Oatmeal is LIFE.

Everday Oatmeal2

For me anyway. I know a lot of people don’t care for it, and I get it. It does have an unusual texture. That said, if all you’ve ever had is the instant oatmeal in the little paper packets I cannot beg you enough to give it another try. Just once. If you still don’t like it I promise to never bring it up again. Scout’s honor!

Now for the fun stuff. Guess what kind of oatmeal I used to eat? If you guessed the sugar-laden instant stuff, you’d be correct! Can you also guess what I’d add to my bowl of sugary mush? Yep. More sugar! (And a mountain of trans-fat stuffed margarine too!) I was more than a little nervous about my first bowl of oatmeal without so much as a single grain of the white stuff.

Thank heavens for Katie’s Bright Kitchen. She literally taught me how to make oatmeal, and it’s her base recipe that I enjoy most mornings. However, since this is Bright Lines to No Lines, I’ll be taking this recipe outside the lines. 😉

After reading Katie’s blog post on oatmeal (where she offers a plethora of delicious oatmeal options) I kind of settled on this basic recipe:

1 oz old fashioned oatmeal (not the instant stuff)
4 oz milk (either plant or animal based)
6 oz banana (or any fruit, but if you’re new to oatmeal sans sugar, start with banana)
.5 oz flax seeds
.5 oz nuts
Seasoning: about 1 tsp cinnamon (but I like a lot, you might want to start with less)

As I said above, Katie offers up numerous versions of this on her blog and I encourage you to check it out, but for me, this is enough for me to tweak. The milk + flax + nuts combine to make one protein serving, and you can tweak the fruit any number of ways. Sometimes I leave out the flax and nuts completely and add in one scrambled egg as the other half of my protein.

Yes, I love scrambled eggs mixed in with my oatmeal. Please don’t judge me. This is a safe space, y’all. Haha!

To recap, this recipe meets the Bright Lines requirements of:
Protein – milk + seeds + nuts
Grain – oatmeal
Fruit – banana

Like most of us who have been on Bright Lines for a while, it’s possible that you might eventually want to extend your oatmeal beyond the lines. One thing that I really, really missed in my oatmeal was raisins! I loooooove raisins in oatmeal and was curious to find a way to bring them back without sending myself off the proverbial cliff.

Now, under Bright Lines dried fruit is a no-no. And I get it. Dried fruit has concentrated sugars and the bulk has been reduced so much that your serving size wouldn’t be enough to satisfy your hunger. There’s also a chance that the concentrated sugars in dried fruits could send your sugar cravings into overdrive. If that happens, leave it on the grocery shelf. But if it doesn’t and you’d like to experiment, you can calculate your fresh fruit/dried fruit serving by doing a little math:

6 ounces * 25% = 1.5 ounces

YIKES!

It’s easy to see why Susan wants us to avoid dried fruit. Your serving size would drop from a plump 6 ounces to a measly 1.5 ounces! Ouch!

But again, we’re talking about oatmeal here. A stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal with or without the fruit. And I can keep the bulkiness of this recipe up by only adding a few raisins and not the whole container. 😉

So if I reduce my bananas to 4 ounces instead of 6, that’s .67 or 67% of my fruit serving. This means I can have 33% of the 1.5 ounce serving size of raisins without going over the total fruit serving size. That amount is .495 (or a half ounce) of raisins. It’s not a lot, but it would scratch my cinnamon raisin oatmeal itch!

Annnnnd, since I’m eating 4 ounces of bananas and a half ounce of raisins (total of 4.5 ounces) my 6 ounce fruit serving was only reduced by 1.5 ounces (6 oz – 4.5 oz = 1.5 oz) so very little reduction in the bulk of my meal. My tummy likely won’t notice the difference. 😉

Here’s what those adjustments would look like…

Oatmeal NL Phase 1

I’m going to post a side-by-side below, but I think you can see the reduction in bulk just by scrolling back and forth. Is there a loss in volume? Absolutely. But there’s an increase in flavor and variety and I can promise you this, after a few months on BLE you will be looking for flavor and variety over bulk. Again, this is totally a personal call. YMMV.

Here’s that side-by-side I promised…

 

Now. Tee hee. We’re going completely off the reservation here. This next recipe is my ultimate goal. To completely enjoy my oatmeal with, dare I say it, added sweetener?

Let me repeat – this is not a recipe for weight loss. This would be for when I’m completely done and ready to eat without restriction, but that doesn’t mean I ever plan to eat without regards to my health. Eating processed cane sugar (aka – plain white sugar) is about as disrespectful to your body and health as one can get and I do not ever plan to return to that.

I’ve chosen coconut sugar for its low glycemic impact (minimal impact on blood sugar levels) and delicious brown-sugar like flavor. I believe that, if eaten in moderation, there is no reason why a healthy individual can’t include this in their diet.

The image below shows everything in the image with the raisins, with an additional two teaspoons of coconut sugar. Since all the ingredients were already out, this is how I ate my oatmeal this morning. (Plus I needed to be able to report back on the actual taste for the blog, right? Haha!) I used two teaspoons of coconut sugar, but I will probably cut that back to just one. It was just a little too sweet for my taste.

Everyday Oatmeal NL Phase 2

How was the overall flavor?

WOW. Just wow. It was delicious. This is something I’ll definitely be looking forward to having again once I’m closer to my weightloss goals.

Now it’s your turn! What are your favorite oatmeal recipes? I’ve wanted to try some steel cut oat recipes, but honestly haven’t simply because of the time it takes to prepare them. If you’ve got any secrets for me, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Happy eating! 🙂

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