Is Oatmeal a Healthy Breakfast Choice?

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and there are plenty of options to fill your belly as the sun rises. But which is the best?

Unfortunately, most breakfast choices are full of sugar, loaded with carbs, and often lack the nutrients that are actually beneficial for the start of a day. Things like muffins, bagels, processed frozen waffles, and French toast are often loaded with sugar, preservatives, and assorted undesirable ingredients. Other common breakfast options are bacon and sausage, which are loaded with unhealthy saturated fats, and often cooked in oils and butter.

Monique Tello, MD, a contributor to Harvard Health Publishing, states that a healthy breakfast will consist of fruits and vegetables, whole (unprocessed) grains, and healthy proteins and fats. When having a balanced breakfast like this, you optimize the nutrients to get you going for the day. You will not only fill your belly, but also get needed energy that won’t give you a mid-morning slump from a sugar crash.

A great way to get that balanced breakfast is in the often overlooked option, the one that could seem boring or unfavorable, which is oatmeal. Oatmeal seems to be the food that is made to look like glue in movies and gets a bad rap for its lack of flavor. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth if you know how to prepare oatmeal and opt for delicious toppings to make your tastebuds dance.

Oatmeal is considered one of the healthiest breakfast choices because it’s highly nutritious, with vitamins B, E, and magnesium. It’s also high in fiber, which helps with fullness and the insulin response, exactly what’s needed to prevent that midmorning slump mentioned before.

Additionally, oatmeal is said to help with lowering cholesterol and promoting healthy bacteria in the gut because of its beta-glucan content.

While most don’t think of oatmeal as being a key protein source, 1 cup of cooked oatmeal can have 6 grams of protein and is higher in protein than most grains.

Toppings are also where you can make your oatmeal the optimal healthy breakfast choice. Of course, you’ll want to opt out of the sugar and skip the syrups, jams, and other processed additions. Instead, go for fresh fruits, and seeds like hemp, flax, or chia.

By simply adding 1 tablespoon each of hemp, chia, and flax seeds to the top of your oatmeal, you’ll be adding nearly 8 additional grams of protein, which is nearly the same amount as 1 egg and 1 slice of bacon. Hemp, chia, and flax are also excellent sources of fatty acids and other essential minerals.