About this time last year I went on a cereal strike. I was so tired of my children eating multiple bowls of cereal for breakfast and then coming back for a snack an hour later. I was also equally tired of buying enough cereal for them to do so! So I made a simple decision.
No cereal for breakfast.
It took some adjusting, on both our parts, but I was able to condition them to have a “real” breakfast with protein and fruit. It became the norm in our house, and cereal became a treat. I’ve slacked on this, partially because my toddler seems to survive on Cheerios and partially because I got lazy. But there are times I go through and decide I’m just not allowing cereal for breakfast. And that, more often than not, is when I turn to oatmeal.
Did you know that January is National Oatmeal Month? I think this calls for an oatmeal cookie filled celebration!
Benefits of Oatmeal
There are so many reasons I prefer to make oatmeal based breakfasts. One of those is the nutritional benefits.
- Great source of carbs and fiber
- Rich in antioxidants
- They can lower cholesterol
- Improve blood sugar control
- Can reduce the risk of childhood asthma
Let me tell you my favorite part about oatmeal, it fills you up! If I make oatmeal for breakfast, my kids do not ask me for a snack an hour later. That’s a win by itself. The rest of the benefits are those things that I’ll slowly teach my kids. Eating a good breakfast becomes part of their everyday routine and then it will follow them along the rest of their lives. Just like brushing their teeth and making their bed.
Oatmeal is affordable!
The second reason I love oatmeal is can be used in so many ways! From baking to breakfast to smoothies, a big container of oatmeal can last for quite a while. It’s also pretty inexpensive. (Walmart has a 42oz container for less than $4.)
You can try steel cut oats if you like the idea of cooking them overnight or for longer periods of time, but our mornings tend to be a little hectic, so I like instant or quick oats. I buy the big container and that $4 goes quite a bit longer than the $4 I’d spend on a box of Cheerios.
How do I Serve It?
Now to the heart of the issue, what can you do with oatmeal? I’ll tell you what I do with oatmeal.
Breakfast smoothies are not popular in my house. For the most part, I like to eat my food and not drink it, but I also find that after drinking coffee and water, I’m done with drinking anything else at breakfast. But, for an afternoon snack, I’m game. This coffee and oat smoothie is perfect for me!
Blend a banana, ½ cup of coffee (I would switch to decaf in the afternoon), ½ cup of milk, and ¼ cup of oats. You may also consider adding some PB2 or nut butter.
If you’re not into coffee, I offer this suggestion: add ¼ cup of oats to your favorite smoothie meal. Oh, and you may not want to read the rest of my stuff, because coffee and I are BFFs.
I love chia pudding, and my kiddos do as well. There are lots of benefits from chia seeds (lots of protein!) and they hardly even know they are in there. This is another recipe kids can easily whip up, you can store in the fridge for up to a week and they can grab it and go. I would imagine this is great for teenagers who rush out the door, spouses who work out of the home, and afternoon snacks.
This recipe calls for ¼ cup oats, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, 2/3 cup milk, and a scoop of protein powder. (I highly recommend Young Living’s protein powder. Combine everything and put it in the fridge overnight.
A few weeks ago I was inventorying the pantry for our upcoming move and discovered I had a lot of oats. So I looked around for a fun recipe that I could make in advance for breakfast. I decided on this one, made some modifications and then had Declan whip it up.
Combine 2 cups oats, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg and salt, 2 cups milk, 1 egg, 1tsp vanilla extract, and 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder. Then I added 1/3 cup almond butter and some M&M’s, because we didn’t have chocolate chips. I baked it for 30 minutes at 350 and it served the kiddos for the week.
I’m really not sure where the obsession with overnight oats started, but it was one of those things I decided to try and my kids embraced it. For about a month straight, as I was prepping dinner, I would make overnight oats in mason jars. I used the 8oz jars for the kids and the 16oz for my husband.
The 8oz jars were perfect for layering 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup yogurt, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, and some fruit. We use whatever fruit we have around. Then we top it off with some almond milk, and the kids shake it all up. We pop it in the fridge overnight and voila!
All of these are things that my kids can help me make. In fact, the only thing they would need help on is putting the casserole into the oven. These are fun, inexpensive breakfasts to make and they are a great way to fill up bellies (young and old) for a full day of work or school.
Do you like to bake with oats or eat them for breakfast? Let me know your favorite ways to use oats.