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Better Breakfast Challenge: No Fear!


Did you take the challenge last week and offer your kids an "out of the ordinary" breakfast?

 

Did you do find a way to change it up and reduce the amount of ultra-processed foods in their morning routine?

This week, we are continuing our Better Breakfast Challenge and visiting the world of oats!

 

 

 

Are you an oatmeal fan?

Believe it or not, there was a time that we thought the Maple & Brown Sugar "just add water" packet was the only way to eat oatmeal.  You know, dump the packet in a bowl, add some water, and cook it in the microwave for a couple minutes...and ta-da, instant breakfast!  And it had to be accompanied by some butter-drenched toast (using white bread, of course).

Looking back, we also went through a phase where we thought we were being super healthy by grabbing a Baked Oatmeal Square on our way out the door.

Of course, this was before our REAL food journey began and we had no idea (and never paid attention to realize) that each one of those packets contain 12 grams (or 3 tsp) of added sugar...not to mention the 260 mg of sodium.

While this is better than some other breakfast options, it's not exactly the ideal way to start your day!

 

 

Since we started our REAL food journey, we have learned A LOT about oats:

 

  1. There are a WIDE VARIETY of ways to enjoy them!  Including eating them cold!  Of course, you can simply prepare a batch of old-fashioned or steel cut oats and add your favorite ingredients and toppings, but there are SO MANY MORE delicious and nutritious ways to incorporate oats into a wide variety of sweet AND savory meals!  Are you thinking..."WHAT?!"
  2. Oats are super-healthy!  They are cholesterol sponges (helping you lower your LDL), are packed full of fiber and slow-digesting carbs (to help you feel full and stabilize blood sugars), and are loaded with beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (helping you reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, prevent type-2 diabetes, and even reduce the risk of certain cancers).
  3. Oats are not just for breakfast!  Plus, they can be incorporated into all kinds of cooking and baking...stay tuned, more on that in a moment.

 

Kick fear in the rear and get outside your comfort zone!

When we talk about breakfasts in our cooking demos and programs, we often talk about overnight oats (which you know by now we are huge fans of).  Nearly every single time someone will say, "oh, I don't like oatmeal."

And, recently, we shared a picture of the Savory Steel Cut Oats we had made for breakfast one morning.

One of our amazingly passionate Eat REAL America members was intrigued and made her own version with ingredients she had on hand.  When she shared her picture, another dedicated member responded, "I love my overnight oats but I'm scared of savory oats!"

Isn't it funny how our prior experiences influence our perception of foods we like and dislike?  People will literally go years, or maybe their entire lives, avoiding certain foods because of a specific bad experience earlier in life.

 

Before our REAL food journey dramatically expanded our horizons, we were as guilty as anyone.

We thought we hated mushrooms and would avoid them, along with anything that had them in it.  Yes, we were scared of mushrooms!  I realized later that this probably had a lot to do with the fact that as a kid, I only had mushrooms from a can.  Blah -- talk about slimy and flavorless!  I don't remember the exact moment, but I tried them again years later (probably in a mushroom risotto) and it was definitely a different experience...I found myself saying, "Wait a second!  Maybe I do like mushrooms?!"  Then, we tried them roasted and that was a game changer...absolutely delicious!  Now we were open to trying them other ways, including stuffed...WOW!  Another great experience, who knew?!

Now?

We LOVE mushrooms and literally eat them at least 3 to 4 times a week!

Sometimes you just need a little encouragement!  Once we discuss prior experiences and perceptions in our demos and programs, we can typically motivate someone to at least try the overnight oats and majority of the time the reaction is, "I had no idea...I guess I do like oats!"  Hopefully, this helps opens the door to the wide world of oats that may have otherwise remained closed and locked!

This week's challenge!

Our challenge to you for this week is to try oats in a way you have not tried them before.

If you have never tried overnight oats, make up a batch with your favorite ingredients and see what you think.  If you have never tried - or think you don't like - savory oats, dive in and do it (what will be the worst that can happen?!)...you might be surprised!  How about transforming an oat-loaded dessert into breakfast?

 

To help inspire you, here are a few ideas:

 

Just Like Chocolate Mousse.

Ok, we're really talking about overnight oats here.  If you have that perception of "I don't like oatmeal," it's time to try again.

With the right combination of flavors and textures (and calling it something creative besides overnight oats), you might just get your family to not only try, but also enjoy, this nutritious breakfast!

The Neapolitan Overnight Oats have a layer that many describe as tasting like chocolate mousse!  Some other great-tasting kid- and adult-friendly options include the Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats, the Pumpkin Tiramisu Overnight Oats and the Blueberry Overnight Oats.   And, of course, you can create your own versions using this simple formula!  Whip it together the night before, divide it among some mason jars and all you have to do is grab a spoon and breakfast is ready to go in the morning!

Savory and Super-delicious.

Who says oatmeal has to be sweet?  The Savory Steel Cut Oats and the Steel Cut Mushroom Risotto are bursting with flavor!  These would be perfect for either breakfast or a weeknight dinner and, yes, they even go well with a cup of coffee in the morning...or with a glass of wine or a craft beer in the evening.

Bake it.

If you have never tried baked oats, they are incredibly good with the right combination of ingredients, plus they are ideal to serve overnight friends or family.  You can also make up a batch, and then reheat the leftovers for quick breakfasts throughout the week.  The Baked Pineapple Oatmeal, Baked Oatmeal Cups, Baked Blueberry Oatmeal and the Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal all get rave reviews (including "household approved and husband requested!").

Dessert for Breakfast?

Yes!  If popsicles and ice cream can be part of a healthy breakfast, why not transform your oats into a dessert-like experience to get your day off to a great start?!  Get your morning going with one of these ideas:  Baked Apples with Oatmeal Cookie GranolaOatmeal Cookie Parfait Cups, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Granola Bars or the Chocolate Granola Bars.  You could even be adventurous and make up a batch of the Everyday Fruit Crisp or the Strawberry Pie with Walnut Oat Cookie Crust and enjoy a serving for breakfast!

Granola.

Granola is extremely versatile, inexpensive to make, and is perfect to pack and take on-the-go -- you don't have to worry about keeping it refrigerated, and it is easy to take just about anywhere.

Oats provide a foundation for many different varieties of granola including Cranberry CoconutPumpkin SpiceBanana Dark ChocolateApple Pie and Chocolate Pumpkin Spice.

 

 

 

 

Get out of that comfort zone and try oats in a new way this week!

 

And, of course, don't forget to share your experience with us!

 

 

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