Build a better breakfast: oatmeal edition

You wake up around 7, throw yourself together and grab a granola bar on the way out of the door.  Sometimes you manage to include a banana.  By noon, you’re starving, so you eat a huge lunch, then, around 4pm, you’re feeling pretty tired, so you have some coffee and a muffin…race home from work, and have a large late dinner.  The next morning: repeat.

Is that you, or close to you?  Maybe you add in a few more cups of coffee, or a morning snack?  Almost any way you break it down, Americans back load their day’s nutrients and calories – which is to say we tend to eat little in the morning, and a lot at night.  Shifting the bulk of your intake to the first half of your day can improve satiety, energy, and help metabolism run more efficiently…and no, this isn’t new news! The jump from knowing to DOING is the important one to make, so commit to having a bigger, healthier breakfast.  Many people tell me “I’m just not hungry in the morning!” – well, do the math.  If you continually back load, of course you won’t be hungry – you just ate a thousand calories and slept on it!  It’s a shift that takes a few weeks, some practice, and dedication, and soon you’ll be hearing from your stomach closer to when you wake up.

As I’ve written before, it’s important to get a significant amount of protein and fiber to start the day off, and steel cut oats have a good amount of both.  Give the protein a boost by cooking them with milk and adding seeds or nuts, and you’re on your way to the 15+ grams you should be aiming to get at your first meal.  However, steel cut are time-consuming to make, taking up to 40 minutes to simmer on the stove.  NO ONE has that kind of time every morning!  So I make a big batch on a Sunday evening and have 4-5 servings through the week, with different toppings.  They reheat in a minutes and are delicious every time!


  • 1.5 c dry steel cut oats
  • 2 c water
  • 2 c milk (only real dairy will give you the extra protein, but milk alternates can also add creaminess and flavor)
  • pinch salt

Bring water to a boil, add oats and reduce to a simmer.  Add milk and cook covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, over medium heat.

Perfect topping combos:

  • 2 Tbsp plain greek yogurt + fresh strawberries and 1 Tsp brown sugar
  • black berries + 1 Tbsp chia + 1 Tsp honey
  • 1/4 c sunflower seeds + raisins
  • fresh raspberries + 1/3 c almond sliversPhotoGrid_1374771195923

2 thoughts on “Build a better breakfast: oatmeal edition

  1. Sorry; could not access the blog, probably because I have a very old browser. Anyone have any ideas for cooking steel cut oats in the slow cooker? Thanks.

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    • I haven’t done it in my slow cooker, but I’ve heard you can bring them to a boil on the stove, then immediately put the whole pot, covered, in the fridge overnight and they’re done and cool by morning! Also need to try that one for myself…

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