Breaking the Fast

Good morning! 🙂

Did everyone get in a nutritious breakfast this morning? Lately my morning meals have looked something like this..

Green Smoothie

this..

Toasted sprouted grain bread with almond butter, bananas, blueberries, and honey

or this..

Steel cut oats

Or a combination thereof. Most recently I’ve been choosing oatmeal. Whether its VOO, VOOIAJ, or just a bowl of hot oats, I’m loving how satisfied and energized it keeps me throughout the morning. Plus I love the variety of it. You can play with different flavorings and toppings and have a different breakfast every day!

If you’re not sure how to choose your oats, here’s a quick, go-to guide.

Rolled oats (Old Fashioned) are oats that have gone through a little bit of processing. They have been rolled and steamed to make them a flatter, quicker-cooking, oat. Despite the processing, they are still very nutritious. The taste result of cooking with rolled oats is a smoother, creamier bowl of oats.

Quick oats are similar to the rolled oat variety except they have been ground up slightly in order to make them cook super quick. Many people turn to these due to the convenience, however, your hunger may return a lot sooner after eating these compared to eating oats in their whole form. You also will not get the full nutty taste of the oats with quick cooking oats.

Steel cut oats are oats in their whole, natural state. The oats haven’t undergone any processing and are simply cut with a steel blade (hence the name) before being packaged. Steel cut oats are also referred to as Irish or Scottish oats due to the face that this is the form of oats you will typically find in those countries. As far as nutrition goes, steel cut oats are pretty similar to the rolled oat variety, however, they will keep you feeling fuller longer. Steel cut oats take longer to digest so they will keep you energized and focused throughout your morning. Steel cut oats definitely have a different texture than rolled oats, which most people are used to. They are nutty and chewy, but if you cook them with a little milk/water combo, they still have a creaminess to the that is delicious. One downfall of steel cut oats is the cooking time. They do take a little more effort (about 15 minutes), but I’d say it’s worth it.

As far as cooking goes, I love to cook my oats with half water and half almond milk for a creamier effect. Don’t be afraid to experiment with toppings either. Choose combinations of cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin spice, cocoa, coconut, nuts, seeds, fruit (fresh, dried, frozen), nut butter, jams, pure maple syrup, honey, applesauce, etc. The options are endless!

Don’t let imposters fool you. Not all oats are created equal and many companies try to sell their own variety in hopes of drumming up business from “healthy” eaters at their establishment. First let’s start with Quaker instant oats. You may have enjoyed these little, flavored packets as a child, and I know many people who still opt for these as their breakfast of choice. Most varieties of instant oats contain added flavorings, preservatives, undergo a lot of processing, and contain unnecessary amounts of sugar. They also will not fill you up and will have you reaching for a morning snack shortly after. If convenience is important to you, then I suggest choosing rolled oats and adding in any of the toppings I mentioned above for a healthier, more satisfying breakfast.

Moving on, let’s talk about Starbucks, McDonald’s, Jamba Juice and the many other companies that have jumped on the oatmeal bandwagon. I wasn’t kidding when I said, not all oats are created equal. In fact, I would hardly call McDonald’s attempt oatmeal at all. I encourage you to read the write up by Mark Bittman on the topic of McDonald’s failed attempt at oatmeal. I agree with him that when you look at the list of ingredients of your oatmeal, shouldn’t you see…just….oats? That’s all oatmeal is, right? Not in McDonald’s world, who has now managed to take one of the healthiest breakfasts and turn it into something that’s not much healthier than ordering a cheeseburger off the menu. The sad part is, I’m not kidding. Not only does the product contain the amount of sugar in a Snickers bar, but the “oatmeal” part of the meal is made up of seven ingredients! Seven! So, save yourself the money and be aware of false claims about the food you may be consuming. For the price of McDonald’s oatmeal, you could buy a whole container of real oats and make them to-go in the mornings at home.

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