Oatmeal is a nutritious, whole-grain choice for breakfast, but if you're planning on eating it every day, it's not a complete breakfast all on its own. Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, but including a source of protein and fresh fruits and veggies with your breakfast will help you start off the day with a more balanced meal. Talk to your doctor before making any changes in your diet, especially if you have allergies or health conditions.
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Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast option that won't only help you stay healthy -- it may help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. One 1/2-cup serving of oatmeal contains 150 calories, 3 g of fat, 27 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein and 1 g sugar. Oats are high in soluble fiber, which will help you stay full and may help lower your levels of low-density protein, or bad cholesterol. Although oatmeal is nutritious, adding other toppings to your oatmeal will balance out your breakfast.
Cranberries and Walnuts
Stirring 1/3 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 tsp salt and 4 tsp. chopped walnuts into 1 cup of oatmeal will add fruit and lean protein -- the walnuts -- to your breakfast. The recipe makes four servings. If desired, sprinkle a small amount of brown sugar or honey top of the oatmeal to add extra sweetness. You'll add a few additional calories to your breakfast, but you'll also add extra fiber, protein and a serving of fruit.
Blackberries and Almonds
Cook 1/2 cup of oatmeal, and stir in 1/3 cup of blackberries right before the oats are finished cooking. Spoon the mixture into a bowl, then sprinkle 1 tbsp. almonds and a few more blackberries on top. Blackberries are high in antioxidants, while almonds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce heart disease. As a special treat, crumble a graham cracker on top to sweeten up the dish.
Peanut Butter and Jelly
If your child turns her nose up at oatmeal, adding peanut butter and jelly to her breakfast may help. Cook 1/2 cup oatmeal, then add 1 tsp. crunchy peanut butter and 1 tsp. jelly -- preferably made from 100 percent fruit. Stir the oatmeal lightly, then pour it into a bowl. Your child will get a serving of fruit from the jelly and a serving of lean protein from the peanut butter. Because the oatmeal includes a few of her favorite flavors, she may be more likely to finish her breakfast.