Kids’ Breakfast: Soaked Quinoa and Oatmeal Porridge

Give your children control of breakfast with this healthy, easy-to-prepare meal.

by Tessa Zundel
PHOTO: iStock/Thinkstock

Equipping your children with an easy-to-make breakfast they can prepare themselves gives them independence and eases your burden during the morning routine. The ingredients for this recipe are easily prepared the night before. When the morning comes, this porridge cooks up quickly for a healthy start. You can be sure your kids will go to school with a meal that “sticks to their ribs,” as my grandfather would say, is Gluten-free and is easy to adapt with wholesome sweeteners and dried fruits.

Soak Your Grains The Night Before

This recipe makes use of two common grains—quinoa and oats—which we pre-soak before using. Pre-soaking nuts, grains and seeds breaks down the phytic acid that covers the seed like a jacket. This jacket makes the seed harder to digest, and removing it makes the nutrients more bio-available—aka, helps our bodies absorb them. Pre-soaking is a good habit to get into when preparing grains to eat.

For such a tiny grain, quinoa packs a powerful protein punch. Pre-soaking it is an absolute necessity because the grain is covered in saponins, which is what we use to make soap and can cause digestive upset. Simply cover the quinoa with water and let it sit for 4 to 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the quinoa once you’re done soaking it. Quinoa has a rich, nutty flavor that compliments the mellow taste of the oats. (Incidentally, if you soak it a few more hours, the quinoa will mostly likely sprout, which will make it even healthier.)

To pre-soak oatmeal, simply measure out your oats the night before and cover them with water in a non-reactive dish. You can add a little raw milk, yogurt, kefir or even raw apple-cider vinegar to add a bit more strength to your soak. In the morning, drain the oats and rinse them.

Pre-soaking quinoa and oats for this recipe adds an extra step, but it won’t take but a few minutes of your time. And you can help the kids set up both the night before. You can also soak the oats and quinoa together, if you’d like.

Morning Breakfast Prep

Pre-soaked grains will already be full of water and, therefore, will cook up much faster than dry grains.

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Yield: 6 servings


  • 2½ cups rolled oats, pre-soaked (Don’t use quick-cooking oats.)
  • 1 cup quinoa, pre-soaked
  • 6 cups liquid of choice (water, milk, nut milk, coconut milk or any combination of these)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon, optional
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, optional
  • maple syrup or raw honey, to taste
  • dried berries or raisins, nuts, cacao nibs, flaked coconut or any other topping you’d like


After you’ve drained and rinsed your oats and quinoa, place them in a medium-sized pot, and add the liquid and spices. Stirring often, bring the pot to a simmer and cook for a few minutes, or until the porridge softens and thickens. Serve up and garnish. Eat hearty.

The Slow Cooker Option

You can also make this breakfast up the night before using your slow cooker. Double the amount of liquid used, and place everything except the garnish items into your slow cooker set to low. It should cook for four to six hours. I inevitably burn mine if I use dairy for the liquid, so I usually use water or coconut milk.

Let Your Kids Take Charge!

Be sure to let the kids do as much of the preparation and serving for this recipe as possible. They can rinse, drain, add ingredients, stir, sweeten, toss in toppings, set the table and serve the meal. Let them pick and choose what they’d like to put into their porridge themselves. Why do we like going to restaurants so much? Part of it is because we get to choose what we want to eat. My children are a lot more receptive to any healthy food if they are involved in preparing it and have some measure of choice in what goes into or onto it.

If you have leftovers from this breakfast, you can use them to make this killer Tropical Baked Oatmeal the next day.

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