The holidays are over friends. OVER. And thank God for it. You know every year I tell myself that I’m going to do better; I’m going to retain some microscopic bit of self-control so I can avoid diving headfirst into the bottomless cookie tray for the duration of the season. Inevitably, I fail. Partly because I simply love cookies and all of the other treats that go along with the holidays, partly because work is always busy and our family is always sick for the month of December which is a bad combo, because I then self-soothe with said holiday goodies.
I used to beat myself up about it, but I’m working on bringing an end to that nonsense. Instead, I spend my time looking forward and trying to get back on track with eating healthy and taking better care of myself. No more watching Hallmark movies until way too late so I’m too tired to get up and do my workout in the morning. No more stress-eating sugar cookies, even if they are really pretty. Why is it that bad habits develop in the blink of an eye, but undoing them is painfully slow process?
Call me crazy but I find that oatmeal helps. I wish I could tell you exactly why. Maybe because it’s so darn good for you that when you start your day with oatmeal, your body functions better and you instinctively want to make healthier choices for the rest of the day. Let’s go with that! Regardless of the true reason, I always turn to oatmeal when I feel like I have overindulged and it helps get me back on track.
Here is the thing, however, about oatmeal – not all oatmeal is created equal. Oatmeal can fill your belly, warm you up, and get you ready to face your day. It has protein, iron, fiber and countless other vitamins and minerals, so it’s almost the ultimate breakfast food. Prepackaged apple cinnamon flavored, microwavable oatmeal packets don’t count. If you want the most bang for your buck, you need to make it yourself, and lucky for you it’s absurdly easy to make a big pot on Sunday and have it ready to heat up each morning before work and/or school.
This oatmeal is actually a combination of rolled oats, steel cut oats, barley, and bulgur. It has a decidedly chewy texture, which we really like. My kids love oatmeal and often on the weekends I’ll have a Make Your Own Oatmeal Bar for breakfast. They love getting their favorite bowl, adding their own toppings, and happily chow down on what is often one of the healthiest things they eat all weekend. It’s also not uncommon for me to make us oatmeal for dinner, especially if it’s the end of the month and the refrigerator is looking a bit sparse. When we run out of eggs and bread and I forget to defrost soup from the freezer, oatmeal it is!
I started making regular rolled oats when the kids were really young and over the years, I have gradually added in a little steel cut oats, and then some more, and now I add in several different grains and they don’t even think twice about gobbling it up, despite it having a chewier texture than plain oatmeal. I also cook the raisins in with the rest of the grains because then they get all nice and plump and they add extra sweetness that we really like.
Apples, cinnamon, maple syrup, and some toasted nuts are my favorite toppings. My kids usually go for bananas or berries and mini chocolate chips. One half of a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips goes a long way and it’s only 35 extra calories! Toss them on and your kids will think you’re the best Mom ever! At least for about 5 minutes until you do something that inexplicably ticks them off and you’re on the top of their List again. You know the List. I’m a frequent flyer. If you are too, then I guess I’m in good company.
Make up a pot tonight and you’ll have it for the rest of the week and into the weekend. Pick a few toppings below and you can easily get in a super healthy, hot and tasty breakfast that clocks in between 300 and 350 calories.
Our Favorite Toppings:
mini chocolate chips: 1/2 Tablespoon = 35 calories
half & half: 1 Tablespoon = 20 calories
Salty Sweet Pecans: 1 Tablespoon = 55 calories
pure maple syrup: 1/2 Tablespoon = 25 calories
1/2 apple, chopped = 60 calories
1/2 banana = 50 calories
apple butter: 1 Tablespoon = 30 calories
raspberries: 1/4 cup = 20 calories
Per 1 cup serving
Calories: 226 Fat: 2.1g Sodium: 15mg Carbohydrates: 47g
Fiber: 7.3g Sugar: 8.1g Protein: 7.4g
- 10 cups water
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1 cup barley
- 1 cup bulgur
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1. Pour water and salt into a large pot and bring to a boil.
- 2. Add both types of oats, barley, bulgur, and raisins. Cover and return to a simmer.
- 3. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to make sure the oatmeal on the bottom of the pot doesn't burn.
- 4. Barley takes the longest to cook, so after 45 minutes the barley should have plumped up and finished cooking. If it hasn't, continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes. You may need to add some more water if oatmeal has gotten too thick and is starting to burn.
- 5. Once barley is done, remove pot from heat and stir in cinnamon and vanilla.
- - Oatmeal keeps very well if you make a big batch to eat all week long.
- - Also freezer friendly!
- Calories: 226
- Fat: 2.1g
- Fiber: 7.3g
- Sugar: 8.1g
- Protein: 7.4g
- Carbohydrates: 47g
- Sodium: 15mg