If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then oatmeal is one
of the most important breakfast foods. It's a whole grain packed with
fiber, which means oatmeal helps guard against disease by controlling
blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, maintaining a healthy digestive system,
and preventing weight gain. It's a great way to start the day, but
it's not always the most exciting, especially if you stick to tried-and-true
toppings such as brown sugar and raisins. Here are five ways to put a
tasty twist on your morning oats.
Go tropical. Give your oatmeal island flavor by tossing in some shredded coconut and
fruit such as pineapple or mango. If you usually put milk in your oatmeal,
swap it out for coconut milk.
Make a bowl of banana bread oats. Mash some ripe banana and mix it with your oatmeal. Add in spices such
as nutmeg and cinnamon, use a bit of vanilla extract or maple syrup and
toast some walnuts or pecans to sprinkle on top.
Sweeten it up. If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth in the morning, finely chop a
little bit of dark chocolate. You can swirl it in your oatmeal along with
a dollop of peanut butter, or some fruit such as raspberries.
Switch to savory. Treat oatmeal like you would brown rice, quinoa or other whole grains
when you use them as a base for lunch or dinner dishes. The possibilities
are endless-- saute veggies (onions, leafy greens, mushrooms), throw in
some cheese or sauce (tomato for Italian flavor, salsa for Mexican spice,
miso or soy sauce for Asian-style oats) or even top it with a fried egg.
Use your oven. Whether you opt for sweet or savory oatmeal, you can change up the texture
by baking it. Combine all your ingredients in a mixing bowl and then bake
it in a greased casserole pan (or muffin tins for an on-the-go option)
until the oats are firm and golden brown (the baking time and temperature
will depend on the size of your pan). To get started, you can try this
apple-cinnamon recipe from the
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.