Oatmeal with strawberries and peanut butter

Healthy Breakfast Oatmeal

Starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal sets the tone for a healthy day, and makes a great start as the very first Domestic Tutor post!

Oatmeal is so versatile not only at breakfast time but also as a component to desserts and other dishes. The weather here in Michigan is becoming chilly and I’ll share some of my favorite ways to eat cooked oatmeal. I like to keep it simple with steel cut oats cooked with water. That being said, for me, oatmeal is all about the toppings!

Types of Oatmeal

Oatmeal is comprised of two main types, rolled oats or steel cut oats. Rolled oats are slightly more processed than steel cut. Rolled oats include old fashioned oats, quick oats and instant oats. Rolled oats undergo a process that consists of steaming and pressing of the oats. Steel cut oats are less processed and cut into small pieces.1 If you are wondering about oatmeal for babies, this type of rolled oat is further processed into smaller pieces which make it appropriate for babies over six months.

All types of oatmeal are a healthy choice, however, rolled oats tend to be the type of oats that contained added sugars. If you are looking for a healthy instant oatmeal, you should look for plain oatmeal without added brown sugar, maple, etc. You can then add your own whole fruit or other healthy topping of choice.

Benefits of Oatmeal

Oatmeal checks all of the boxes as far as a healthy choice, especially as a breakfast item. Does oatmeal have carbs? Yes it does, however, not all carbohydrates are created equal and oatmeal is a whole grain that is high in nutrients, and high in fiber. Fiber provides many benefits including contributing to a heart healthy diet and promoting gastrointestinal health. Fiber also promotes fullness and slows gastrointestinal emptying which can help avoid spikes in blood sugar.2

Basic Oatmeal Recipes

Oatmeal can be cooked on the stove, in a microwave, or by soaking in hot water when on the go. Typically you will take the amount of oats that you are measuring and double that to determine the amount of water or milk to add. Most recipes seem to call for 1/2 cup of oats, however, I find that 1/3 cup along with other toppings fills me up. You can adjust based on your own appetite!

Stovetop: Oatmeal can be made on the stove by boiling water or milk and adding the oats. Turn the heat down and stir occasionally until cooked.

Microwave: Set the microwave for 1-2 minutes and wait just until the oatmeal is starting to puff up and rise in the bowl. Open the door as needed to avoid exploding oatmeal, but continue to heat further if needed.

On the go: Lastly, I would like to think that this is a secret tip that I’m about to share and would love to hear whether this is something that you’ve done as well. At work, if you have a water dispenser that has hot/cold spouts or a commercial coffee pot with a hot waterspout then this can be used to make oatmeal! I usually eat breakfast at work and will pack dry oats with a combination of toppings of choice. When I get to work I set myself up with a bottle of water, fill up my oatmeal with hot water and then let it sit on my desk for about 15 minutes. It tends to have more of a texture to it than other methods, but you can’t beat the convenience and the option of having something warm and healthy to eat at work.

Breakfast Oatmeal Ideas

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon Pureed Pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice (or Cinnamon)
  • Nuts or other toppings as desired
  • Directions: Heat oatmeal according to the instructions on the package. Stir in 1 Tbsp. of pumpkin. Sprinkle with spices and top with nuts. You can freeze the remaining pumpkin puree by spooning it into little piles on a plate. Once frozen, place in a freezer bag and pull individual portions when needed.
pumpkin spice oatmeal
Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Mixed Berry Oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup frozen mixed berries, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
  • Directions: Heat oatmeal according to the instructions on the package. If frozen, thaw mixed berries in the microwave and do not drain. Top cooked oatmeal with thawed mixed berries, including the juice. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Dip the spoon you will eat the oatmeal with in peanut butter and submerge in oatmeal for a melty peanut buttery bite with each bite of oats and fruit.
mixed berry oatmeal
Mixed Berry Oatmeal

Banana Nut Oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 Banana, sliced into discs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Nuts or other toppings as desired
  • Directions: This type of oatmeal is best made on the stove. Start with boiling water, add oats and bananas. Stir until oatmeal is cooked and bananas are partially incorporated into the oats with soft chunks remaining.
banana nut oatmeal
Banana Nut Oatmeal

Meal Prep Oatmeal

You can also meal prep oatmeal by using containers to fill your dry oats, spices and other dry ingredients in advance. Doing this can save you a few steps for the week and set you up for staying on track with the healthy breakfast you planned in advance, rather than scrambling first thing in the morning. If you wash prep your produce ahead of time, you can easily toss in a few blueberries or grab a banana to add to your prepped oatmeal while you walk out the door.

References

  1. Steel Cut, Rolled, Instant: What’s the Difference Between Types of Oats? https://www.allrecipes.com. Updated January 22, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.allrecipes.com/article/whats-the-difference-between-types-of-oats/
  2. Whole Grains, Refined Grains, and Dietary Fiber. Updated November 1, 2021. Accessed November 20, 2021. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/whole-grains-refined-grains-and-dietary-fiber

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