Thursday, March 13, 2014

Breakfast Oatmeal

Oatmeal is now one of my all time favorite breakfasts.  We used to eat instant oatmeal, until we switched to old fashioned oats and realize how much better they taste and also how much fuller you feel when you eat old fashioned oats!  When I ate instant oatmeal it was almost like eating a bowl of cereal, I would be starving again in about an hour and a half.  I'm not talking just being a little hungry and wanting a snack, I'm talking about wanting to eat lunch at 8:30 when I ate breakfast at 7!  Not so when I eat Old Fashioned Oats!  Yes they take longer to prepare, but if you don't have the time to cook them in the morning, put them in the crock pot and let them cook over night, or make them the night before.  That way they are ready to go when you get up and there is no excuse for not partaking of this wonderfully nutritious, filling, and healthy breakfast.

Health Benefits of Old Fashioned Oats in a Nutshell
  1. Contains lots of fiber which helps maintain a healthy blood pressure and also keeps you fuller longer (not to mention its healthy for your colon!) 
  2. Low in Cholesterol and Fat: soluble fiber helps remove cholesterol from your body
  3. Oatmeal is a whole grain and you are supposed to get three servings of whole grains a day.  Eating whole grains helps to reduce your risks of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.

What to cook your oats in
Since I am making oatmeal for not only myself in the morning but my husband and Chloe as well, I always cook my oats in water.  Unfortunately this does not add much flavor, but when you are cooking 3 1/2 cups of oats every morning, we can't really afford to use any other liquid to cook our oatmeal in.  In case you are wondering, I eat one cup of oats in the morning.  Matt eats 2 cups of oats and Chloe eats 1/2 cup of oats in the morning.  This means that we use 3 1/2 cups of water and 1 3/4 cups of old fashioned oats.

Here is the nutritional info:
Picture taken from This Site
If you are making oatmeal just for yourself, it would taste better if you cooked your oats in Unsweetend Almond Milk.  I love the flavor this gives the oats, and since you are using just one cup a day, it is much more financially doable (we just can't afford 3 1/2 cups almond milk for oatmeal almost every day).

I like to put brown sugar in my oatmeal after it has finished cooking.  I put 1 tbsp brown sugar in mine because I like it to be sweeter, but Matt only puts about 1 1/2 tsp in his whole two cups of oatmeal, so its really up to you and your personal preferences.

If you do not want to put sugar in your oats here are some other great ideas.  These ones taste best if you add them to the oatmeal while it is cooking:
Pure Maple Syrup(no high fructose corn syrup here)
Banana (how much varies on how much you are making.  I use one banana for all of us)
Apple Sauce- No Sugar Added(again make sure you do not get one with High fructose corn syrup)

Other Additions
I like to add 1 TBSP Chia Seeds to 1/2 cup Unsweetend Almond Milk while the oatmeal is cooking.  By the time the oats are done, the seeds have finished soaking and I add them to my oatmeal with whatever milk gets in while I am spooning out the seeds.  Then I like to add about 1/2 cup 1% milk to my cup that had my almond milk and chia seeds in it and I drink that with my oatmeal (prevents waste of chia seeds that I can't get out with a spoon!  It also cuts down on the calories that I drink since one cup of milk is about 110 calories and 1 cup of almond milk is 30 calories!)

 Another favorite is Unsweetened Cocoa Powder and PB2.  Also called chocolate oatmeal at my house.  You will have to play around with the amount of cocoa powder that you like to add to your oatmeal.  Too much and you can make your oatmeal rather bitter.  I use 2 tbsp for the whole family.  PB2 can be found in the peanut butter section of Walmart (I have not yet found it at King Soopers/Kroger).  It is basically powdered peanuts that have had the oil (and therefore fat and most of the calories) removed.  It is only 45 calories for 2 tbsp!  I usually add about 2 tbsp for the whole family

Berries are great either fresh or frozen.  Even if they are frozen I just put them right into my hot oatmeal, which helps to cool it down faster.  I don't put whole frozen strawberries in though, those I would heat up first.

Cinnamon.  Add your favorite spice to add additional flavor without the calories.  I love adding cinnamon to my oatmeal.  Some other spices that I think would taste good are: allspice, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice

1 cup hot oatmeal with chia seeds, brown sugar, almond milk and fresh strawberries.  Total Calories: 300

1 cup hot oatmeal with brown sugar and mixed berries, and cinnamon 240 calories
1 cup hot oatmeal with chia seeds soaked in almond milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder, with 1/2 cup 1% milk and fresh strawberries: 329 calories

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