Last night the doorbell rang. I rushed to answer it, stepped outside, and shut the door behind me to prevent Toby and Molly from getting ideas that outdoor living might be nice. If I was quick enough, I might catch a glimpse the elusive UPS man who drops off our packages and then bolts; instead I was greeted by a two young men delivering a different message: that of the Mormon church. Even though we don’t practice the same things, we had a real discussion about why we each hold our beliefs. It was nice to have a conversation about differing beliefs without it becoming contentious.
There is one belief that we all can support: the power of a good breakfast. Without it, it is difficult to embrace life and be a good person. Instead we lack energy, become cranky, fill our bodies with junk to make up for its absence, and begin a downward unhealthy spiral. There is a reason it’s the most important meal of the day. We need breakfast in order to be our best selves. There are many people who follow the false idols of breakfast: the donut, the cereal bar, the coffee and cigarette. Breakfast should be a reward to your body– your temple. It should be something that you be thinking about all day long because it is that good. You can’t wait to wake up the next morning to have it again.
This breakfast exists. It is on the store shelves and on every breakfast menu, even at Starbucks. It is… (drumroll please)… oatmeal!
Oh, stop making that face. This isn’t any oatmeal; it’s kick-ass oatmeal. This oatmeal has pumpkin, maple syrup, apples, dried cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon, and three extra grains. It’s like dessert, but good for you. And you can have it everyday without guilt. Here’s how:
I start of with a 32 ounce can of pureed pumpkin, and I divide among 12 small, freezer-safe containers (a scant three tablespoons each). To each I add 1 tablespoon of sugar free maple syrup and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. I give each a good stir and then freeze them. I take one container out the night before and put in the fridge to thaw.
For my oatmeal, I use 1/2 cup of regular oats and add 1 tablespoon each of ground flax seed, oat bran, and wheat germ. Instead of water, I use non-fat milk; it gives the oatmeal a thicker consistency and adds protein and calcium. I eyeball the amount of milk I use, but a good starting point is how much the directions on the box suggests. Then I heat it in the microwave for two and a half minutes. After it’s done I add about a tablespoon of walnuts and either diced apple or dried cranberries. I use that time to heat up the pumpkin mix for about 30 seconds in the microwave. Then I stir it into my oatmeal.
This breakfast is packed full of vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and about 10 grams of fiber (that’s 40% of your daily allowance). It’s low in fat, and provides whole grains, so you feel full longer. It is the best way to reward your body for getting you through the day. It’s enough to make anyone a believer in breakfast.
Readers: What do you do to make your breakfast kick-ass?