We’ve heard it since we were kids – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It jump starts your day and fuels your morning.
Okay, we all agree with that. But with our busy schedules, most of us eat what is quick and easy or what we can gobble in the car on the way to work. So how do you make time for a healthy breakfast and still get the kids to school on time, get yourself to work on time plus all the other things you have to do in the morning?
And, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but cold cereal is not at the top of the list of healthy options. Why? Even the cereals that advertise themselves as healthy are made from refined grains often by a process called extrusion, which destroys most of the nutrients. It’s also highly processed, and many ingredients are added. This does break my heart, because I’m a big cold cereal lover. Confession alert! My absolute favorite cereal is Peanut Butter Captain Crunch. However, on my quest for healthier living, it is no longer on my pantry shelf. *Sniff, sniff* But, I have found that there are many other options that are just as satisfying, if not more, and are just as quick and easy and much, much healthier.
I’ve never been a big hot cereal fan, but in looking for quick as well as healthy breakfast options, I found a low-sugar instant oatmeal that has slowly grown on me. It was quick, easy and could be made in the microwave at work if I was short on time in the morning. However, I wanted a little more umph than those tear-open packets were giving me, so I developed this recipe.
Oatmeal has fiber that will help you stay fuller much longer than the on-the-fly bowl of cereal. The fiber also helps with digestion, can lower cholesterol and is low on the glycemic index, which helps to stabilize blood sugar. Spoiler alert! Tune in to next week’s nutrition article for discussion on the glycemic index and why you need to know what it is. Oatmeal also contains protein and iron and is a good way to fuel up for the day.
In this recipe you also get fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 from the blueberries. Talk about a power-packed breakfast! I made this the night before and found it even better warmed over the next morning. It had taken on an almost cake-like consistency and was even better than the taste I had when it came out of the oven. If you choose to reheat, you can always add a little more liquid to it if it’s too thick for you. The recipe contains about 5 1/2 servings and doubles well (serving is one cup).
Here’s what you’ll need:
- ½ cup water (not pictured, I forgot to premeasure it for the photo)
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk, divided into 1 cup and ½ cup
- 2 cups whole-grain oats
- 1 egg
- 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons truvia brown sugar blend
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- ½ cup blueberries
- Preheat oven to 375
- Grease 8” baking dish
- Place the oats in a large bowl and add the water and 1 cup of milk. Soak for 20 – 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl whisk egg, vanilla, melted butter and remaining milk
- When oats have soaked, add egg mixture and spices, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and blueberries and mix well.
- Slice oranges into thin slices and layer on top of oatmeal mixture
- Bake for 40 minutes or until oats are well cooked and soft.
- Serve with plain yogurt to the side if desired
- Whenever possible I use pure extracts instead of imitation flavorings. A little more expensive but you use less than when using imitation and the flavor is much better
- I use stevia and the Truvia brand sweetner. All natural and much better for you than artificial sweetners or refined white sugar. It tolerates heat well and will not give you a bitter aftertaste as the artificial sweetners do.
- Yep, I use butter. It’s all natural and much better for you than margerine and spreads, which are nothing but oil and chemicals. If you’re using fats in moderation, such as in this recipe, you’re getting only a tiny amount per serving and will not negatively affect your cholesterol.
- Adjust any of the spices as you see fit and to your taste. If you don’t like cinnamon, don’t add it. Don’t like blueberries? Substitute another fruit. Just be careful on the fruit, many are loaded with sugar. Some fruits that are low in sugar include cranberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. However, stay away from these fruits in the dried form, the sugar content skyrockets!