It’s a Sunday morning and you’re writing down your grocery list. In an effort to be more health conscious you decide to give oatmeal a try so you put it down on your list. Oatmeal has an incredible reputation as being one of those super foods. It is a very healthy carbohydrate source that is full of dietary fiber, protein, and even contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. This is all translates into you feeling fuller longer, having more energy, and eating a food that will work with your body instead of against it.
So you pick up the box of oatmeal and check out all the different flavors you can possibly buy. The promise of the oatmeal being done in a matter of minutes in the microwave makes this even more appealing because it seems convenient. But you shouldn't buy it. This can be a terrible health decision and put you further away from your goals.
How so? I listed all the great things about oatmeal before.
There’s a huge difference between oatmeal and the quick and instant oatmeal. When you purchase the quick and instant types of oatmeal you aren’t buying all those health benefits of oatmeal. Instead, you are buying a product that is packed with artificial ingredients, colors, and flavors. These products may contain regular sugar or even worse, high fructose corn syrup. This all leads to a “health product” that has a significantly higher glycemic index, meaning your blood sugar spikes up high. One of your most important eating goals should be to level out blood sugar and avoid spikes throughout the day.
So which oatmeal do you buy? The answer is any oatmeal that contains only one ingredient and takes longer to cook. You need to pay attention to the list of ingredients and not just nutrition facts. Steel cut oats or old fashioned oats should be your only choices.
Make a bowl of oatmeal and have a piece of fruit with it and some sort of protein like a hardboiled egg. You will feel MUCH better in the morning and for the rest of the day if you switch from a breakfast of quick oats to the one I just suggested. It will be a little more preparation time so if you need to wake up 5 minutes earlier. Waking up 5 minutes earlier to set your day of right is worth the tiny little bit of sleep you’re sacrificing.
Another option is to just take the oatmeal as it is and put anywhere from a quarter cup to a cup (based on your daily caloric needs) and add it to a breakfast smoothie.
A great and easy to make breakfast shake is:
1 cup almond milk, 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 banana or 1 cup blueberries, and ¼ - 1 cup oatmeal.