Take all the guesswork out of breakfast and prep for success all week long with these creative twists on classic oats.
Hearty oatmeal is a satisfying way to start your day, or even get you through an afternoon slump. Packed with fiber, carbs, and a touch of protein, oats help keep you full and fueled. And for those who love to change things up, oats provide the perfect whole-grain canvas for a variety of flavors.
While carbs often get a bad rap, this macronutrient is critical for providing energy. It’s important to note, however, that not all carbs are created equal. Simple carbs, such as white bread, orange juice, or doughnuts, will spike your blood sugar and lead to that dreaded energy crash. Slow-burning carbs are rich in fiber and give you sustained energy, particularly when they are paired with protein and omega-3 fats.
When you are training for endurance, such as during the second and fourth weeks of the Four Week Fast Track: Fresh Sets program, getting plenty of these high-quality carbs can give you the push you need to tackle every last rep.
This hot oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts gives you a healthy dose of these carbs, and also serves up almost as much protein as three eggs, thanks to milk and Greek yogurt.
Additionally, “the omega-3 fatty acids found in the walnuts and chia seeds in this recipe help to reduce the systemic inflammation that comes with an increased frequency and intensity of strength training,” says John Christie, a registered dietician and Tonal’s Director of Applied Training Science. “Include omega-3s in your diet now and beyond this program to keep inflammation in check, and to ensure you’re feeling fresh through increased training demands as you get stronger.”
Top the oatmeal with a touch of mineral-rich maple syrup at the end rather than during the cooking process to help the sweetness stay on your palate, so you benefit from the taste without having to add too much and overload on sugar.
You can swap out the milk and yogurt for any non-dairy alternative, and it will work in this recipe. There are plenty of benefits to plant-based alternatives, but note that the swap may impact the amount of protein in this recipe. Soy-based alternatives will get you closest to dairy in terms of protein.
Make a big batch of this recipe and turn the leftovers into fun and delicious PB & J oatmeal parfaits and apple pie oatmeal, so you can eat healthy breakfasts that you look forward to all week long. Then grab a spoon and dig in!
High-Protein Oatmeal with Blueberries and Walnuts
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- 2 1/2 cups nonfat milk, plus an additional 1/2 cup if needed (almond milk or other non-dairy milk can be substituted)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds or flax seeds
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries (¼ cup per serving)
- 1/2 cup walnuts (2 tablespoons per serving)
- Maple syrup, to taste
Bring the milk and cinnamon to a simmer in a medium (2- to 3-quart) saucepan over medium heat.
Stir in the oats and salt, and simmer for about 6 to 7 minutes until the oats are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid. Remove from heat
Stir in the yogurt, chia seeds, and vanilla extract. Stir more milk if you prefer a looser oatmeal.
If you are serving all of the oatmeal right away, divide it into four bowls and top each with fresh blueberries, walnuts, and maple syrup or other sweetener, if desired.
To store leftovers, portion out the remaining oatmeal into individual airtight containers. You can add the toppings in the same containers if needed for a grab-and-go breakfast. But if you’re eating breakfast at home, store the toppings separately and top the oatmeal after you reheat it to avoid getting the fruit and nuts soggy.
The oatmeal will have thickened up in the fridge, so reserve an extra splash of milk to loosen it up before reheating. You can reheat oatmeal on the stove or by microwaving for 1 to 2 minutes.
If you want to change up the flavor profile of your oatmeal, store the portioned-out leftovers without the original toppings, and turn them into the following remix recipes.
PB&J Oatmeal Parfaits
These beautiful, layered, on-the-go oatmeal parfaits are Instagram-worthy and perfect for taking to the office.
Spoon leftover oatmeal into the bottom of a clean 1-cup mason or jam jar to fill about a quarter full. Add a spoonful of any flavor fruit preserves (strawberry, grape, or blueberry will take you back to those old-school PB&Js). Add a few frozen berries for additional texture, if desired. (The frozen berries will thaw when reheated.)
Add another spoonful of oatmeal. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of any type of nut butter to cover and a few chopped nuts if desired.
To reheat, remove the metal lid of the jar and microwave for about 2 minutes.
Note: If you’re eating at home or don’t have a mason jar, simply reheat oatmeal in a bowl and drizzle with preserves and nut butter, and sprinkle with (optional) berries and nuts before serving.
Apple Pie Oatmeal
Sauté a chopped apple in butter with a sprinkle of apple pie spice or cinnamon and a pinch of brown sugar over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until the apples are soft. Stir leftover oatmeal into the same pan you sauteed the apple. This ensures you’ll get that juicy apple flavor throughout. Once heated through, transfer to a bowl, and add chopped nuts of your choice for extra protein and crunch.