If I don't eat a filling breakfast, my eating habits are completely thrown off for the rest of the day. I'm unable to control any and all cravings I have (including junk food) that my body begs for so that I provide it with the quickest source of energy. Ever notice how much more appealing a donut sounds when you skip lunch or only have small snacks all day? Even if you don't typically really care for donuts? It's so much easier to resist temptations to unhealthy food when you're well fed. Having a warm, hearty bowl of oatmeal for breakfast really hits the spot and holds me for hours so I don't go crazy snacking to try (and fail) to curb my hunger. I have a very meticulous way that I prepare my oatmeal so that it's as delicious, filling, and nutrient-dense as possible. Today I'm letting you in on the secret...
I love my oatmeal sweetened naturally, with no added sugar except in the chocolate chips I top it with. Well, full disclosure, my brother is kind of a Cinnamon Life fiend, but he hates the broken up pieces at the bottom of the bag...so I often sprinkle a little of those on the top of my oatmeal too. I know I probably shouldn't, but I never eat my first meal of the day until after I work out, when my body can better utilize the nutrients for muscle repair and replenishing energy stores, so I don't feel too bad about it! But better choices that I often opt to add instead are chopped fruit, nuts, or seeds. But I almost never forgo the chocolate chips, and I feel so much less deprived all day for allowing myself this! Oatmeal is wonderfully customizable with flavors, there's very little that doesn't work for it, so don't be afraid to get creative. I even mix in leftover cranberry orange relish after Thanksgiving. So good. And for the picture above I had amazing toasted and chopped almonds on top (and Cinnamon Life). If you've never been a big fan of oatmeal or never found it to be very filling, give my way a try and see if you're not converted.
Single-serving Foolproof Oatmeal
-1/4 cup steel cut or 1/2 cup rolled or quick oats (I use steel cut but use whatever you like)
-1 small or half a large banana
-1/2 cup nondairy milk (I use Silk unsweetened Almond Coconut)
-1-2 Tablespoons chia seeds (I use 2, but if you're new to eating chia seeds stick to 1 to be safe, they're rich in fiber)
-1 Tablespoon almond butter (or peanut butter/nut butter of choice)
-2 Tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips
Optional: 1 Tablespoon hemp seeds, chopped walnuts, or chopped pecans for topping
Optional Flavoring Additions:
-1 tablespoon cocoa powder for chocolate oatmeal
-1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
-sprinkle a mix of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice for gingerbread oatmeal.
-Lemon or mint extracts also work great. The possibilities are endless!
*Note: If banana alone is not sweet enough for you, you can add up to a teaspoon of sugar or sweetener of choice. Or if you don't like banana feel free to sub with unsweetened applesauce, pureed dates (or any pureed or chopped fruit you like), or 1 tablespoon blackstrap (unrefined) molasses.
-Prepare 1/4 cup steel cut or 1/2 cup rolled or quick oats as directed on stove (or in microwave if preferred).
-(Skip heating the banana if it is already overripe and soft/easy to mash.) Peel banana, place in bowl, and put in microwave for 30-45 seconds on high. Remove from microwave and mash very well (until as smooth as possible) with the back of a fork. It should be soft and gooey, and mash easily.
-Next, spoon 2 tablespoons of chia seeds into the bowl with the mashed banana. Heat the 1/2 cup of nondairy milk in the microwave for 30 seconds, pour into the bowl over the chia seeds and banana, and quickly whisk everything together very well with fork. If you let it sit too long the chia seeds will gel together in clumps, which you don't want; you want them to gel independently and thicken everything together evenly.
-Add tablespoon of nut butter to bowl with banana-chia-milk mixture and again whisk together with fork.
-When oatmeal is finished cooking, remove from heat and spoon into bowl of filling ingredients. Stir very well, and if watery let sit a few minutes to allow the oats to soak up some of the liquid and thicken up. Alternatively, you can place the bowl of oatmeal in microwave and heat for 30-45 second increments until thickened to desired texture and heated through.
-Mix in any optional flavoring additions if desired. Finally, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips across the top of the oatmeal, and add any additional toppings like hemp seeds, chopped nuts, or seeds on top of the chips.
Enjoy! Let me know how you like this recipe and if you encounter any problems or have any questions.