As I’m writing this, I’m looking out the window at the falling snow and it 5-below outside. Winter has arrived in Toronto.
And as the seasons change, so to do my breakfast cravings. I’m not sure if it’s an evolutionary urge to ‘bulk-up’ to survive the harsh winter, or the idea of warming the body from the inside out, but my fruit + veg + protein super-shakes lose their appeal and I crave hearty, warm, filling foods.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with lots of breakfast options from bake-ahead breakfast casseroles, chia pudding, all kinds of egg dishes and various breads and spreads, but I always come back to Steel Cut Oats.
I know oatmeal has a bit of a tired reputation as your grandparents’ breakfast but keep an open mind while I explain why this should be your go-to weekday breakfast option.
Reasons Why Steel Cut Oats should be your Go-to breakfast choice:
Nutritious– The recipes that I’m going to share provide a great balance of slow digesting carbs, healthy fats and protein. They keep you feeling full all morning, provide sustained energy and deliver a healthy dose of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Convenient –It takes 5-minutes of effort to prepare a large batch of oats that will last you all week. Then the morning routine is reduced to a quick re-heat and adding in your extras. How many other hot breakfasts can be ready in under 2-minutes?
Tasty – Ok, this one is a bit more subjective, but think of the oats as a blank (neutral tasting) canvas, that you can customize with options like cinnamon, syrup, milk, plant-based beverages, protein powders and fresh fruit to suite your taste. With so many options, you’ll find one (or more) that you love!
Affordable– While many ‘superfoods’ come with a big price tag; this budget friendly dish literally costs pennies per serving. Even when tricked-out with hemp hearts, maple syrup or fresh berries, this dish still costs less than a buck-a-serving.
Getting back to the convivence point, I know there are some elaborate recipes where you pre-toast the oats, or cook them in other liquids, add salt or other spices, but I'm a big fan of simplicity. Here is the easiest way to cook a big batch of Steel Cut Oats that will last you the week.
- Large Pot with a lid
- 1.25 cups (dry) Steel cut Oats
-3.5-5 cups water
Put the Oats and Water in the pot, bring it to boil on high, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and continue simmering for 20-minutes or until it thickens. Let it cool in the pot and transfer into a container. This recipe will yield 5 1-cup servings, with each serving providing:
Fat: 2.5 g
Carbohydrates: 27 g
My clients know I’m a big fan of meals that contain the right mix of protein, fat and carbs to support their goals. And I’ll be the first to admit that, on their own, Oats are a little light on protein and fat, so here’s where the fun begins.
Depending upon your nutrition goals and taste preferences, here are some options for tailoring your oats.
Option 1- Healthy Fats – Add 3 tbsp of hemp hearts. This provides a healthy dose of omega-3s, increases the fiber content and adds nutrients including magnesium, thiamin, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and vitamin E.
The nutrition info for this option per serving (1-cup oats + 3 tbsp. hemp hearts)
Protein: 15 g
Fat: 17 g
Carbohydrates: 30 g
Option 2 – High Protein - Add one scoop of protein powder. Vanilla flavored proteins tend to pair well with the flavour of the oats. I find most powders mix well, but you might want to add some extra milk, plant beverage, water to adjust the consistency.
The nutrition info for this option per serving (1-cup oats + 30g whey protein)
Option 3: Carb Forward – Add ½ cup of strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. This does a great job of waking-up the flavour in this breakfast and adding in some phytonutrient and antioxidants into this powerhouse breakfast.
The nutrition info for this option per serving (1-cup oats + ½ cup berries)
But don’t limit yourself to those options. Feel free to experiment. You can cook the oats in milk, almond or soy milk to change-up the flavour. You can add things like cinnamon, maple syrup, chia seed, almonds, peanut butter and bananas or combine any of these with the options listed above to get a breakfast that works for you.
Have you tried Steel Cut Oats? What’s your favorite version? Any other additions that you would like to mention? Let me know in the comments below.