Oats not-so-simple

offers some easy breakfast ideas to get you through those long days of studying

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, which is great because it’s also the most important one. I’m pretty sure I go to bed dreaming about what I’m going to eat in the morning and I’m a firm believer that eating a healthy, balanced breakfast is the best way to start the day, especially during exam time. Preparing such a thing probably isn’t your priority in the daily race to the library but you’ll thank yourself for it later when you find yourself fuller and less tempted to buy an overpriced library cafe snack.

Oats are the perfect breakfast staple and something I eat everyday, for breakfast and often for a guilt-free after-dinner treat with fruits, in homemade oat bars or in granola. We all know that oats are good for us; they provide lots of fibre, protein and are a complex carbohydrate, keeping you fuller for longer while also being low in fat and calories.

Eating breakfast certainly isn’t limited to eating a bowl of porridge with a bit of honey mixed in, as simple and satisfying as that can be. Here are some different ways to use oats for breakfast that are easy to prepare and use basic ingredients that you can get in the supermarket.

Overnight oats

One of my favourite oaty breakfasts because it’s so simple and you can take it with you anywhere on the go. It can be prepared overnight so it’s perfect for throwing in your bag and taking to the library. If you feel judged eating from a jam jar or kilner jar, a plastic container works just as well. You can’t really go wrong with this recipe providing you prepare it overnight and allow the oats time to soak. I’ve suggested ½ cup of oats but you can make however much you feel like eating –you can’t really go wrong if you mix together roughly equal parts of oats and milk, and yoghurt.

Ingredients:

Image: Grace Marsh

Image: Grace Marsh

  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ cups milk of your choice (regular, almond, coconut, etc). Add more liquid for a less thick mixture.
  • (Optional) ½ cup Greek or natural yoghurt for a creamier texture
  • Ingredients of your choice: nuts, fresh fruit, dried fruit, chia seeds, nut butter

Mix together the oats, milk and your chosen ingredients in a jar or container. If you want things like nuts to stay crunchy, add them in the morning when you’re ready to eat the oats. Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight. Give it a stir before eating and enjoy.

Banana oat blender pancakes with strawberry sauce

A much healthier alternative to regular pancakes that tastes amazingly good. I made a big batch of strawberry sauce and kept it in the fridge to use on these pancakes, with granola or in oatmeal. This recipe makes around 4/5 small pancakes but just keep doubling the quantities if you would like more. Blending the mixture produces a smoother and more pancake-like consistency but you can also mix it together by hand.

Ingredients:Banana pancakes 2

  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp baking powder, to make them a little fluffier
  • Pinch of salt
  • Strawberries
  • Honey or sugar to sweeten

Blend 1/3 cup oats until you reach flour consistency. Add the banana, egg, baking powder, pinch of salt and blend. Add a splash of milk if it’s a bit thick. Cook the same way as normal pancakes; I use coconut oil as a lighter alternative but regular oil or butter also works well.

For the sauce:

Chop strawberries and throw them in a pan with a splash of water or orange juice, cooking until they’ve softened. Add honey or sugar to sweeten then serve over the pancakes.

Chocolate oatmeal

Oatmeal with a twist. This only requires a few extra ingredients added to a basic oatmeal mixture, however the cocoa powder and banana add a richness which makes it taste like you’re eating dessert for breakfast. Substitute the water for milk to make it creamier.

Ingredients:Chocolate oatmeal 2

  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ milk of your choice (regular, almond, coconut, etc)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp regular cocoa powder or raw cacao (found in health stores) or
  • Toppings of your choice (I also mix in a drop of vanilla essence).

Bring the water and milk to the boil in a saucepan. When boiled, add the oats, turning the heat down to a simmer. Slice the banana, saving half of it for later and mashing the other half before adding it to the oatmeal mixture in the pan. Keep stirring, adding the raw cacao or cocoa and the drop of vanilla essence if using and more milk if required. Cook until the oats have thickened up and enjoy topped with the remaining banana and any other toppings.

Banana and oat smoothie

Quick to make and surprisingly filling. Buy lots of bananas, slice them and keep in the freezer for smoothies to make them nice and cold.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 3 tbsp oats
  • Around ½ cup of milk (115ml)
  • Optional ingredients: honey to sweeten, cinnamon, nut butters, chia seeds for omega 3 and added protein

Blend everything together. You don’t really need to measure the milk, just keep adding it until you have reached your desired consistency. I add cocoa powder or cocoa nibs for a chocolatey flavour.

Smoothie bowl

Literally what it sounds like. The addition of toppings makes this much more filling than a regular smoothie and eating it from a bowl makes it feel much more substantial. When making a smoothie bowl I usually omit the oats and make a microwave granola mixture to go with the smoothie.

Ingredients:Smoothie bowl

  • Smoothie (see recipe above)
  • Additional ingredients of your choice
  • Microwave granola (see recipe below)

Whizz up a smoothie and pour it into a bowl. Top the smoothie with ingredients of your choice. Frozen berries work really well here.

Microwave granola

Ingredients:

  • 4/5 tbsp oats
  • 2 tsp oil, coconut or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp water

Mix all ingredients together. If using coconut oil, melt it in the microwave for 20 seconds beforehand. Microwave for 1 minute 30, stir, then microwave again until cooked

 

 

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