A new Perspective on Breakfast: Steel Cut Oatmeal
Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day. When my alarm would go off at 5:50am during my high school years, I would drag my groggy self out of be, get dressed, and head down to the breakfast table for a big bowl of cereal. Mmmm, mmmm, good!
I loved any kind of cereal you put in front of me, from Fruit Loops to Mini Wheats to Kellog’s Just Right. I considered cereal to be a food group, and to my mom’s annoyance (and likely, to her worry for my health as well), would often choose to eat cereal for lunch and dinner as well. True story.
And, I’m sorry, did you say oatmeal for breakfast? Yuk! And if I had to eat it, I would either eat the sugar laden Quaker Oats maple and brown sugar flavored instant oatmeal, or plane old fashioned oats with equal parts oatmeal and brown sugar.
Now that I’m an adult (*gasp*) I am much more health conscious. After listening to all the recent reports about sugar, reading Dr. Mark Hyman’s The Blood Sugar Solution, and taking stock of how I actually feel after consuming sugar, I know I need to get a hold and refine my taste buds.
Cereals just have too much sugar in them, and the ones that don’t, well, I don’t seem to be buying them.
My happy medium?
Steel cut oatmeal with almond milk. I dress it up in 2 ways, depending on how I’m feeling that day:
1. With raisins, walnuts and cinnamon
2. With sliced bananas, pecans and cinnamon
I may know that sugar is not amazing for me (and is arguably toxic), but I’d be lying if I told you I was going to completely give it up. Instead, for breakfast, I’m just using foods that natural have sugars in them, like fruits, in order to get my fix and satisfy my sweet-seeking taste buds.
HOW TO COOK STEEL CUT OATMEAL, Lauren style!
Makes 1 serving
1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add 1/4 cup steel cut oats and about 1/4 cup of almond milk. For 2 servings, boil 2 cups water, and add 1/2 cup steel cut oats and 1/2 cup almond milk.
2. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. When I have a heavy hand and add a little too much almond milk, I have to cook it for about 14 or 15 minutes. When I am on the lighter side with the almond milk, my oats are ready in 10 or 11 minutes.
3. For creamy, smooth oats, you know when the oatmeal is ready when they are still a bit watery, almost like a medium watery stew. When you pour the oatmeal into the bowl, it will look like there is a layer of liquid on the top. The oats will slowly absorb this liquid in the bowl, so this is what you want.
4. Dress is how you want it, in whatever quantities you want. I typically add about a teaspoon of cinnamon, my other toppings, and then mix it all together so that all the flavors and parts are evenly distributed.
My particular favorite is the bananas and pecans. The trick here is to first make sure you use ripe bananas: bright yellow, no green. Second, and equally as important: add your sliced bananas to the hot oatmeal as soon as it’s in the bowl. The heat caramelizes the bananas a little bit, making them sweeter.
A NOTE ABOUT BREAKFAST:
Remember: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast gives you the energy you need to perform at 100% during your day, and actually dulls your appetite for dinner. This is a good thing, because eating a light dinner 2-3 hours before bed time is a good habit that keeps your digestive system healthy. Think about it: you need much more energy at the beginning of your 12-15 hour day to get you through. You don’t need much energy (A.K.A calories) to sleep.
And with that, it’s time to pack it up, and pack it in for the night. Wishing you sweet dreams, and a yummy breakfast in the morning!