I’ll confess, I am the kind of person who wakes up excited about breakfast! These days, I look forward to warming up on chilly mornings with a bowl of hot oatmeal. Since oats can be boring on their own, I am always experimenting with new toppings and mix-ins. This pumpkin version though is one of my absolute favorites. Pomegranate seeds were a new topping addition that paired perfectly with the pumpkin! You’ll definitely start your day off on a healthy note since this bowl is full of soluble fiber, vitamin A, and Omega 3 fatty acids. The recipe below makes enough for one hearty bowl of oatmeal but feel free to double or triple the recipe to feed family or guests.
Maple Pumpkin Oats
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/8 cup pomegranate seeds
- Sprinkle of chia seeds
- Mix oats and milk in a bowl. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes or until oats have soaked up most of the milk.
- Stir in the pumpkin, syrup, and cinnamon.
- Top with walnuts, pomegranate, and chia.
What are your favorite breakfast foods? Are you a fan of sweet or savory breakfast dishes? My favorite breakfast food is oats, which have become quite the staple for my first meal of the day. Not only can they be dressed up all kinds of different ways, they are also great for you! It is chock full of fiber, selenium, and magnesium and is one of the only foods that will actually keep me feeling full until lunch time. In addition, a diet rich in the soluble fiber, beta-glucan, contained in oats has been shown to help lower your LDL or “bad” cholesterol as well as your overall risk of heart disease by as much as 10%. (Source)
Often, when I suggest eating oatmeal to patients, they are hesitant to try it because they feel it is too bland or boring. Others may already be eating processed oatmeal in packets which is great in theory, but is often chock full of sugar and fake flavorings. They are also expensive! However, if you buy plain rolled oats, they are always cheap and still have all their good-for-you fiber without the added chemicals and sugar. Whenever I prepare my oats in the morning, I use milk for the liquid rather than water for some additional protein and calcium. Plus, milk gives the oats a lot creamier texture as well.
Here are some of my favorite healthy ways to dress up oatmeal:
- Chopped apple, cinnamon, and walnuts
- Diced banana, peanut butter, dash of maple syrup
- Halved figs, vanilla, and walnuts
- Chopped pear, almond butter, cinnamon
- Chopped peaches, chia seeds, diced almonds
- Peanut butter and dark chocolate chips
- Pumpkin puree, cinnamon, walnuts
- Berries, coconut cream, and chia seeds
Do you like oatmeal? What is your favorite way to dress up your oats?
I love waking up in the morning and not having anything to do but grab my breakfast and lunch straight from the fridge. However, the number of times in a week that I actually have the ambition to prep by breakfast and pack my lunch the night before is rare… except when I am craving a batch of overnight oats or chia “cereal”! (Check out my post from earlier this week on the benefits of chia!)
One night, I didn’t have enough chia or oats for a full serving of overnight goodness, so Will suggested I combine the two. I loved how this turned out! In the morning, I just scooped the oats into a mason jar, topped it with fruit, and I had a healthy, filling breakfast I can take on the go! This was the perfect recipe for this month’s Recipe Redux theme of “raising the bar of food in a jar”. Hope you enjoy!
Overnight Chia Breakfast Oats
- 1 ripe banana (the more ripe, the better!)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/4 cup canned coconut cream
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup milk (or almond/soy milk)
- In a small mixing bowl, mash banana well.
- Stir in chia seeds and oats. Add coconut cream and the rest of the ingredients.
- Continue to stir until well combined.
- Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight or portion out into a mason jar.
To serve, top with fruit, nuts, granola, etc. A couple of my favorite topping combos are: blueberries and almonds or walnuts and peaches.
It has been a long time since I’ve whipped up a batch of cookies. I was so excited when this month’s Recipe Redux theme for road trip friendly snacks was announced. I knew I wanted to recreate these 3 ingredient banana oat cookies I’ve been seeing around the internet. I boosted the “healthiness” of these by tossing in some almonds, dark chocolate, and chia seeds! Although they are still a cookie, here are some of the great nutrients you are getting from each of the healthy ingredients!
- Banana: Loaded with potassium which helps regulate blood pressure
- Oats: Chock full of insoluble fiber which can help lower cholesterol
- Almonds: Great source of fiber, protein, and vitamin E
- Chia: One of the few foods that have Omega 3 fatty acids a heart healthy fat as well as lots of phosphorus and calcium for stronger bones
- Dark Chocolate: Offers lots of antioxidants, a cancer fighting substance, without a bunch of sugar if you get the super dark version like I do!
It can be difficult to stay on track with your healthy eating on the road. I usually try to pack a few snacks with me like some fresh fruit, nuts, and some kind of muffin, granola bar or cookie like these. When you already have snacks along, you are less like to be tempted by Hostess cakes or Doritos at each pit stop. 🙂
Now, enough talk about these cookies, here is the recipe!
Chocolate Chia Oat Cookies
(Recipe loosely based on this one)
Makes 16 Cookies
- 2 very ripe bananas (think banana bread ones!)
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate pieces or chips
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds
- 1 cup oats
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, mash banana well with a fork until there are no large chunks.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Stir until mixed together well.
- Spoon dough onto a lightly oiled or parchment covered cookie sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and firm.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, it likely comes as no surprise to you that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! I know there are a lot of people who don’t feel the same way, and often skip this meal all together. Skipping is not the way to go though! Numerous studies have shown some of the health benefits of eating a good breakfast. Here are a few:
- Those who have achieved significant weight loss and maintained that lost weight reported that they eat breakfast. (Source)
- Adolescents who regularly ate breakfast were more likely to have a lower BMI than those who skip breakfast most days of the week. (Source)
- Men who reported they regularly ate breakfast gained less weight over the 10 years of follow up than those who skipped this meal. (Source)
- One study indicated that those who ate a higher percentage of their total daily calories at breakfast, gained less weight over the 3 years of follow up. (Source)
- Adolescent girls who routinely ate breakfast had a higher daily intake of fiber and calcium and a lower BMI than those who skipped. (Source)
Now that you know why it is so important to incorporate breakfast into your day, here are some of my favorite breakfast ideas. Keep in mind, the best breakfast has a good bit of protein, fat, and whole grains to help you feel full until lunch time!
No Recipe: Just prepare oatmeal with milk and stir in chopped apples, cinnamon, chopped nuts, and a dollop of nut butter (like sunflower!)
Do you have any plans for the 4th of July weekend?!