“Just eat it. It sticks to your ribs,” my mom said as she dished out heaping spoonfuls of oatmeal into six bowls. When you are a single mother with six kids, you buy foods that fill you up for as long as possible. Eating oatmeal when I was growing up was a necessity, so after years of choking down sugar-coated clumps, the last thing that I wanted to eat as a young adult was oatmeal. But my relationship with oatmeal changed when I moved out west and needed something that would stick to my ribs during long hikes and runs. Lately, I’ve been eating a healthier version of oatmeal on the regular, which also keeps me regular.
Here are 6 reasons why I’m outrageous for oatmeal:
- It really does stick to your ribs: A quality bowl of oatmeal will leave you feeling full for hours, helping you to avoid those doughnuts in the office all morning long.
- It’s quick & easy: Making a bowl of oatmeal takes 3-5 minutes. And it’s easy to make on the road, whether you’re staying in a hotel, in a tent, or on a friend’s couch.
- It’s “pure power”: My colleague Mitch summed up the magical power of oatmeal in these two words. This pure power has become my fuel of choice for long days at the office or long days on the trail, including my 102.9-mile race.
- It sparks your creativity: Oatmeal encourages you to use your imagination to create a healthy, delicious combination. If you search the internet for oatmeal recipes, you can even find slow-cooker recipes that run overnight so you can wake up to a bowl of savory bacon oatmeal.
- It’s healthy: Oats are one of the healthiest grains. They are high in soluble fiber which may help lower blood sugar levels, and they contain antioxidants which may help lower blood pressure.
- And it’s cheap: Just like my mom, you can buy the oats in bulk to save money. You can buy many of the toppings in bulk too.
Health notes: The standard serving size of oats is a ½ cup, which contains about 38 grams of carbohydrates. On regular mornings, I use ⅓ cup of oats because I add additional (healthy) carbs via my toppings. On training mornings, I use the standard serving size to meet the demands of my body. Regardless of my training, I avoid adding sugar, honey, or dried fruit as toppings and instead stick with fresh fruits like berries and apples.
- ⅓ cup of Bob’s Red Mill, Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats, 32 oz.
- ½ scoop of Vega Sport Protein Powder, Vanilla, 1.83 lb, 20 Servings. I use Vega protein powders because they are plant-based, but you can add your protein power of choice. I use enough to add 15 grams of protein. (Depending on the brand, protein powder can really thicken the mixture. Experiment with smaller amounts first and see what works.)
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Cinnamon contains compounds that help the cells in your body process carbs more effectively.
- ¼ of a medium diced organic apple or ¼ cup frozen organic blueberries. Defrosting blueberries in the microwave helps to preserve nutrients.
- 2 tablespoons of almonds or walnuts. I switch between these two nuts to change the nutrients and texture of the oatmeal.
- Mix everything together.
- Pour boiling water over the mixture and stir. Add more water if you like thinner oatmeal and less water if you like thicker oatmeal.
- Let sit for 10 minutes. (This is a great time to pack a healthy lunch.) Stir again and enjoy. If you want it warmer, put it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. You can also use the microwave to cook it faster if you are in a hurry.
Nutrition facts for Sime’s Apple-Almond Oatmeal
Serving size: 1 bowl. Calories: 364. Total Fat: 15g. Saturated Fat: 1g. Cholesterol: 0g. Sodium: 196g. Total Carbohydrate: 38g. Dietary Fiber: 10g. Sugars: 6g. Protein: 24g.
For those of you paying attention to your macronutrient ratios, the calories in this recipe are about 40% carbohydrates, 35% fat, and 25% protein.
Bonus Tip: Oatmeal packets are always in my snack bag. I enjoy Bakery On Main Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Ancient Grains Instant Oatmeal, Traditional Unsweetened, 10.5 Ounce/6 Count Box (Pack of 3) It’s gluten-free and contains 0 grams of sugar.