Having oatmeal for breakfast can be a great way to start your morning.
Not only is it cheap and nutritious, it’s filling and can keep hunger pangs away until lunchtime. This is because oatmeal contains a great deal of dietary fibre, which is well known for its satiating effects.
100 grams of oatmeal, mixed with hot water, has 11 grams of fibre. That’s nearly half of your recommended daily amount!
Just plain oatmeal and hot water can get rather boring, but pre-packaged, flavored oatmeal often comes with too much sugar and too many additives for those who are looking to have a healthy breakfast.
If you choose to add your own healthy toppings, you can add great taste and flavor to your oatmeal without sacrificing any of the health benefits.
Remember to keep your portions in control as well. You should need no more than a small handful of fresh toppings to go with a cup of oatmeal, or a a teaspoon or two of liquid additions to your breakfast.
Here are some suggestions to help you make a tasty breakfast. Keep them separate, or mix different ingredients and toppings until you find your favorite healthy oatmeal:
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Bananas are a great source of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and manganese. They’re also high in fibre, which is great for digestive health. Their nutritional content makes them a great addition to oatmeal.
You can mash them into the oatmeal, or you can cut them into slices and mix them in. If you can find dried banana chips that have no added sugar, these can add a bit of crunch to your oatmeal before the heat softens them a little.
Bananas, like most fruit, have a natural sweetness, so you’ll most likely find that you won’t be reaching for the sugar jar if you add them into your oatmeal.
2. Apples, Fresh or Dried
Chopped fresh apples are a quick and easy way to add flavour and nutrients to your oatmeal. You can experiment with different varieties to get different flavours.
If you still love your sweets, try chopping up a Pink Lady apple to go with your oatmeal.
If you prefer something less sweet and more aromatic, use an Orange Pippin apple. There’s really no limit to what you can do with apples. Keep the skin on for added fibre and vitamins.
If you want, you can add dried apples to your oatmeal, but be careful if you buy them from the shops, as often these dried or baked apple chips are coated in sugar.
3. Raisins and Sultanas
Plump, delicious raisins and sultanas are a mainstay of pre-packaged, processed oatmeal, but if you add your own, you can control not only the amount of sugar going into your breakfast, but the additives as well.
Raisins, the darker variety, and sultanas, which are lighter, both have a natural sweetness that makes oatmeal great.
You can stir them in straight after cooking your oatmeal, which lets them soften a little and plump up, or you can sprinkle a few on top and eat them straight away so that they stay firm.
Raisins have a good deal of fibre and iron, making them a great choice if you need to increase the amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet. Pair them with a little cinnamon for extra flavour.
4. Berries, Fresh or Dried
When in season, fresh berries on top of oatmeal are a real treat that doesn’t have to hurt your waistline. Berries are often great sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
They may also have other great health benefits. Blueberries and cranberries, for example, may reduce the effects of ageing due to their high antioxidant content. Strawberries contain an antioxidant that may help Alzheimer’s patients.
In addition to these health benefits, try fresh blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries in your oatmeal for a refreshingly sweet and tangy flavour.
Dried berries can offer even more possibilities, but make sure that you purchase dried berries that aren’t coated in sugar. Cranberries are almost too sharp and tangy when fresh, but when they’re dried, they’re slightly sweeter and perfect for cold mornings.
5. Mangoes, Dried
Dried mangoes make a great and unique addition to any oatmeal. If you avoid the commercially packaged dried mangoes, which are full of sugar, you’ll find that the dried mango, already high in fibre and vitamin C, brightens up anything to which it is added.
Mangoes pair well with other tropical fruits, such as bananas and coconut. Try mixing it with dried unsweetened coconuts and pineapples, or, if you want a really spicy and exotic treat, stir it into your cooked oatmeal with a dash of honey and chilli powder.
The bit of heat will accentuate the sweet mango flavor and make your oatmeal anything but boring.
6. Greek Yoghurt
Cold yoghurt in hot oatmeal? It may sound unappealing, but if you let the oatmeal cool a little while after cooking, you can stir in thick Greek yoghurt.
Known for its high protein content, plain, unflavored Greek yoghurt will boost the satiating feeling you normally get from your morning oatmeal.
Add a bit of your favourite spice, such as cinnamon, and you’ll get a flavourful, nutritionally dense breakfast. Or, if you want something truly luxurious yet healthy, add chopped, mashed, or dried fruit into the yoghurt and oatmeal mix.
Avoid yoghurt that has been pre-mixed with fruit or other ingredients, as this is often very high in sugar.
Nuts are calorie-dense, but in properly portioned amounts, and with the right spices, they can provide a delicious amount of flavor to oatmeal. Nuts provide nourishing and healthful fats to your diet in the right quantities.
However, if you’re counting calories, try to keep the amount of nuts used to no more than a small handful.
Roasted nuts, whether you make them yourself or purchase them at the supermarket, will really bring out the flavour of both the nuts and the oats.
Try adding in some pecans or walnuts for a special breakfast, or crushed and chopped macadamia nuts for a rich and flavourful oatmeal. You can even pair chopped nuts with any of the fresh or dried fruits listed here.
8. Dried Oranges
Most people are familiar with candied orange peels, which are coated in sugar and make for a tasty treat.
However, plain dried orange slices, with no added sugar, have the same wonderful flavour and make a great addition to your morning oatmeal. They still have the bright orange flavour, but since they’re dried, there’s no excess water, meaning that your oatmeal can have the exact consistency that you prefer.
They pair well with spices like cinnamon, so don’t be afraid to sprinkle it liberally into your oatmeal along with the dried orange slices.
If your goal is to improve your heart health as well as promote digestive regularity, then consider adding a good amount of flaxseed to your oatmeal.
Flaxseed is a great vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein, fibre, vitamin B6, and iron. There are two varieties, golden and brown.
You can buy flaxseed pre-ground, but be careful, as it goes rancid very quickly after being ground and thus can become bitter.
Try grinding your own to add to your oatmeal. You should also be careful of how much you use, since in large amounts the high fibre content of flaxseed can cause stomach upset.
You really don’t need more than a heaping teaspoonful if you add it to your oatmeal each day. Try it with cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves mixed into your oatmeal if you find the flavour of flax to be unappealing.
We all get a sweet tooth from time to time, so why not indulge it sensibly?
A small amount of good honey mixed into oatmeal can take a breakfast from standard to special without causing too much damage to your diet. The key here is moderation.
One teaspoon of honey (and not a heaping one) has just 21 calories, and unlike regular sugar, certain types of honey have different vitamins and minerals.
For example, manuka honey is valued not only for its flavor, but for its antibacterial properties as well.
The flavor of any honey is so unique to each type that you can buy, so you really won’t need more than that teaspoon to satisfy your cravings. Just mix it straight into the hot cooked oatmeal and enjoy your sweetened breakfast indulgence.
Hopefully, these ten suggestions will help you on your way to a better, tastier oatmeal breakfast that’s still great for you! Don’t be afraid to experiment with your oatmeal to find a healthy and delicious breakfast that will help you stick to a sensible, balanced diet and eating plan.
With options like the ones listed above, who needs pre-packaged, syrupy-sweet porridge in little paper packets? These healthy foods will make the temptation to purchase processed breakfast cereals a thing of the past.
Health by choice, not by chance.