Oatmeal Doesn’t Have to be Boring

Oatmeal Doesn’t Have to be Boring

Protein Bars and Breakfast Inspiration

Oatmeal is arguably the world’s healthiest breakfast food.  It helps you feel full and satisfied for your day ahead.  Most people think that oatmeal makes for a boring breakfast but, it certainly doesn’t have to be! This morning meal becomes less boring when you mix in fruit, spices, and other flavor-boosting ingredients.  This healthy whole grain breakfast lowers cholesterol, burns fat, and fills you up with fiber, and potassium.  There are many different flavors and ways you can prepare oatmeal so here are a few ways you can make your breakfast enjoyable, because it is the most important meal of the day! Here are some of my favorite recipes and ideas:

Banana Nut Oatmeal: Unlike sugary oatmeal packets, this homemade version of oatmeal uses a cinnamon for flavor without added calories. The banana adds natural sweetness and fiber, while the omega-3s from the walnuts help your body burn more fat. Ingredients: Rolled oats, water, banana, chopped walnuts, cinnamon

Chai Oatmeal: If you want an extra thick and creamy bowl, add oat bran. It’ll make for a hearty helping and also add more fiber to your meal. If you love the taste of chai, you’ll enjoy this spiced version with coriander, cinnamon, and turmeric. Ingredients: Milk, salt, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, honey, vanilla extract, regular oats, oat bran

Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds and Fresh Berries: Overnight oats in a mason jar is just like a normal bowl of oatmeal but you make it the night before and it’s served cold. This recipe uses berries and chia seeds but you can change up the toppings to suit your taste. Ingredients: Rolled oats, berries, almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, cinnamon

Apple OatmealIn this healthy oatmeal recipe, you can cook apples into your morning oatmeal and you’ll start the day right with whole grains and a serving of fruit. Ingredients: 4 crisp apples, 1 cup steel-cut oats, 4 cups water, 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Apricot & Coconut Oatmeal: This is an easy recipe that will take no longer than 5 minutes.  While this healthy recipe calls for coconut and apricots, other dried fruits can easily be substituted. Ingredients: 1 cup water, ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 6 dried apricots, chopped, 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut

Date & Pine Nut Oatmeal: In this healthy recipe, sweet dried dates, pine nuts, cinnamon, and honey give your breakfast an amazing flavor. Ingredients: 1 cup water, pinch of salt, ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 2 tablespoons chopped dates, 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts, 1 teaspoon honey, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

The Truth Behind Health Bars

Not only is breakfast an extremely important part of your day, but the snacks you eat in between meals during the day are as well.  Bars are an easy snack that most people think are healthy but in reality some are loaded with more sugar than a Pumpkin Spice Latté, and so low in fiber and protein that hunger will take over your body before you’ve even thrown the wrapper away.  When buying new bars you should always keep in mind the following:

  • Keep sugar in check: When buying bars you should make sure that it does not have any added sugar.  Be careful even with sugarless bars, though, because “natural” sugars like brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, honey, and maple syrup can lead to weight gain and other health related issues.
  • Make sure fiber and protein are present: Both fiber and protein make you feel full longer so you don’t feel the need to snack later in the day. The more protein and fiber, the better.
  • Investigate the ingredients: Look for ingredients that YOU recognize!!  A good rule of thumb is to hold the ingredient list to fewer than 10 items, but less is always more.

Here are some examples of bars that you might find in health stores or grocery stores and what you should know about them: 

  • RX Peanut Butter Bar *A great post workout snack or small meal addition due to its natural ingredients and high protein content
    • Calories: 210
    • Fiber: 4
    • Protein: 12
    • Sugar: 15
  • Health Warrior Chia Bars *Might not keep you very full, but it’s a good low calorie snack if you’re in a pinch!
    • Calories: 110
    • Fiber: 4g
    • Protein: 3g
    • Sugar: 4g
  • Annie’s Glueten-Free Double Chocolate Chip Granola Bars *Wouldn’t recommend for post workout due to low protein count.
    • Calories: 110
    • Fiber: 3g
    • Protein: 1g
    • Sugar: 7g
  • KIND Cashew and Ginger Spice *The balls are on the smaller side, so might not fill you up for long, but protein content is decent and sugar is low.
    • Calories: 200
    • Fiber: 5g
    • Protein: 6g
    • Sugar: 4g
  • Ginnybakes Karma, Love and Apricot Ginnbar *This will serve as a good snack.
    • Calories: 190
    • Fiber: 4g
    • Protein: 4g
    • Sugar: 7g
  • Zing Chocolate Coconut Single Bar *Fiber, check. Protein, check. Just watch the sugar and make sure it’s coming from the sources you are seeking. i.e. fruits instead of chocolate!
    • Calories: 210
    • Fiber: 6g
    • Protein: 10g
    • Sugar: 13g
  • Lara Uber Dark Chocolate Turtle *Be careful of these.  The ingredients are great, but calories are high and protein and fiber count are lower than other bars.
    • Calories: 220
    • Fiber: 3g
    • Protein: 5g
    • Sugar: 8g
  • 22 Days Nutrition Nut Butter Buddha *Protein, check. fiber, check. But watch the calories. 
    • Calories: 230
    • Fiber: 5g
    • Protein: 10g
    • Sugar: 11g

RX Bars, which are sold at Cycle & Row, are made with egg whites, fruits and nuts and 100% natural flavors.  We think these are the best bars because of their high protein content and all natural ingredients.  Plus, you will never find sugar or any variety as an added ingredient. They are naturally sweetened and keep you full. They also come in so many flavors such as Mint Chocolate, Coconut Chocolate, Blueberry, Chocolate Sea Salt, Peanut Butter, Coffee Chocolate, Apple Cinnamon, and Pumpkin Spice.  

Food is such an essential part to your day. You are what you eat. So treat your body right and start it off clean. A bowl of oatmeal will leave you full for a while, and when you feel like you need a refuel, a smart bar is a good choice.

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