Thursday, October 31, 2013

Beating the Boring Breakfast Blues

Beating the Boring Breakfast Blues

This time of year, I need a breakfast to stick to my ribs (but not my waistline.) My office is usually freezing, so it’s nice to have something warm to eat when I get in. Also, I need my sleep. I do not have the time or energy in the morning to get up and make a real breakfast. Sometimes, even making a smoothie is too much work for me.

 I used to bring those instant oatmeal packets to work with me…saccharine sweet flavors like banana, strawberry, and peach, but now they’re too sweet for me to handle. Plus rolled oats, especially the instant variety, can easily become a pile a beige mush—not too appetizing!

That’s when I discovered steel cut oats. I really don’t know why I never had them before, but they’re awesome. They do take a few minutes to cook in the morning (usually 10…but if you like them mushy, I guess it could take 20,) but they’re low maintenance. Put some water on low heat and dump the oats in. I brush my teeth. Run to the kitchen to stir. Put my clothes on. Stir. Make my bed. Stir. ETC. Basically, when the water almost completely evaporates, they’re done! Yay! Then you can flavor them anyway you want! 

Little time saving hint: if you’re a commuter like me, and like to bring breakfast to work so you can eat it when you get in, prep all your add-ins the night before (fruit, nuts, honey, sugar, coconut flakes, peanut butter, etc.) and put them in a Tupperware in the fridge. That way in the morning, you just have to worry about cooking the oats, dumping them in the Tupperware, and running out the door. I have an hour and a half commute, so I still need to reheat it in the microwave when I get to work, but they stay hot for the first 20 minutes of the drive if you don’t have such a far trip! 

Also—I know there are “overnight oats” methods when you can soak them overnight and just microwave them in the morning, so feel free to experiment with that if you really hate the idea of using your stove in the morning.

Below is my favorite recipe. It really tastes good, it’s got texture—so you can chew it!—and it’s under 300 calories, and completely holds me over ‘til lunch!

¼ cup of steel cut oats (The ¼ cup measurement is the amount of dry oats; then you cook them according to your package, and voila!)
1 tbsp of chia seeds
½ tsp of cinnamon
1tsp of Sugar in the Raw
½ tbsp of sliced almonds
½ tbsp of dried cranberries
1 tbsp of vanilla almond milk 

If you use this exact recipe, the nutritional info is as follows:
285 calories. 41 g of carbs. 9.5 g of fat. 6 g of sugar. 11 g of protein. 11 g of fiber.  

Not too shabby!

I like Bob’s Red Mill brand for the oats and chia seeds, and you can get them at ShopRite, but it’s totally your preference. Same goes with the Sugar in the Raw; you could use brown sugar, agave, honey, whatever you like. And again with the dried nuts and berries—mix it up to your preference! You could also use regular or rice milk instead of almond milk, or leave it out entirely. I like it, because I have to heat it up again once I get to work, and it keeps the oats from getting dry. 


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