Photo Courtesy: TheCulinaryGeek
Oatmeal is a terrific and easy to make breakfast food. If you're wanting to eat healthy oatmeal should be a staple in your diet. It is a great source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and iron. It has also been proven to lower bad LDL cholesterol without lowering your good cholesterol levels and is good for your heart.
Coarse or steel-cut oats are better than the instant varieties because they contain more fiber and have a lower glycemic index - how quickly a food spikes your blood sugar levels over a 2 hour period. Many flavored instant oatmeal brands are also loaded with sugar and salt.
The only problem with plain oatmeal is that it is bland and does not taste all that great by itself. Below I'll give you some foods that will not only make your oatmeal taste better they will add nutritional benefits!
1. The Egg
Adding an egg to your oatmeal will add both fat and protein to your breakfast making the oatmeal's complex carbohydrate glycemic index even lower. Eggs are also a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, and Selenium.
The only drawback of the egg is that it is high in cholesterol so if that's the primary reason you're eating oatmeal in the first place you may want to leave it out or consult with your doctor first. Mix the egg in with your oatmeal before you microwave it. Do not eat the egg raw.
Amount to add: 1 Egg
2. Use Milk Instead of Water
Milk will add flavor and a small amount of sugar. It will also add extra protein and fat. To keep fat from being too high 1% milk is recommended.
Amount to add: 1 Cup
3. Blueberries (or Any Mixed Berries)
Blueberries will help curb your craving for sugar while adding a nutrient punch to your oatmeal. Blueberries are very low in calories and are a powerful antioxidant. They are among the highest antioxidant fruits. They help rid the body of free radical which helps fight off disease, cancers, and aging. If you don't like blueberries any mixed berries will be fine.
Amount to add: 1/2 Cup
Almonds not only taste good, but they are one of the most nutritious nuts. They're low in saturated fat and contain calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E. They also contain cancer and cardiovascular disease fighting phytochemicals. The Loma Linda School of Public Health conducted a study that showed people who consumed nuts five times a week had a 50% reduction in risk of a heart attack.
Amount to add: 1 Tablespoon sliced
5. Whey Protein Powder
Whey protein is the highest quality protein available. It is rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAA'S) containing the highest known levels of any natural food source. Protein also has a satiating affect which will help with hunger cravings.
Amount to add: 1 Teaspoon
6. Ground Flaxseed
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of fiber and also contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and Omega-3 which help control blood clotting and reduce inflammation. Flaxseed also helps lower cholesterol.
Amount to add: 1 Teaspoon
A sliced banana is great to add on top of your oatmeal for the added fiber benefits, and it will also help with sugar cravings. Don't be afraid to eat fruit. Although it does have sugar there are so many other benefits such as vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Bananas are also a great natural source of potassium
Amount to add: 1/2 sliced
Last but certainly not least is Yogurt. I'm talking plain yogurt here not the yogurt loaded with extra sugar. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium. It also contributes to colon health through lactobacteria - that friendly bacteria you've probably heard about, and the calcium in yogurt is known to fight colon cancer.
Amount to add: 1 Tablespoon
Preparation and Final Thoughts
To prepare this super healthy nutrient dense breakfast simply whisk everything together in a bowl (minus the yogurt and banana) and microwave the dish. Once it's heated let it cool for a few minutes and top it off with the banana and yogurt.
This meal packs 570 calories, 29g protein, 80g carbohydrates, 18g fat (only 4.5g saturated), and 11g of fiber. This will get your metabolism started off with a bang, and will probably be the tastiest, most healthy oatmeal you've ever had!
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and this meal will set your metabolism in high gear and keep your stomach feeling full. Remember the fitness mantra, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."
What are some of your favorite things to put in oatmeal? Leave a comment below.