Healthy breakfasts don’t have to be time consuming. One of the most healthy and hearty breakfasts especially for a winter morning is oatmeal, because it is a rich source of soluble fiber, is full of antioxidants, and low in calories. One half-cup serving of plain oatmeal only yields 150 calories, while providing a special type of antioxidant called avenanthramide that protects against heart disease, high cholesterol, and even prevents the hardening of the arteries, as reported by HealthyEating.org. The fiber in oatmeal also keeps consumers feeling full longer, preventing the need to snack on sugary or salty foods throughout the day.
Plus, oatmeal is impressively customizable. The whole grain is like an open slate, catering to those who like their porridge plain with just a touch of brown sugar, or those who like to get more creative in the morning with their different sets of toppings. Here are six examples of recipes that fall into both camps, and even recommendations that help you get most of the oatmeal grunt work done the night before. Check out these way to transform your favorite whole grain, and get ready to reap the health benefits.
1. Overnight Oats
We’ll start with a recipe for overnight oats, because this is arguably the most appealing oatmeal recipe for those who don’t have the time in the morning to stand over a bowl of oatmeal at the stove and stir, stir, stir. Overnight oats is also an especially attractive option in the warmer months when the thought of eating a warm breakfast on a hot morning makes people sweat just thinking about it, but it can even be appetizing in the winter months for those who prefer a cold breakfast.
The secret to overnight oats is reflected in its name: you prepare your oats the night before and then only have to add your toppings once the morning rolls around. This recipe from Whole Foods serves 4.
- 2 cups rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)
- 2 cups low fat milk or unsweetened soy milk or almond milk
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds
- 2 peaches or apricots, pitted and sliced
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar (optional)
Directions: Combine oats, milk, zest and vanilla in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, scoop oatmeal into bowls and top with pecans, peaches, and a drizzle of agave nectar.