Monday, September 8, 2014

Breakfast Under 300 Calories ~Ten Easy Ways to Dress Up Oatmeal


To continue the quest for delicious breakfast recipes that won't pass 300 calorie mark, oatmeal is one amazing option. Once being harvested for horse and cattle fodder, oats now became go to breakfast of modern women, and for a good reason ~ it is a whole grain, full of fiber and nutrients to keep us full, healthy, and energized.

Stores offer a great variety of oats: steel cut oats, rolled oats, and instant oats, plain and with many different flavors. Oats come from oat grains ~  starting as an oat groat, it gets roasted at low temperature to get tasty flavor and to inactivate the enzyme that causes oats to go rancid. When whole groat is split into several pieces, we get Steel-Cut Oats. If groat is steamed and then pressed between rollers and dried, we get Rolled Oats, aka old fashion oats. If pressed thinner than rolled oats, it becomes Quick Oats. And even thinner oats are, you guessed it, Instant Oats.

Even though some say that instant oats don't have less nutritional benefits than other kinds of oats,  for the sake of taste, texture, higher fiber content, and low calorie option, I stay away from instant oats, especially the ones with flavor and tons of sugar. So, the way I see it, food label on oats package should list only one ingredient - whole grain rolled or steel cut oats. Always check, because some brands add artificial coloring to their instant oatmeal and turn healthy meal unhealthy!

Now, another great reason to love oats it that they are so easy to make, and the garnish choices are limitless ~ you can have oats for breakfast every day of the month and never have the same taste!


The Base:

Besides using rolled oats as an ingredient in bars, cookies, or shakes, there are two ways to make the oatmeal: Traditional Oatmeal and Overnight Oats

Traditional oatmeal (150-200 cal) The usual formula is to boil one cup of water, add salt to taste and 1/2 tspolive oil, then add 1/2 cup rolled oats, and simmer on low heat for about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to the plate and garnish.

Traditional oatmeal garnish can be limitless, but these few I love for for the taste, health benefits, and all about 100 calorie.

Savory:
~ 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 oz feta cheese, a few basil leaves chopped
~ 1/2 oz cream cheese, a few olives(any favorite kind), fresh ground pepper
~ 1/2 oz goat cheese, 1/4 avocado, fresh ground pepper
It is always great to use any of the seasonal veggies or fruits. While fall is almost here, I'm still using Summer season veggies like arugula, avocado, shallots, mushrooms, cucumbers... or Summer season fruits like peach, berries (blackberry, strawberry, boysenberry, huckleberry, raspberry), figs, mango, apricots...

Sweet:
~ 2 tbs plain greek yogurt (I'm obcessed with Fage Greek Yogurt), handful of organic blackberries, 1 tsp honey
~ 1/2 banana (raw or fried), 1/2 apple chopped, a few chopped walnuts, sprinkle with brown sugar

Overnight oats (200 cal) Mix1/3 cup rolled oats (98 cal) with 1/3 cup low fat vanilla Greek yogurt (55 cal) and 1/3 cup low fat milk or, even better, vanilla soy milk (40 cal) and leave in the refrigerator overnight (or at least for three hours). 
The overnight oats garnish is usually sweet:
~  1/4 banana, 1/2 tsp strawberry jam, 1 tbs peanut butter (on the bottom of the jar or plate)
~ 1/4 cup diced mango, drizzle of honey
~ 1 sliced apricot, 5 chopped almonds or pecans, drizzle maple syrup
~ 1/4 cup organic berries and 1 tsp honey
~ 1 tbs sweetened flaked coconut, 1/4 tsp vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon, and sprinkle granola for sweetness and a yummy crunchy texture.
Here are a few more overnight oats garnish ideas:
~ Overnight Oats by Kath Eats Real Food
~ 8 New Refrigerator Oatmeal by The Yummy Life

xo, Zuma A.
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