It’s that time of year again for us in Australia, when the days get shorter and colder - the perfect weather to have oats for breakfast! I love eating warm breakfasts in winter because as I’m sure many of you know - I am NOT a fan of the cold. Oats are a great choice because they are a whole grain and can help to keep you feeling full, compared to a regular (sugary) cereal. Did you know that there are ways you can actually be ruining your oats? It is pretty easy to turn a healthy meal into an ‘unhealthy’ one and oats are no exception!
This is how you may be ruining your oats:
1. Going for the quick option
Buying instant oats is probably one of life’s best conveniences, they are each portioned out for you and take next to no time to cook. The downside of instant oatmeal (especially flavoured, instant oatmeal) is that it is generally full of sugar and sometimes artificial flavours.
To avoid this sugar hit (which can leave you feeling hungry very soon after eating), go for rolled oats and flavour them naturally with fresh fruit or other natural sweeteners. If you are in a huge hurry and need to settle for the instant variety, make sure to get the plain or unsweetened kind and add flavour in yourself. That way you (and you alone!) can control how much sweetness is in your breakfast.
2. It’s all in the toppings...
It’s all in the toppings! Oats are pretty plain, so one of the best ways to add flavour is to also add sweetness and other ingredients. The problem can lie in what you’re topping your oats with.
A) You’re not using the right toppings
For example, if you’re someone that like to lather your oats with brown sugar and stir through a big handful of chocolate chips, then you may not be kick-starting your day with the most nutritious breakfast. Yes, these things may taste delicious, but they can also leave you feeling like it’s time for second breakfast shortly after eating.
B) You’re going overboard
We’ve all heard the saying “too much of a good thing, isn’t always a good thing”. While some foods aren’t necessarily bad for you when eaten in small amounts, it is possible to overdo it.
A few examples of this are honey and pure maple syrup. If you add too much to your oats, then it can really ramp up the sugar content. Same thing applies to other healthy toppings, such as fresh fruit and nut butters. Balance is key here!
Healthy Oat Topping Ideas:
- 1 banana, ½ tsp honey, and ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 180g mixed berries and 50g natural yoghurt
- 180g blueberries, zest of ½ lemon and 50g natural yoghurt
- 200g rhubarb stewed with fresh orange juice and 1 tsp honey (don’t worry, the rhubarb reduces quite a bit!)
- ½ scoop protein powder, 1 tsp natural peanut butter and a pinch of cacao nibs
What is your favourite healthy oat topping?
Love, Kayla xx