I was browsing the Sunday paper today and an interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz caught my eye. When asked whether he ever indulges in unhealthy food, he responded that he practices what he preaches, and eats Greek yogurt with blueberries every morning.
Now, no offense to Dr. Oz (and kudos to him for taking his own advice), but I would go crazy if I ate the same thing every morning! I enjoy variety in my day to day meals, and I also crave different things in the fall and winter than I would want in the summer. Soy yogurt and blueberries sounds like a fantastic breakfast on a warm August morning, but right now I’m huddled in a blanket and our local blueberry farm is frosted over! Any blueberries I’m eating this time of year are from the freezer, and usually cooked into pancakes or muffins. (A smoothie is just waaaay too cold for this time of year. Brrrr!)
There are plenty of healthy breakfast options that are both warm and seasonal, like my Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. Why eat cold yogurt when a steaming bowl of oatmeal will warm your belly? Why eat blueberries when apples are in peak season? And oatmeal, like yogurt, is a great canvas for add-ins and toppings, such as flaxseed for those omega-3 fatty acids that we all need.
But don’t settle for those little instant apple-cinnamon oatmeal packets! It is so easy to make your own, and you get much bigger chunks of apple.
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
- 4 cups water
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 large apples, peeled and diced
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- cinnamon to taste
Place water and sea salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, peel and chop your apples. Add apples to the water, turn heat down to medium, and simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes, or until apples are tender (this depends on the variety of apple and how large the chunks are). Add rolled oats, stir through once, and simmer for another 5-6 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in ground flaxseed and maple syrup. Sprinkle in desired amount of cinnamon.* Top with any chopped nuts, nut butters, or fruit that you like!** Serves 4.
*Add the cinnamon at the end of cooking rather than the beginning. If you add it with the water, the oatmeal turns grayish brown. If you add it at the end, you get pretty little speckles of cinnamon throughout.
**I usually top my oatmeal with either chopped nuts or a dollop of peanut butter. Apples and peanut butter are such a classic combination, that it’s a natural topping for this particular oatmeal. The key is to get a little bit of peanut butter on your spoon with every bite, but not stir it into the oatmeal. You really get to enjoy the various flavors and textures this way. If you stir it in, it will become gluey!