I always feel like I’ve made a good choice when I choose to eat oatmeal. For one, it’s nostalgic. I can vividly remember eating a warm bowl of oatmeal as a child, before running out the door to school. Second… it is comforting, especially on colder days. Third, with the right ingredients, it’s nutritious, so I am getting much needed fuel for the day. And Lastly, it’s delicious, so I don’t feel like I am making a sacrifice on flavor.
Let’s start with nutrition. Whole Oats are considered low fat, good carbs. They are packed with antioxidants, fiber and protein. Eat them with the right ingredients, and your oats can help you lose weight, improve your heart health, give you energy, and help you manage your digestion. When shopping for oats, skip the Quaker Instant oatmeal packets that are usually loaded with sugar. Instead reach for steel cut oats (which Quaker now makes) instead of rolled oats. Steel cut oats are less processed and higher in fiber. To me the taste is the same, so why not go for the healthier choice.
Now let’s talk ingredients. What you add to that bowl of oatmeal can enhance or severely take away from all the health benefits mentioned earlier. Back when I was a kid, I loved adding sugar, milk and butter to my oatmeal. Not really the best choices. Here are some ingredients you may want to avoid if you want to keep that bowl of oatmeal healthy:
Dairy milk and butter: If you do like milk and butter in your oatmeal… it is far healthier and just as delicious to just go for Vegan versions of both. You won’t taste the difference, but your body will get the benefits.
Sugar: There are so many better choices today to sweeten your oatmeal. I like agave, or monk fruit sweetener, but you can also use unsweetened applesauce, chopped dates, chopped bananas, chopped apples, maple syrup (packed with nutrition).
Granola: Unless you make it yourself or read the ingredients of the store bought brand. Granola off the shelf can be packed with sugar.
Roasted Nuts: I love to add nuts to my oatmeal, but it is best to choose raw nuts. Roasted nuts are VERY fattening.
What should you add to your oatmeal? Well think of oatmeal as your base and add ingredients that are going to be the most beneficial to your health, such as fresh fruit, raw nuts, hemp, flax or other nutritional seeds, protein powder, spirulina ( sooo good for you).
Here are some recipe suggestions on how you can eat that bowl of oatmeal and keep it interesting:
- plant based milk
- Vegan butter
- monk fruit sweetener or agave
- fresh strawberries, blueberries or apples, walnuts or pecans
Fitness and Nutrition Expert Coach Jaz Power Oatmeal
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Almond butter or raw almonds
- Chopped Spinach
- Vegan protein powder
- Any nut milk
Berry Sweet Antioxidant Oatmeal
- Chia seeds
- Unsweetened coconut pieces
- Chopped strawberry
- Raspberries & Blackberries
- Vegan Protein Powder
- Cinnamon or Cardamom
- Vanilla or Chocolate nut milk
Executive Chef Nina Curtis Slow Cooker Oatmeal
- Oat Milk (not water)
- A Cinnamon Stick (not powder)
- Coconut nectar
- Pinch Sea Salt
- Top with-stewed apples or pears, toasted shredded coconut, pecans, or mango chutney
Simple & Savory Steel Cut Oats
- Steel Cut oats
- Top with sautéed or roasted veggies of choice (i.e. broccoli, mushrooms, shallots)
- Season with Liquid Aminos and black pepper
Aside from oatmeal, remember you can also use oats for a variety of other recipes such as healthy granola, oat bars, cookies, etc. I’m not saying you can’t indulge a bit when cooking with oats, but if you are making oatmeal for breakfast, why not just start the day off right by making nutritious choices? It really will help set the tone for the day and help you get closer to reaching your overall health goals.