Who thinks they love oatmeal as much as I do?
I seriously eat oats in one way, shape or form, every. single. day. (and sometimes more than once a day)! Why? You may be asking…
Well, oatmeal just happens to be one of theee healthiest foods around, and in today’s day and age, when we are all trying to avoid sugar like the plague, we need options that are easy and versatile, as well as healthy.
Oatmeal, whether in the traditional rolled form or the steel-cut, needs to be your next essential pantry staple, especially if it’s not already. It’s incredibly filling, can be made many different ways, and is amazingly healthy--It’s is a power food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and lipids, which all possess endless benefits for our health, and it’s actually quite inexpensive compared to other super foods.
I know many people steer clear of oatmeal because of their “claims” about it: it’s bland, boring, sticky, sloppy. Well, maybe those haters are just thinking oatmeal must be made the way their grandma used to make it when they were kids! Ewwww...gross…! Actually, those were my issues with oatmeal when I first thought I should “try it again.” And up until a couple years ago, I used to say “I hate oatmeal.” (now, that’s embarrassing).
Today when I go to prepare breakfast, I think of all the amazing benefits these little grains pack per serving--(they’re listed below), and I treat plain oats simply as a starting point! Oats can be adapted into a new and exciting recipe every day of the week--into whatever it is you love--because the flavor and texture can be manipulated so quickly and easily with simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
WHERE TO BEGIN:
Well, there are several types of oatmeal available today. Personally, I tend to go with the traditional plain old rolled oats, but there are many more to choose from: old fashioned, whole, quick-cook, steel cut, oat bran, muesli, grits, granola, and even other grains like Cream of Wheat--all of which can be made into any hot cereal types of breakfasts.
*I DO avoid the prepackaged, processed, packets of oatmeal. Why? Check the sugar contents on those things! You’ll be shocked! Go with the raw oats and add your own ingredients (even sugar if you wish), so that you can control the amounts!
HOW TO COOK:
Now you have to decide HOW you want to prepare your oatmeal. For sure, you can start with the ol’ directions on the back of the package, but you may end up with “grandma oats.” So, you can cook oatmeal on the stove top or in the microwave, you can bake in the oven, and even cook it in the crock-pot! It’s all so simple, and I can’t decide which way I love the best (but for me, stove-top is the fastest and easiest). Just google oatmeal recipes and TONS COME UP!
Then there’s WITH WHAT do you cook it: water, milk, almond milk, egg whites? I usually go with water, and then add things to my oatmeal after it’s cooked.
And for how long? Now, that depends on your desired texture! The more liquid, the thinner (obviously). I start with 2 cups of water and one cup of oats (for 2 servings), but usually end up adding about another ½ cup of oats at the last minute of cooking as I like a thicker, chewier consistency. (And then I have 3 servings on hand)! *See my photo with this email!
MAKE IT YOUR OWN:
Ok, so here’s where you can get creative, as the options really are endless because oatmeal has a very mild flavor in itself so it doesn’t compete with others’ that are paired with it.
I just posted a question about “how people eat their oatmeal” over at my facebook page, and the responses were countless. People commented all day long about what they top theirs off with! And, oh the variety in the responses was great--really, the possibilities are endless! You can make oatmeal sweet or savory, plain or fancy. Of course, plain oatmeal or oatmeal with just a touch of sweetener is glorious in itself, but the toppings are where it’s at! Here’s where you can really have fun and oatmeal into something that you love.
WHAT TO ADD:
Fruits: fresh (apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc), canned (mixed fruit, peaches, pears, applesauce, etc), dried (cherries, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut, dates, etc), preserves (jellies and jams)
Nuts and Seeds: ANY TYPES
Nut Butters: peanut, cashew, almond, etc.
Yogurt (plain Greek yogurt, or a few tablespoons of your favorite flavored)
Powdered Items: cinnamon, peanut flour, protein powder, cocoa powder, etc
Sweeteners and Syrups: any flavored syrup maple syrup, honey, sugar, stevia,
Flavorings: vanilla extract, almond extract, maple, hazelnut, fruit, even mint!
Surprising additions: bacon, eggs, cheese (YESSSS--don’t knock it until you try it).
COMBINATIONS TO CONSIDER:
-Pumpkin Pecan Pie (Pumpkin puree, pumpkin seeds or pecans, pumpkin pie spices).
-Berry, Nut, Yogurt (add one of each)
-Cherry chocolate chip.
-Peanut Butter & Jelly (you can use PB2 and a tsp of jelly for a lighter version).
-Hazelnut Coffee Chocolate (Cook in hazelnut coffee instead of water, add chocolate chips--or Nutella)
-S'more (Mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, crumbled graham cracker on top)
-Apple, Bacon, and Maple Syrup (Trust me, it's SUPER good! Try it!)
-Ginger Snap Cookie (Molasses and ginger. Crushed cookies on top -- or cereal)
-Chocolate Almond (us cocoa powder and almonds or chocolate chips)
-Hawaiian Oats: Coconut milk, shredded coconut, and pineapple.
-Almond Honey (just add almonds and honey)
-Mint Chocolate chip (peppermint extract or mint leaves)
-Cheese (yes, oatmeal can be savory!)
-Coffee (instant coffee granules, or oatmeal cooked in coffee.)
-And MORE!!! :)
See, the possibilities are ENDLESS!
And, DID YOU KNOW that OATMEAL CAN HELP BOOST YOUR ENERGY, SUPPORT WEIGHT LOSS, PREVENT DIABETES, BOOST HEART HEALTH, and REDUCE CHANCES OF COLON CANCER?
For one, oatmeal is a low-glycemic carbohydrate and protein-dense source that provides calories and energy. It has been found that consuming a meal like oatmeal three hours prior to exercise gives you better endurance over a high-glycemic meal. Foods like oatmeal, with a low-glycemic index tend to cause a slow rise in glycemic levels, which is ideal for increasing fat-burning during exercise. Paired with a high protein food, your muscles will have everything needed to rebuild while heading the post-workout recovery.
And, have you ever wondered why people say oatmeal “sticks to your bones?” Well it’s probably because oatmeal is actually an appetite suppressor! This power food contains cholecystokinin, a hunger-fighting hormone, and it’s increased with the oatmeal compound beta-glucan. A 2009 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found satiety increased as a result of eating foods containing beta-glucan. And, oatmeal is dense in soluble fiber, which can help people feel fuller for longer, as it does take longer to digest, keeping hunger at bay, eating less, helping people reach weight loss goals faster.
Thanks for checking out my tip of the week: OATMEAL!
Please feel free to message me regarding topics you would love to hear more about! :)