Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Healthy Meal Preparation: Breakfast

One of the hardest things about trying to lose weight is making good choices about what you eat.  And yet it's so important in creating the caloric deficit that results in weight loss.  For me, it's way easier to eat less calories than it is to burn off thousands of extra calories!  The best way that I've found to ensure I'm making healthy food choices is through meal preparation.  Lately I've been on an oatmeal breakfast kick and have enjoyed making my own healthy version of instant oatmeal.  Pre-packaged instant oatmeal from the store has loads more sodium, sugar, and added ingredients that I can't pronounce.  I prefer to buy quick oats and make my own flavors.  In just a short amount of time on the weekend, you can prepare a healthy breakfast for every day of the week ahead that's way healthier than the pre-made packets.

1. Gather ingredients.
I'm just now starting to get into oatmeal for breakfast so I've been experimenting a lot, hence the 10,000 ingredients I have pulled out.  If you wanted to keep it simpler, I would suggest selecting one type of oatmeal and focusing on that.  I wanted to try a different flavor every day this week and see what I liked the best.

2. Measure out the dry ingredients.
No matter what flavor of instant oatmeal I'm making, I always start with the same few base ingredients.  I start with 1/2 cup quick oats, 1 heaping tablespoon of flax seed meal (optional), and 1/2 tablespoon of truvia in each container.  I find that these containers are the perfect size.  They're great for storing the prepared instant oats but you can also heat them in these containers, eat them from these containers, and then toss them in the dishwasher.  Then depending on what flavor I'm making I might add in cinnamon, freeze dried fruit, or unsweetened coconut.

3. Write instructions for myself.
Since I make different flavors, I use a sticky note to make a label and write instructions for myself.  They look really simple because I have a system that works for me.  When I go to eat my oatmeal, I always add any wet ingredients that won't last well in the pantry, such as almond milk, vanilla, and in this recipe, grated carrot.  Any ingredients with an asterisk (*) are things that I know get added after the oatmeal is cooked.  I put those ingredients in a separate plastic bag that also gets labeled.

4. Put in the pantry awaiting breakfast time!
Once everything is labeled and packaged, it's ready to wait for you in the pantry!

5. Add the remaining ingredients, heat it, and nom it!
The one you see pictured here is carrot cake, which has so far been one of my favorite flavors and even sneaks in a full carrot for breakfast!  If carrot cake isn't your thing, there are so many other combinations to try, the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination.  And if your imagination needs some help, here are some ideas:

  • almond joy
  • raspberry coconut
  • banana nut
  • cinnamon apple
  • pumpkin pie
  • raisin nut
  • chocolate banana
  • blueberry crunch
  • mixed berry
  • strawberry pecan
  • raspberry vanilla
  • German chocolate cake
Or just try your favorite fruit (fresh, freeze dried, or frozen), some calorie free sweetener, and maybe some nuts for a nice crunch.  Overnight oats are really popular right now too but as the weather gets colder, I'm enjoying a hot breakfast.  However, most overnight oat recipes can be made to work with hot oatmeal too.  Oatmeal has been an easy way for me to start the day with a healthy meal that keeps me full for a really long time.  Have you gotten on the oatmeal bandwagon yet?

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