When the mornings are brisk and the skies are dreary, there’s nothing like a hot cereal to warm you up from the inside out. An old standby for hot cereal is oatmeal, and it’s my personal favorite. Oatmeal for breakfast is healthy and versatile. People visit my house and frown at their idea of oatmeal, a sludgy, tasteless porridge, but ooh and ahh at the sight and taste of my morning creations. Read on for some of my secrets.
First some fun facts:
- Oatmeal is gluten-free. While there are some increasing concerns about the content of grains and how much we eat them, oatmeal will keep most tummies happy and healthy.
- Speaking of healthy digestion, oatmeal is high in fiber. Fiber is essential to human diets; it can clear the digestive tract, and when eaten regularly, it contributes to a healthy diet. High-fiber diets make for good poops, lowered cholesterol levels, and reduced blood sugar over time.
- A bowl of oatmeal is not only a breakfast hero but also a beauty secret. It’s soothing effects on the skin are so renowned that it’s a main ingredient in Aveeno’s line of products. Oatmeal in a bath is a home remedy for itchy, dry skin conditions such as poison oak, chicken pox, and eczema. At-home spa experts ground it up with banana and honey to make a soothing, moisturizing facial.
In my house, oatmeal’s best quality is its versatility. There are so many mix-ins that you can add to make it more tasty and to boost the health impact of your breakfast meals.
Simple oatmeal is simply the best. I stir in butter, milk, cinnamon, and a teaspoon of sugar at the end of cooking to boost the creaminess and coziness factors.
The Brain Booster
Classically cooked oatmeal can turn into brain fueling magic with a last minute stir in of ground flaxseed, chia seeds, or hemp seeds. All three boast an amazing amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are proven to promote brain health, prevent metal decline, and help alleviate common mental disorders in adults and children. My favorite way to eat these seeds is in a bowl of oatmeal; they have minimal flavor impact and can make oatmeal thicker, which is good for when your water or milk ratio is off, or for picky eaters for like oatmeal with more texture.
Word to the wise: chia seeds can get a little slimy. To prevent this, I add them at the very end of cooking, so they don’t have much moisture to absorb and become gel like. Whole flaxseeds have the same effect, which is why I recommend milled, also added at the end of cooking.
The Harvest Festival
Classic oatmeal becomes a festival of flavor and health when you add fruits, nuts, and seeds. If you’re in a hurry, dried fruits are good add-ins. You can cook the oatmeal classically and forgo the sugar—dried fruit is usually coated in a little sugar and will serve as a natural sweetener for your oatmeal. My go-tos are cranberries and raisins. Dried blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries will give you an antioxidant boost, too. Antioxidants fight cancer-causing free radicals in the body.
For a fresher boost and even sweeter flavor, try frozen berries instead of dried. Frozen fruits are good for on-the-go cooking because you don’t have to cut them, wash them, or even thaw them! Just stir them in after the oatmeal has done a little cooking. As the oatmeal continues to cook, the fruits thaw, adding flavor and color to your heart-healthy meal. Dried fruits can go in at the end, since all they’ll need to do is absorb some heat.
When your oatmeal is ready to serve, stir in your favorite nuts and seeds to complete the harvest! Try the brain boosters listed above, or more classic choices like walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or almonds. Like the seeds listed above, many of these have a great deal of health benefit—adding fiber, protein, and omega fatty acids with each handful.
The harvest festival is one of my favorite ways to make a decadent bowl of oatmeal. With so many textures and flavors combined in one bowl of creamy hot cereal, you have no choice but to feel loved from the inside out. And with all of the added health benefits, your body will surely love you back!
You can shop our online store for power boosting flax, chia, and hemp seeds, or check out this blog post for my pro-tips for making perfect oatmeal in a rice cooker.
Until next time,
We are not doctors, and nothing here should be read as medical advice. Consult your doctor before committing to major dietary changes.
All health claims are sourced from Healthline, which aggregates public health research and provides information about what’s true, what may be true, and what’s still under investigation all in one place. Specific pages referenced for this post include:
- “6 Evidence-Based Benefits of Hemp Seeds” – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-health-benefits-of-hemp-seeds
- “9 Health Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal” – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-benefits-oats-oatmeal
- “12 Foods that are Very High in Omega 3” – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-omega-3-rich-foods
- “17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids” – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3