“Oatmeal is a healthy meal I feel good about serving my family,” says Mark McDonough, of Panera Bread®’s culinary team. “I am a huge fan of the flavor and how easy it is to prepare.”
Amp Up Your Oatmeal
The only downside to oatmeal is getting stuck in a rut with not enough taste variety. Fortunately, hot oatmeal is like a blank canvas. What you do with it is limited only by your imagination. You might add just a touch of brown sugar, or a bit of milk. Or you may decide to wake up your taste buds (and maybe even boost the nutrition) with any number of toppings - everything from walnuts and bananas to apples and honey. If you’re looking for oatmeal accents to explore, here are a few to try:
- Dried fruit and nuts
- Fresh berries and cream
- Applesauce and cinnamon
- Pumpkin puree
- Toasted coconut and chopped pineapple
- Mini chocolate or butterscotch chips
- Mark often adds a scoop of peanut butter.
Still need inspiration to start your morning deliciously? Try these oatmeal combinations. (You can try either recipe with soy or almond milk for even more delicious options.)
No-Cook Sunflower-Cranberry Oatmeal. Mix 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats, a tablespoon of sunflower seeds, and a tablespoon of dried cranberries into 1 cup of fat-free milk. Cover and refrigerate overnight - it will have a flakier texture and nutty flavor.
Almond-Blueberry Oatmeal. Boil 1 cup of water over high heat. Add 1/4 cup of steel-cut oats. Cook, stirring, for 25 minutes, until the oatmeal is soft. Reduce heat to low and cook for three more minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1/4 cup of fat-free milk, a tablespoon of slivered almonds, 1/3 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries, and a teaspoon of ground flaxseed. Mix and serve.
If you’d rather let someone else do the cooking, consider trying the new steel-cut oatmeal at your local bakery-cafe. Topped with brown sugar, pecans, and strawberries, it’s a meal that will warm you from the inside out. “Just like what you would make at home,” says Mark.