Once the dreary mid-winter days roll in, it’s understandably difficult to find any motivation to cook, especially in the cold mornings when you’re forced to leave your bed in the dark and then blearily navigate your way to the coffee machine. It’s easy to grab that Pop Tart on the go or shove some sugar-laden cereal down your throat, but refraining to do so can actually kick off your day the healthy way by setting you up to make healthy foods choices down the line.
Healthy breakfasts don’t have to be time consuming. In fact, many can be made the night before and then simply enjoyed in the morning. One of the most healthy and hearty breakfasts especially for a winter morning is oatmeal, because it is a rich source of soluble fiber, is full of antioxidants, and low in calories. One serving of plain oatmeal (1/2 cup) only yields 150 calories, while providing a special type of antioxidant called avenanthramide that protects against heart disease, high cholesterol, and even prevents the hardening of the arteries, as reported by HealthyEating.org. The fiber in oatmeal also keeps consumers feeling full longer, preventing the need to snack on sugary or salty foods throughout the day.
Staying satiated is one of the keys to weight maintenance, so not only does oatmeal help boost your system early in the morning, it also starts you off on the right foot and makes sure you aren’t walking out the door with a growling stomach. One of the last major advantages of oatmeal is that it is impressively customizable. The whole grain is like an open slate, catering to those who like their porridge plain with just a touch of brown sugar, or those who like to get more creative in the morning with their different sets of toppings. Here are six examples of recipes that fall into both camps, and even recommendations that help you get most of the oatmeal grunt work done the night before. Just in case you don’t feel like going the Cheerios or Pop Tart route tomorrow morning, check out these way to transform your favorite whole grain, and get ready to reap the health benefits.