One serving of oats is low in calories, yet high in fiber, complex carbs, and has 13 grams of protein. Studies show oats can reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (the bad kind!), and blood sugar levels (Authoritynutrition.com), keeping you full longer, making them perfect for your first meal of the day.
You’ve seen oatmeal in the cereal aisle at the grocery, but all oatmeal is not created equal! Stop before you load your cart with the instant packages. Most instant oatmeal contains an absurd amount of sugar; upwards of 12 grams in just one tiny bag! Even health conscious brands, like Kashi, can pack in 7 grams for one serving. This is better than most, but you can make it much healthier by making your own with quick cooking rolled oats.
Before you throw your hands up thinking it’s too labor intensive to do anything other than adding water and heating up, hear me out! You don’t have to stand over a stovetop to make a delicious bowl of hearty oatmeal. Trust me, I make my own nearly every morning. With a microwave, a spoon and some quick cooking (sometimes labeled one-minute) oats, you’re good to go.
Plain oats may be boring, but there are a ton of ways to dress them up, not negating the nutritional value. Start with a base oatmeal by mixing the following in a bowl:
- Base Oatmeal
½ C Organic Quick oats
1 C Lowfat or almond milk (or other milk of choice)
Pinch of salt
Now it’s time to get creative! For a creamier texture you can add a spoonful of plain yogurt, and honey will add sweetness in a healthy and natural way. Using other add-ins you can have a different flavor of oatmeal everyday, without the added chemicals of an instant packet.
Here are my favorite add-in recipes to put into your base oatmeal:
1 spoonful truly natural peanut butter
½ banana sliced
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Oatmeal
⅓ C organic fresh or frozen strawberries, cut
1 Tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
⅓ C organic pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract
Almond Joy Oatmeal
1 Tbs cocoa powder or organic dark chocolate chips
1 Tbs organic coconut flakes
Pecan Raisin Pie Oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
Chopped organic pecans
1 Tbs raisins
1 tsp Real vanilla extract
Directions: Once everything is mixed together, place in the oatmeal for 90 seconds, take it out and stir, place back in for about 30 seconds. More or less milk can be added to get the consistency you like your oatmeal to be, and be sure to watch while it’s in the microwave because it can bubble up and there is nothing worse than an overflowing bowl of oatmeal in your microwave. Trust me.
This is easy to do when you’re at home, but if you don’t eat breakfast until you’re in the office, you can mix everything in a small trustworthy tupperware or glass container (you don’t want a messy bag when you arrive!), and heat it in the microwave when you’re ready to eat. Oatmeal is easy to make in advance as it holds up well, so you can even mix everything together the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning.
Oats are cheap, incredibly healthy, and versatile, so it’s worth taking a few extra minutes to make your own and experiment with different flavor combinations.
Author’s Bio: Dan Chabert — Dan is an entrepreneur from Copenhagen, Denmark. He owns Runnerclick.com, Nicershoes.com and Monicashealthmag.com. He also loves to join marathons. When he is not preparing for a race, he travels to see the sites of the world together with his wife.
Do you have a favorite oatmeal recipes? Please share it in the comments!