About Me

My photo
Creating my ideal figure, one workout and one meal at a time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

6 Calorie-Free Ways to Liven Up Your Oatmeal

I love oatmeal.  Even without the diet, I usually eat it 5/7 days per week.  I love the texture, the warmth, the versatility, the nutritional content, I love the.... erm... regularity it provides my body.  During non-contest prep months, I can easily add some honey, fruit, nuts, or yogurt to my bowl to change things up now and then (Sidenote: my favourite mix of all time is a bit of milk, cinnamon, chopped almonds, and stewed prunes..... yummmm!!!).  But these days, I need to be a bit more creative so I can keep to my calorie count.  For anyone else in the same boat, or just looking to liven things up in the breakfast category, here are a couple ideas:

1a. Tea bags - When your water starts boiling, throw a tea bag in there for just a few minutes before adding your oats.  It gives a subtle flavour.  My favourite is Chai.

1b. And for that matter, why not try coffee?  I know, I know... sounds crazy.  Just try it.  Add a bit to your oatmeal after it's done cooking.

2. Sweetener - Ever heard of Stevia?  Dieters have been using aspartame-based sugar substitutes like Equal and Sweet 'n Low for years, but we all know how sketchy those chemicals can be.  Personally, I find that if I use more than 2 packs of those sweeteners in a day, my stomach feels weird.  Stevia is the perfect solution here!  It's plant based, totally natural, and calorie-free!  It does have a different taste than regular sugar, so takes some getting used to.  But otherwise, it's a no-brainer for the health-conscious dieter :)

3. Spices - Pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and allspice all work nicely.

4. Extracts - All kinds of them!  Banana, almond, vanilla, coconut, peppermint, orange, rum.....  just add a few drops of one, or mix a few to make a new taste!  How about banana-rum oatmeal?

5. Change your oats - When you think of oatmeal, you probably think of the regular old-fashioned instant ones, like in the Quaker packages, right?  But there's a whole other world of oats out there!  Try rolled oats (similar to instant, but heartier), steel cut oats, and oat bran.  Or, if you want to get even more adventurous, why not try other breakfast grains like quinoa, Red River, cream of wheat,  or even wild/brown/arborio/long grain rice?

6. Pre-toasting - You know how nuts taste really great when you toast them?  Same concept here.  Bake your oats for a couple minutes until golden (not burnt) before cooking as usual.  I've only tried this a couple times, and I like it best when I've cooked most of the oatmeal regularly, then topped it with some toasted oats.


My morning oat bran (1/4 cup, extra runny) with cinnamon, stevia, and vanilla. 

No comments:

Post a Comment