When I think about oatmeal, I remember my grandfather, Pa. Because I spent the first 12 years of my life living with him. I remember his breakfasts included oatmeal cooked with coconut milk and sweetened with brown cane sugar (homemade) or condensed milk.
As much as I miss Pa, I don’t miss the sickly sweetness of his oatmeal. Lol
Some people make their oatmeal savory. If that’s the way you grew up, you may not like it sweet. But there’s some middle ground that can boost the health value of oatmeal while exciting your taste buds.
Oatmeal is perfect for busy moms because it’s fast and hearty. It’s high in fiber and will help keep you full. It’s easy on the budget and packs in a lot of nutrition. Plus, it can be customized in a million ways!
As Fall approaches I’m wanting more than a cup of coffee for breakfast. But what to eat when you don’t have a lot of time? How do you get everyone on their way out the door without them missing breakfast?
As a mom myself, I know that you’re always trying to find shortcuts and healthy options when preparing breakfast for your kids. It’s hard to find the time to make a meal from scratch every morning. We’ve all been there.
But imagine a bowl full of soft, warm oatmeal with a light sprinkling of cinnamon for a little flavor but not too much. Just enough to fill your senses with delight, without overpowering the natural delicateness of the oats. That’s what I attempted to accomplish by adding these six ingredients into the mix.
Remember to start with the best quality oats.
Fruits like apples, bananas, and peaches are a great addition to a bowl of oatmeal. But you don’t have to stop there. While on a recent health retreat, I learned that you can add almost any additional ingredients to your oatmeal.
You can sprinkle and fold grated apples like granny smith into your bowl. Or you can chop and place apples on top of your oatmeal while it’s cooking. I prefer my fruit raw so it retains as much of its nutrients as possible. But your way is the best way for you.
Fresh berries such as blueberries and strawberries create a burst of sweetness that’s fresh and mouthwatering.
Ever wondered what dried cranberries taste like in your oatmeal? Give it a try! You will be pleasantly surprised. But dried cranberries are not the only dried fruits you can use to liven up your oatmeal.
Try raisins and dates. These add a healthy sweetness to oatmeal that your children will love.
Nuts are packed with healthy fats and other nutrients. I like to add maple syrup to my oatmeal if I’m eating it with walnuts. It reminds me of having pancakes without flour. I like the flavor of walnuts with maple syrup. But you can substitute any sweetener you like. Or none at all.
One of my favorite additions to my oatmeal is chia seeds and flax meal. Chia seeds are packed with Omega-3 and protein. Flax is also high in omega-3 and so much more. Adding these two seeds to your family’s oatmeal provides a healthy dose of antioxidants and Omega-3.
It’s important to note that whole flax seeds just pass through your system so best to use ground flax seeds in your recipe.
I’ve also added raw sunflower seeds. They provide a healthy crunch without any heavy or unusual taste.
Cinnamon is a common spice used in oatmeal. But do you know you can add ground nutmeg, cardamom, and/or cloves as well? The key is to sprinkle lightly.
Experiment with these spices if you don’t already use them. Some like cloves take a bit of getting used to. But you can still get its benefits by not using too much and mixing it into your oatmeal.
If the individual spices are too powerful for you, try pumpkin spice seasoning. Uh! lol.
Milk, Cream & Oil
The place where most good oatmeal starts is with water. So I add a cup of water to about half a cup of rolled oatmeal. I let it sit for about 30 minutes. After which I bring it to boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. I then add a plant-based milk such as almond or coconut to the mixture and let simmer until it thickens to my satisfaction.
Tip#1: A tablespoon of coconut oil makes your oatmeal more creamy.
Tip#2: Add cow’s milk or cream AFTER your oatmeal is cooked. Otherwise, the grains will be hard.
Tip #3: If you can’t eat oatmeal for any reason, try cooked quinoa instead.
You can probably think of lots more ingredients to add to your morning oatmeal. Remember also that this is a dish you can eat any time of the day.
BONUS: Overnight Oatmeal
Ever tried overnight oatmeal? Create individualized jars with these simple recipes.
Base: Place ½ cup oatmeal; 1/2 cup of plant-based milk; 1 tsp flax meal; pinch cinnamon; pinch grated nutmeg; 1 tsp coconut oil. Feel free to add a sweetener like honey or maple syrup but you don’t need it. Put in a mason jar like the ones below.
Option #1: Add sliced ripe banana. Next morning add plain Greek yogurt.
Option #2: sliced strawberries and blueberries
Option #3: grated carrot and raisins
Option #4: grated granny smith apples
Place the jar in the fridge. Remove the next morning for a ready-made breakfast. No additional prep time is needed.
If you like oatmeal or have pleasant memories of it growing up you might consider adding some of these healthy ingredients if you don’t already.
No matter your preference you will find that you want to experiment when you have the time.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult a healthcare professional if you have any questions about what ingredients you should eat.