It’s official: I’m addicted to oatmeal. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s healthy (lowers cholesterol, boosts the immune system, has special anti-oxidants for heart protection, stabilizes blood sugar, lowers risk of diabetes, prevents breast cancer), and there’s nothing more comforting during those dark, colder months when you’re up before the sun. I have to admit, I was never an oatmeal fan. I’d buy an assorted box of oatmeal packets, intent on reaping the health benefits, but they’d collect dust in my cupboards. It was either too bland or too sugary. I couldn’t find the happy medium, so I gave up all together. This past summer, while on vacation for my cousin’s wedding, I was forced to make peace with oatmeal as we hotel hopped on our post-wedding family road trip. The free breakfasts that came with our stay were always gluten packed and/or sugary items, leaving only oatmeal and fruit as my options. Most had “build your own oatmeal” stations, which inspired me to make my own quick, easy, and superfood infused oatmeal packets. No time in the morning? I bring the pre-mixed ingredients with me. No kettle where I’m going? I pre-boil the water and put it in my tea thermos to add later (and bring a tea bag to use with the remaining hot water, as well!).
There are some really amazing oatmeal recipes that take a little extra time on the stove like this peanut butter oatmeal recipe from “ohsheglows” that I’ve enjoyed on leisurely Sunday mornings, but if you are looking for something quick and satisfying with an added superfood punch, check out my simple mix:
1/2 cup gluten-free oats (I use wheat-free “Only Oats” brand)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground flax
1 teaspoon chia seed
Handful of dried fruit of choice (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc.)
Add 1 cup of boiling water, mix, and voila! A healthy, gluten-free, sugar-free, protein and fibre packed bowl of oatmeal. The chia seed is not only a nutritious addition, but also thickens the oatmeal, which I enjoy. By putting the dried fruit in with the hot water, the hydration makes them plump and juicy. The dried fruit provides just the right amount of sweetness, but if you feel you need an extra dose, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup should do the trick. Some of my favourite toppings are: slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and fresh fruit. Unless you enjoy a salty kick to your oatmeal, try to stick to the healthier choice of raw/unsalted seeds and nuts. A splash of almond milk is also a great option and provides an extra nutritional boost.
I’m almost through my 2nd large bag of gluten-free oats this month. I can’t seem to start my day without it!