What comes to your mind when you think of oatmeal? Is it an image of the plain porridge you used to have to scarf down as a child? Or is it an image of a package of instant, just-add-water oatmeal? Well, not to worry – oatmeal has come leaps and bounds from being the “boring breakfast” it used to be! In addition to all the different flavor combinations you can add to it, there are also many health benefits associated with eating oatmeal.
1. Fiber is Your [Weight Loss] Friend
Oats are full of filling fiber, and this fiber does wonders for keeping your appetite satisfied for long periods of time. This high fiber content will keep you feeling full, so you’ll be less likely to reach for any junk food lying around. Have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, and you’ll find you won’t be hungry for at least 2-3 hours!
2. Cholesterol Control
The type of fiber found in oats is the soluble kind, and this travels around your body picking up extra cholesterol and getting rid of it so it never makes it to your bloodstream. Adding oats to your meals can help to cut down on the “bad” cholesterol in your body, leaving your arteries clog-free!
3. Energy Maintenance
The fiber from oats can also help to maintain energy levels by managing your blood sugar levels. This means you won’t experience those highs and lows that you do after eating a meal or snack high in sugar. To watch your sugar intake even further, try making oatmeal from scratch using old-fashioned oats instead of buying instant oatmeal packages (although they’re still good in a hurry!).
4. Variety is the Spice of Life
This one’s a no-brainer – oatmeal is perhaps the most versatile breakfast out there, since there are endless amounts of combinations! Try adding a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter and berry preserves for a fun PB & J version, toss in some canned pumpkin for an autumn-inspired bowl, or just load up on your favorites – granola, mini chocolate chips, dried cranberries, chopped almonds, whatever you like!
Recipe: Almond-Banana Oats
Adding the banana to your oats is completely optional, but it does help to produce a creamier bowl. That also goes for the milk – feel free to use water instead! This will serve 2 healthy portions, or 3 mid-sized ones.
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup water
1 cup milk (can be organic cow’s milk, almond, or hemp – they all work!)
1 banana, sliced (fresh or frozen)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground flaxseeds
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp chopped almonds
Bring oats, water, milk, banana and cinnamon to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir rapidly for a minute or so to ensure the banana is fully mixed in. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the oats reach your desired consistency. Spoon into a bowl and top with the flaxseeds, almond butter and almonds. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite oatmeal-topper? What else do you use oats for as part of your breakfast – smoothies, pancakes, muffins?
By Mitzi with assistance from Megan Skinner