Most of you should know that oats are an excellent source of carbohydrates. A detailed list of benefits can be found HERE. I’m not talking about instant sugar quaker oats here. That is garbage. I’m talking about natural, plain oats, such as Steel Cut, Rolled, or Instant Rolled. Steel Cut is slightly more nutritious, because it still contains the whole grain and bran outer layer. The downside is that it takes 20+ minutes to cook. Rolled is an oat that’s been steamed and rolled thin. These take around 10 minutes to cook. Instant oats are just like the regular, but they’re steamed longer and rolled thinner, so they only take a minute or two to cook.
You can also prepare you oats “overnight,” where you combine dry oats in a mason jar with a liquid base (milk, almond milk, etc.), greek yogurt, fruit, nuts and other flavorings overnight in your refrigerator, just wake up and eat! However, many of these recipes are calorie/sugar bombs that you DO NOT want to start your day with. As nutritious as oats are, many have the problem of finding a tasty way to implement them into your diet. Here’s a few tips on getting your OAT on:
1) Put a 1/2 cup in your protein shake. You can blend it if you want, but I don’t. I just eat it as I drink. It makes for a much more filling breakfast than the shake alone.
2) Add 1tbsp of Natural Peanut/almond Butter (PB2 will save you a lot of fat calories)
3) Add Cinnamon (cinnamon actually blunts the body’s insulin response to carbohydrates, so your “insulin spike” is more like an “insulin speed bump.”
4) Add Fruit. Here’s a spot where the cinnamon would be a good addition, because the fruit WILL produce an insulin spike. Just try to stick to dark berries.
5) Add protein powder. Basically the opposite of number one.
6) Add a small amount of Crystal Light or the new MiO water flavoring. I thought this was weird at first, but fruit punch isn’t bad at all. Plus if you have kids, or are like me and get excited with colored foods, it makes the oatmeal a pink/red color.
7) Truvia or Stevia (sugar substitute) and cinnamon, if you really need it sweet
8) Honey. I’m not a fan of even the natural sugars, but if you must….again, i’d add cinnamon to this.
9) Maple/vanilla syrup extract.
10) Sugar Free Preserves. I like strawberry and boysenberry, you can choose what you like.
11) Shaved almonds or walnuts
12) If you just can’t kick the brown sugar habit, Splenda makes a brown sugar that is twice as sweet (so you use half as much) as regular brown sugar. It’s not the best choice, but over time you can ween yourself off of it and it works.
So this should get you started. I’m sure there are more options than this, but these are the most common. Replacing the typical cereals, breads, and bagels with oats in the morning will have a significant impact on your overall health and energy levels throughout the day.