In the world of healthy breakfasts, oatmeal has its place, if done right. What do I mean by done right? Well, not the flavored, instant packets filled with sugar and factory made flavors. Not much healthiness going on there. But if you like a bowl of warm comfort food in the morning, then oatmeal is a way to meet that need. It is low-glycemic (in its plain state), minimally processed and can help lower cholesterol because it contains soluble fiber. It is commonplace to add brown sugar, butter and raisins to a steamy bowl of oats, but there are healthier ways to dress up your oatmeal. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Start by using a high quality rolled oats brand like Bob’s Red Mill or Better Oats. Mc Cann’s Irish steel cut oats are another good option if you like a little chewiness.
When cooking the oatmeal, I usually add some cinnamon and a half-teaspoon of vanilla. Once the oats are cooked, then the fun begins. Add-in’s can be just about anything you have on hand, but think nutrient-dense and choose things like fresh fruit, flax seeds, and chopped nuts. If you like yours on the sweeter side, drizzle a teaspoon of raw honey or 100% maple syrup on top, or choose a plant based artificial sweetener like stevia. Here are a few options to try:
· Like Chai tea? Then mix oatmeal with a pinch of cardamom, cloves, ground ginger, cinnamon (if not already in it), warmed low-fat coconut or almond milk, 1 tsp of raw honey and some slivered almonds for a chai-like flavor.
· Strawberries and Cream. Add a ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt (good protein boost), ¼ cup sliced strawberries and a tsp. of raw honey and it’s almost like having dessert for breakfast. Add some chopped nuts for a little crunch.
· Banana Blast. Add sliced banana, 1 TBSP almond butter, dash of cinnamon, 1 TBSP of chia seeds and 1 tsp of honey to your bowl of warm oats.
Feeling a little lazy or short on time? Then try one of these packaged blends for a boost of nutrition and flavor.
A bowl of oatmeal is an invitation for creativity… What’s your favorite way to add flavor to yours?