Give Your Breakfast a Boost

Oatmeal is a traditional go-to breakfast that's filled with soluble fiber, nutrients, and whole grains, making it an easy, delicious way to start  your day with a little healthy boost. It's definitely one of my favorite go-to's in the morning, but the same old bowl day after day can get pretty boring.

To keep things interesting for myself, and my girls, I've come up with a variety of tasty topping combinations that add some flavor and fun to your morning meal. Plus, with so many to choose from, you could happily eat oatmeal at breakfast every day.

Why Would You Want to Eat Oatmeal Every Day?

Well, it doesn't take a whole lot more effort than a bowl of cereal, and it packs a huge nutritional punch. Plus, there's no blood sugar spike like with sugary cereals, so there's no mid-morning energy crash. More importantly, oatmeal has been shown to help in preventing heart disease and lowering your risk for other diseases such as high blood pressure and certain cancers.

The fiber found in oatmeal, beta-glucan, has been shown to lower bad cholesterol and just 3 grams a day (conveniently, the amount found in a serving of oatmeal) could reduce your cholesterol by up to 23%. Oatmeal is also a great source of iron, B vitamins and magnesium, which aids the body in using glucose and secreting insulin, which helps lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.

So, really the question should be: why wouldn't you eat oatmeal every day (or at least more than you do now)?

Here are some super easy add ins you can use to top your oatmeal to put variety in your mornings and slip some extra nutrition into your (and your family's!) diet.

  • Mango-Coconut: chopped fresh mango, shredded coconut, pinch cardamom, chopped cashews
  • Orange-Ginger: orange marmalade, minced fresh ginger, top with almonds and chopped candied ginger
  • Pumpkin Pie: canned pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • Peaches & Cream: chopped fresh or frozen peaches, vanilla yogurt
  • Banana Nut: creamy peanut butter, mashed banana, chopped peanuts
  • Blueberry Molasses: fresh or frozen blueberries, molasses, cinnamon, top with a little granola
  • PB&J – creamy peanut butter, chopped strawberries, top with a dab of all-fruit strawberry jam
  • Honey-Apricot: chopped dried apricots, drizzle of honey, pinch nutmeg, toasted almonds
  • Apple-Pecan: diced peeled fresh apple (or chunky applesauce), cinnamon, chopped pecans
  • Maple-Fig: chopped dried or fresh figs, maple syrup, chopped walnuts, top with plain Greek yogurt
  • Raspberry-Almond: almond butter, fresh or frozen raspberries, a dab of all-fruit raspberry jam
  • Savory Cheddar-Scallion: Oatmeal doesn't have to be sweet. Treat it like grits - stir in some shredded cheddar and chopped scallions, then top with a poached egg for a hearty, savory meal. 

Actually, the majority of these add-in ingredients have health benefits of their own: blueberries, apples, bananas ... even cinnamon and nutmeg add nutritional value. Now, how about that for being sneakily healthy?

Have fun trying out these different combinations and let me know if you come up with any of your own! I'm always on the lookout for new ideas.