There’s not a single season where I’m not excited about breakfast.
Warm weather or cool, I look forward to the first meal of the day from the time I get up… and sometimes even from the time I go to bed! On rushed mornings it can get tough though- sometimes I end up resorting to a banana or a bowl of cereal that end up letting me down. Because I know we all have this struggle, I’ve decided to share my favorite fast (and still filling and fun) breakfast that will get your day off to a fantastic start. If your New Years Resolution was to eat healthier… this is a great start!
First of all, let me just argue a case for breakfast…
I’m one of those people that wakes up hungry, but I understand that a lot of people don’t. But, just because you don’t feel like eating doesn’t mean you don’t need to! Here are a few of the most compelling reasons to eat something before you head out the door: better focus, faster metabolism, better mood, more energy, better heart health and more! Think about this- when you wake up, you haven’t had anything to eat for several hours. You wouldn’t expect your car to function well without gas in the tank. So you can’t expect your body and brain to work well without proper nourishment.
And now for my favorite work-day breakfast: Chia Oats!
This breakfast boasts a powerful punch of protein, fiber, healthy fats, calcium and a ton of vitamins and minerals. What a way to start your day! But oatmeal takes a while to cook, right? That’s why the cardinal rule of nourishing work day breakfasts is plan ahead! If you take 5 minutes the night before to prep your breakfast, you’ll be thanking yourself the next morning! So here’s how it’s done:
Classic Overnight Chia Oats
1/2 cup Quick Cooking Oats (Gluten Free, if you have Celiac’s or an intolerance)
3/4 cup whole organic milk (coconut or almond milk or water for dairy free)
1 tbsp organic chia seeds
The night before: combine all ingredients and cover. Next morning: Stir, add any toppings/spices heat up (if desired) and enjoy! I pop mine into the microwave for 1 minute and it comes out just hot enough to eat after stirring.
5 mins of prep the night before, and less than 5 minutes in the morning, and you’re set to go! But if the thought of plain old oat meal isn’t leaving you particularly jazzed, heres a few variations that make it interesting enough to eat it a few times a week.
1. Pumpkin Spice Oats
OK, so maybe it’s not fall anymore. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have Pumpkin Spice everything. Pumpkin is actually super good for your hair, nails and digestion, so if you feel the urge to pull on a pair of fuzzy boots and yoga pants after a bowl of this… Just know it’s for the good of your health. ;)
Instructions: simply add a couple spoonfuls of pure canned pumpkin, some maple syrup or honey and a few dashes of pumpkin pie spice to your oats before or after they soak overnight.
2. Pecan Praline Oats
Pecans are a good source of protein and healthy fats! Not to mention they add texture to your bowl.
Instructions: crumble a handful of raw pecans into your oats the morning along with a dash of cinnamon and a splash of pure maple syrup.
3. Nut Butter Banana Oats
You can use any nut butter you want for this one! The extra protein makes this far more filling though, so get ready to be full for a long time!
Instructions: stir a spoonful or two of your favorite nut butter into your bowl after heating, along with some slices of a ripe banana. I like this one without anything to sweeten it, but you can totally add honey or maple syrup if you want.
4. Cranberry Walnut Oats
Something about the tang and crunch combination on this one is really quite magical. :) And the fiber and antioxidants the cranberries add is a great boost for your morning.
Instructions: just throw dried cranberries (try to find them without added sugar or with reduced sugar, if possible. Sweetening takes down the nutrient density) and crumble a few raw walnuts into your bowl, along with a splash of honey or pure maple syrup.
5. Peanut Butter Cup Oats
Mmm… this one tastes like desert. But don’t let yourself feel guilty- you’re doing something great for your health with this bowl. Pure, unsweetened cocoa powder contains minerals (manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium) and flavinoids that are exellent for your overall health. This even makes a great nighttime snack.
Instructions: add a spoonful of peanut butter (or your fave nut butter) and a spoonful or two of pure, unsweetened cocoa powder to your oats after heating. Add a splash of honey or maple syrup to sweeten. Then eat that. Eat all of it. You’ve earned this, kid.
6. Blueberry Cream Oats
Blueberries have free radical and cancer fighting antioxidants, and when you buy frozen ones they are picked and frozen at the peak of ripeness (which is also the peak of nutrients and flavor).
You’ve got the hang of this by now! Defrost the berries by heating up a handful in the microwave and tossing them in! Achieve creaminess with a splash of organic half and half or a dollop of unsweetened coconut milk (for my dairy free/vegan/paleo friends). Blueberries can be quite tart, so I recommend honey for this one. The extra liquid from defrosting the berries is delicious and picturesque too, so don’t resist the urge to post this one to instagram before stirring. ;) Tag @wholehappyfamily_ for a repost/shoutout!
7. Cherry Chocolate Chip Oats
What? Is this dessert or breakfast? This slightly more indulgent bowl is still quite packed with nutrition, so eat it up!
There’s two different ways to do this: you can add a dollop of just fruit cherry jam, or for a lower sugar option, defrost some frozen cherries (you’ll want honey if you go this route). Then throw in some semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips and watch them melt into oatmeal perfection.
I hope this inspires you guys to start thinking of oatmeal as a fun and filling option for workday breakfasts! It’s been sequestered to a boring dish that takes forever to cook for way too long. Happy Breakfasting!