By Guest Blogger Danielle Pastula
Breakfast is one of those meals where you either: don’t eat at all, always eat it on the go, or it’s your favorite meal of the day and you take breakfast very seriously.
Given the primary D.C. lifestyle of go, go, go, we’re guessing you probably fall in to one of the first two categories.
The first one is bad, you need to be eating breakfast. “Most important meal of the day” isn’t just a lie your mother told you growing up.
The second one is okay, we understand it, many of us eat on the go too, but that also paves the way for picking up more bad-for-you breakfast items than healthy ones. Think croissant with your coffee versus banana and oatmeal with your daily Starbucks run.
But we want to show you that healthy breakfasts don’t have to be boring and you can absolutely make them friendly to your on-the-move lifestyle. It’s just a matter of making a few simple tweaks with taste and portability.
Here’s some of our best tips for one of our favorite aforementioned healthy breakfast items, oatmeal! But first…
The Nutritional Run Down
- It’s heart healthy: While it’s important to note that the type of oats you eat matters in how heart healthy your breakfast will be, overall, oatmeal is a heart healthy breakfast because it is an excellent source soluble fiber, which is known to lower levels of LDL cholesterol (aka the bad cholesterol). To make sure you’re getting the most soluble fiber as possible, opt for coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties.
- Good for weight control: With oatmeal being a great source of fiber, not only will you stay fuller for longer, the fiber in oatmeal will also aid in digestion and help regulate your blood sugar, which helps with weight loss and maintenance.
- Nice balance of fats and protein: According the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one cup of oatmeal cooked with water gives you 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat per serving. This makes it a great food to give you fuel for the day so that you’ll feel full and have energy, and that’s without putting anything additional on top. Don’t worry, we’re getting to that.
Making it Taste Good
- Add some flavor: Without a little help, oatmeal is pretty bland and not very appealing. But you don’t have to buy flavored oatmeal packs from the store for it to taste great, you can do it yourself! Not to mention, those packets have tons of added sugar you just don’t need. Use spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom or a little ginger to bring life to your oatmeal. Or try maple syrup, honey, or vanilla, but use sparingly as that can be a lot of sugar if you’re too heavy handed.
- Add more nutrients: Whether you add a scoop of protein powder, mix in some chopped nuts, stir in ground flax, chia seeds, peanut butter, there are plenty of things you can add to oatmeal to up the nutrition factor plus the taste. Then when you think of all the fruit toppings you can add, the options are practically limitless.
Making it Easy
- Become friends with mason jars: Mason jars are one of the easiest ways to prep all the ingredients for your oatmeal, and the only thing you need to do is add your hot water or milk. Pro tip: you can place your jar under a Keurig without a K-Cup for when you’re really in a hurry.
- Make them while you sleep: If you’re not a fan of hot breakfast, or if it’s really hot outside and the thought of eating oatmeal sounds horribly unappealing, try overnight oats! Compile all your oatmeal ingredients in a mason jar including your liquid (add everything except maybe the fruit if you want your fruit pieces to stay crisper) and leave in the fridge overnight. Voila! 5 minute prep oatmeal and ready to go in the morning.
- Meal prep your oatmeal: If a mason jar seems too clunky, or you want something you can easily take multiple days worth of breakfasts to work, meal prep in ziplock bags! Put your own DIY “instant oatmeal packs” together for the week and keep at your desk. All you have to do is pour your bag in to a coffee mug, add milk or water, and heat up. Breakfast at your desk made easy!
As you can see, oatmeal really is a wonderful blank canvas breakfast for anyone who lives life in the fast lane, but also cares about their heath and wants food that’s yummy.
Let us know if you try out any of these ideas on social media, we’d love to see your creative combinations!