I was going to title this post “The breakfast that changed my life” because, quite frankly, it did. However, I realize that not everyone shares my love for oatmeal so I reconsidered. I do hope you find this tip to be helpful, if not life-changing.
image credit: Quaker Oats
I grew up eating Quaker maple and brown sugar oatmeal packets and I loved them. It was so convenient and sweet. I would take a packet to work and simply add hot water and I was all set. Well, for about an hour because then my stomach would start growling and I would seek a snack to tide me over until lunch. I didn’t realize that the reason I was hungry so quickly after eating a yummy bowl of instant oatmeal, was the fact that it was so over-processed and sugar-loaded that it lacked much fiber and nutrients to keep me satiated.
image credit: Quaker Oats
Enter old fashioned oats. Now, these are still processed but better than instant oatmeal and you have more control over what ingredients and sweeteners you add. And they are quite economical! I recently purchased a large container of old fashioned oats for $2.50. That’s a steal, considering I’ll get 30 bowls of oatmeal…not to mention the oatmeal cookies, homemade granola and even granola bars I could make, but I digress.
Back to my life changing breakfast…its what you add to the oatmeal that makes it so amazing. Typically I’ll add some combination of ground flaxseed, hemp seed, wheat germ, nuts and/or chia seeds to up the nutrients and fiber (you can’t really taste it!). I was sweetening my oatmeal with some brown sugar and cinnamon and adding a bit of almond milk after it was cooked to make it creamy. Yum!
Then, (here’s the life-changing part), I read about the miraculous properties of melted bananas on one of my favorite blogs – Chocolate Covered Katie. Her suggestion is to melt banana in a saucepan or in the microwave and add it to your oatmeal as a natural sweetener. I decided to give it a try but bringing two separate bowls to work wasn’t appealing (read: I’m lazy) so I decided to just try slicing 1/2 a banana and adding it to my oatmeal and cooking it along with everything else.
First of all, the kitchen began to smell like freshly baked banana bread. When I took my bowl out of the microwave (watch closely so it doesn’t overflow), the bananas had melted into the oats and created a delicious, creamy breakfast (I didn’t blend it). I still added a tiny bit of brown sugar but less than I normally added. I finished it off with a light sprinkling of finely diced walnuts and the rest of my banana and it was banana bread in a bowl! You must give this a try. While you’re at it, visit Chocolate Covered Katie to see all of her healthy oatmeal recipes and other uses for bananas (soft serve anyone?).
Let me know if you try it! What are some of your favorite breakfasts?