Monday, March 12, 2012

How Do You Start Your Day?

As we've all heard a million times, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Although I've heard from friends and family that when they eat breakfast they just get hungry earlier in the day, that's a good thing! It means your metabolism has been kicked in to gear, and you're burning calories instead of storing them. It's definitely a tough mental game, and even I hate being hungry by 10 am when I've eaten breakfast at 8, but it is so much healthier than not eating breakfast at all.

Lately, I have found SO much information on healthy breakfast options online. Although I continue to have an interest in DIY & home design blogs, I have found a new love and appreciation for healthy eating and fitness blogs. With no major projects to be done at our condo and no longer working 15+ hour days, I have been focusing a lot more attention on my own health and fitness. And I have felt SO great lately working out consistently and watching what I eat. I really hope I can stick with the morning workouts and healthier meal options.

Breakfast as of late has involved a lot of oatmeal. It started with steel cut oatmeal. I love the crunchier texture. It's a great hot meal in the morning that I've paired with fruit and almond butter. Oh and if you haven't tried almond butter, you should. It's one of my new obsessions. It goes great with everything, and provides more micronutrients than peanut butter- including Vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and iron. Personally, I love the taste and texture- it's not as salty as peanut butter and a little crunchier.

Steel cut oatmeal with fresh fruit & almond butter

Well, as much as I love steel cut oatmeal, I recently found out about overnight oatmeal. And let me tell you, this stuff will certainly hold you over until lunch. Trust me. When I go to the gym in the morning I am just starving alllll dayyyy longggg. Even the steel cut oatmeal doesn't always hold me over until lunch.

I owe my overnight oatmeal recipe to Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers. I started reading her blog less than a month ago and absolutely love it. On more than one occasion I have laughed out loud at her writing. Anyways, her overnight oatmeal recipe is great. I have tweaked it as needed depending on what I have in my fridge, but overall, I have Julie to thank for my new favorite breakfast. J enjoys it too!

To make overnight oatmeal for J and I, I have been combining one greek yogurt (6 oz cup), 1 cup light vanilla soymilk, and 1 cup rolled oats. I've also been adding a tablespoon or two of ground flax because we still have plenty left from our Cleanse

Things I quickly realized after our first overnight oatmeal mixture - use flavored greek yogurt. The first time I made it, I used what we had. Which included plain greek yogurt & regular skim milk. I added honey for sweetness as recommended but it just didn't do the trick for us. But, what a difference using flavored greek yogurt and vanilla soymilk makes! Night & day I tell you. The plain overnight oatmeal NEEDED fruit and almond butter. The flavored one could have easily been eaten on its own. But why not add fresh fruit and/or a nut butter if you have it?

When you mix the ingredients, you want to have a somewhat soupy mixture. Trust me, the oats will absorb the moisture. Cover it, and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, it should look something like this - 

Overnight oatmeal

Add some toppings such as fresh fruit, raisins, maple syrup, a little more milk, stevia for sweetness if needed, almond/peanut butter, etc....Strawberries were buy one, get one free last week so we ate plenty of fresh strawberries over here....

Looks pretty tasty, right? This weekend while home visiting both sets of parents, I told my father-in-law about our new favorite breakfast. We were at the local health food store and I couldn't get over the fact that a HUGE bag of rolled oats was $6. The bag was too big for us to even store so I opted for the $2 bag, which let me tell you, was still a decent size. My father-in-law decided he'd like to try overnight oatmeal (and why not for $2 a bag of oats!) so we made some Saturday night. Both in-laws loved it! (cue the sigh of relief)

J & I usually use Chobani flavored yogurt with the fruit on the bottom which has been great. But my in-laws had strawberry greek yogurt in their fridge and it was soooo good in the overnight oatmeal. We bought some flavored greek yogurt at Trader Joe's Sunday to use in some of this weeks batches. 

And since not every day am I in the mood for so much dairy in the morning, I will certainly continue to make steel cut oatmeal from time to time as well.

Let me know if you give this a try! An added bonus to overnight oatmeal, by making it the night before you certainly save a few minutes in the morning... That certainly helps me on a Monday morning. 

Let's hope this week flies by just like the last few!

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