Over and over we are told the most important meal of the day is breakfast and the positive benefits it provides. It gets the brain thinking, blood pumping and is beneficial to your overall mood. Breakfast also curbs overeating during later meals and plays a strong role in weight-loss and weight maintenance.
A great breakfast choice, for various reasons, is oatmeal. It is low fat and filling as well as a nutritious alternative to cold processed cereal. Oatmeal is full of vitamins and antioxidants and is shown to lower cholesterol.
It’s important to start with raw oats. If possible avoid the prepackaged, sugared and flavored oatmeal. Though the packets are convenient and taste great, it’s much less nutritious like most packaged foods.
If you have the time, about thirty minutes, cook whole oats, they have a wonderful consistency. Quick oats have the same nutritional value, so if three minutes is all you have to give, still a great choice.
Oatmeal can be simmered in water or in milk and though water may present fewer calories, adding skim milk can fulfill calcium needs. And keeping up with your daily calcium needs, which is especially important for women in maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis, is also a factor in weight control.
The ways to add rich and delicious taste to your oatmeal are greatly varied.
My favorite way to flavor oatmeal is by adding ground cinnamon and sliced apples while it simmers. When breakfast is ready it tastes like the filling of a hot apple pie.
Alternative fresh fruit flavors include cinnamon and raisins, cut up peaches, bananas, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. They all taste delicious in oatmeal and add needed vitamins to the diet.
If fruit doesn’t appeal to you, maple syrup might be a better choice. To cut back on calorie count, choose a light or sugar free version. Cinnamon sugar and honey are also delicious alternatives.
If you’re pressed for time in the morning as most of us are, consider baking oatmeal breakfast bars for eating on the go. This is proven good for camping out too with the family (but of course using improvised cooking tools).
- 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup Grape nuts
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray a 9 x 9 pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread mixture evenly in the pan.
Bake 30 minutes, until bars are firm. Let cool, cut into squares and store in the refrigerator.