the gastro effects it might have.

    • Carolyn says

      It was not a problem on that run. I hate having to make pit stops but I didn’t at all on that run. But each person is different, remember!

  29. says

    I made this for breakfast today, my first concoction with my first bag of Swerve. I am pleasantly surprised! I thought there was no possible way something that looked like mine did (yours is all pretty of course!) could possibly taste good but it did!! Thanks so much!

  30. Jackie says

    This was great and just what I was looking for! I loved Cream of Wheat, back in the day. I made this with unsweetened almond milk, no sweetener, and topped off with some half and half. I’m going to experiment next time and try grinding the chia seeds to see what that does to the texture. Who am I kidding, I’m going to buy ground chia seeds, lol. Still, I’m curious to see how it turns out. Thanks for the recipe – this looks like a great one to play with!

    • Carolyn says

      Glad you liked it. I grind my chia seeds for other recipes in a coffee grinder. Works like a dream!

  31. Brooke says

    Just courious about the nutrional info. As I calculate it it’s only 12 grams of fiber 4 from the flax and 8 from the chia. What brands are you using?


    • Carolyn says

      At that time, I was using Trader Joe’s chia and I think the nutrition said 8 g of carbs and 7 g of fiber. But now I use Bob’s Red Mill and their chia says a lower fiber count. But it was always Bob’s flax seed meal and that’s all fiber (I don’t have the bag in front of me at the moment so I can’t give the full counts). What brands are you using?

  32. jojoleb says

    Wow! Great recipes.
    I came upon a similar thing, but made the ‘instant cream-of-not-wheat’ version. It’s virtually the same, but I ground my 2 tbsp of chia seeds in a coffee grinder

    2 tbsp chia seeds–>grind in a coffee grinder to a powder
    2 tbsp flax seed meal
    1 tbsp coconut flour (you really don’t taste it, but it seems to help absorb hot water more quickly)
    1/4 tsp of cinnamon (or any flavoring to taste)
    1/4 tsp of vanilla (or any other flavoring to taste)
    1/4 tsp honey
    A pinch of salt
    10 ounces of hot water
    (Total Calories: 178; total carbs: 17 g; fiber: 11.8 g; net carbs 6.8 g; If you skip the honey–I think it tastes fine without it–you’re down to 172 calories, 15.6 g carbs, 11.8 g fiber, with net carbs of 3.8 g)

    The absorption of the hot water is faster, for those in a rush. You do have to stir quickly while you pour in the hot water, or you will form globs of chia, but if you stir in quickly you can get a nice creamy consistency. The longer it sits, the firmer it gets.

  33. Val says

    You’re a lifesaver! It snowed last night and I woke up wanting hot cereal, this was perfect. I added heavy cream, 1/3 serving of almonds, chopped, a couple strawberries, and a serving of blueberries. Absolutely hit the spot.

  34. says

    What a great breakfast. My question is does it smell like cream of wheat. :) That takes me back to childhood real quick. Any advice on what to use if you don’t use swerve or other sweeteners like that? Chia can be sweet on it’s own (at least to me), but I’m not sure about when you mix the rest of that in there.

    • Carolyn says

      I am not sure if it smells like Cream of Wheat, but it certainly tastes like it with a little sweetener of some kind. Do you feel comfortable with any sweeteners? Honey?

  35. dina says

    what a great recipe. this has been a good winter breakfast. i’ll make a batch on sundays, and then reheat in the morning before work. i use a variety sf torani syrups i keep on hand for coffee, such as vanilla, caramel, or belgian cookie, and add it to the hot (silk’s cashew) milk. toppings have included toasted coconut chips, hemp hearts, and various nuts. oh and sometimes i’ll add extracts, like maple to the milk, and always had a hefty amount of pumpkin pie spice to the dry ingredients.


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