Plain oatmeal has to be one of the blandest breakfast choices I can think of. Sometimes I need just that, other times I want more flavors, more textures, and more nutrition for my first meal of the day. I add proteins like nuts, seeds or dairy, and use dried, frozen or fresh fruits as sweeteners instead of sugars or honey. Doing this may add calories, but oatmeal will become more of a complete meal and will scoot lower on the glycemic index. For this reason, unless I’m in the mood to eat something super bland, I like to think of oatmeal as the perfect canvass to add delicious and healthy tastes to. See below to get some ideas to add to your oatmeal.
1. Mix the oats and water in a small pot. Cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in, spoon, sprinkle, or top your oatmeal with any of our favorites:
- Almond Milk: Low in calories, this dairy-free milk is nutty and delicious. Try our homemade Almond Milk recipe.
- Applesauce: a delicious and chemo-safe way to eat your favorite fruits and add some tart sweetness. Try our homemade Applesauce recipe.
- Bananas: This classic cereal topping is rich in potassium and offers a morning energy boost.
- Chia seeds: High in protein and easy to add to any meal.
- Cinnamon: This will add a lot of flavor without the sugar.
- Coconut: Toast it for extra flavor. Make sure to buy unsweetened.
- Chocolate: For some special mornings, add a small amount of chopped dark chocolate for an antioxidant boost.
- Dried Fruit: Concentrated, tangy, sweet, and convenient any of your favorites will add lots of flavor and fiber.
- Flaxseed: A great source of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Frozen berries: Cost effective and delicious, they are a great way to add Vitamin C and antioxidants. Add in to the oatmeal halfway through cooking.
- Honey: Soothing and sweet, honey offers trace amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. A great alternative to regular sugar.
- Maple Syrup: Be sure to buy the pure maple syrup, the other kind is mostly high fructose corn syrup.
- Milk: A great source of protein, choose whatever fat percentage you love.
- Nuts: Full of crunch and protein. Toast them for extra flavor. Learn about the health benefits of almonds, walnuts, pecans and peanuts.
- Nut Butters: A good source of protein, stir this in for an even creamier texture. Choose any flavor, almond, cashew, peanut, or soy, but it is best to by those varieties without hydrogenated oils.
- Pineapple: Full of Vitamin C, chop up some fresh or frozen pineapple. Pair with some shredded coconut.
- Pomegranate: Crunchy and juicy, these seeds are high in potassium and full of antioxidants.
- Pumpkin Puree: For a seasonal treat, stir in canned pumpkin puree with a little cinnamon and dried cranberries!
- Rice milk: A great lactose-free option just be sure to look for unsweetened varieties.
- Salt: Adding just a pinch, it will bring a whole new element of flavor.
- Soy milk: A good dairy-free option, just keep a look out for unsweetened soy milks.
- Vanilla extract: A little hint of vanilla can curb your sugar addiction.
- Yogurt: Creamy and tangy, yogurt is a digestive aid as well as a great source of protein. Be sure to buy plain yogurt without added sugars.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 cups water
- Toppings of your choice
Ann's Tips and Tricks
If you’re pressed for time in the mornings, soak your oats in the water the night before and just heat them through for your breakfast.
The glycemic index is an indicator 1-100 of the level to which your blood glucose rises after consuming a particular food. The higher the number on the GI, the faster glucose from the food gets into the blood stream. For example, pure glucose has a value of 100, white rice averages 89, and brown rice 55, hummus 7. A simple rule of thumb is that whole foods like oatmeal, brown rice, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables, are processed far slower by the body than refined foods like white bread, white rice, and white flour products like pasta, cakes and cookies.