7 Reasons to Pay More Attention to the Breakfast Aisle

·4 min read
Breakfast aisle in grocery store
Breakfast aisle in grocery store

At most grocery stores, there are no areas designated as “lunch” or “dinner” aisles, but there’s always a “breakfast” aisle. Have you ever thought about why that is? One potential reason is that so many iconic American products are aimed specifically at the so-called most important meal of the day. Ever since Will Keith Kellogg and John Harvey Kellogg introduced the world to Corn Flakes, and the Quaker Oats Company quickly followed up with both Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat (calling them the “eighth wonder of the world”), breakfast has been part of our identity.

But the breakfast aisle at the grocery store has far more variety and more utility than you’d think. Even if you’re not a breakfast person, there’s plenty you can do with the staples found in this most underrated aisle. Below are seven ways you can use the breakfast aisle to your advantage.

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Use crunchy cereals for breading chicken

conflake crusted chicken
conflake crusted chicken

Like chicken? Like crunchy things? Look no further than the cereal aisle for an easy homemade alternative to panko breadcrumbs. Think Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, Life Cereal, and Wheaties. You can also crush up Corn Flakes and use them as a swap for cornmeal in your baking. Of course, it doesn’t have to be brand-name items. Generic ones will do just fine.

Rolled and old-fashioned oats are perfect for baking

oatmeal pies
oatmeal pies

Around here, we’re fans of Quaker oats and Bob’s Red Mill for a warm, hearty breakfast, but sometimes we’re in the mood for a sweeter treat. Enter old fashioned oats. The problem with these guys is that they tend to be sold in large tubs. Thus, my favorite way to use up old fashioned rolled oats is to make an Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal, inspired by this recipe, an incredibly delicious and indulgent treat. Here are some other ideas from the archives:

Add protein powder to shakes and smoothies

blueberry fruit smoothie
blueberry fruit smoothie

At my local grocery store, protein powders typically hide in plain sight, next to the energy bars in the middle of the breakfast aisle. These can be put to use well beyond your breakfast bowls: My partner likes to make an all-day green smoothie by adding matcha powder (also located in the breakfast aisle), bananas, blueberries, peanut butter, and milk to the protein powder. He says the combination keeps him full and energized for a long day.

Turn granola into homemade snacks

popcorn snack mix
popcorn snack mix

For a family movie night, you could pop a bag of microwave popcorn. But why not make it more fun by making your own popcorn snack mix or toffee crunch snack mix using your favorite granola instead? I like to take a crunchy granola like Nature Valley and make my own trail mix by adding almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

Transform tea into indulgent treats

green tea popsicle
green tea popsicle

If you’re feeling ambitious and have some time on your hands, you can make your own ice cream using a variety of teas. Try this jasmine honeydew sorbet recipe or this coffee-tea ice cream recipe—you won’t be disappointed. You can also amp up your breakfast by making these pancakes with chamomile whipped cream and use any remaining whipped cream for a sundae.

Mix coffee syrups into a variety of drinks

Torani syrup bottles on shelf
Torani syrup bottles on shelf

One of my favorite items to purchase in the breakfast aisle is Torani syrup, because each bottle lasts for a while and I always have multiple uses for it. While it’s great as a sweet addition to coffee, I often use the syrup for non-breakfast drinks. For example, adding 2-3 tablespoons to sparkling water and topping off with lots of ice makes a delicious and refreshing summer drink. If you’re entertaining, you can make a big batch of watermelon kiwi lemonade or a variety of cocktails.

Use coffee filters to make cold brew (and garden fertilizer)

cold brew coffee in glass
cold brew coffee in glass

My partner and I have a habit of drinking several cups of coffee per day, and when it gets really hot outside, I like to make my own cold brew concentrate and store it in the fridge for an afternoon pick-me-up. You can use a French press to make cold brew concentrate, but you don’t need one; using coffee filters to strain the grounds from the concentrate works just as well. (Bonus: gather up your used coffee grounds and put them to use in your garden. They’re great for composting, which is a nice way to dispose of something you’ve already used.