You already know what a difference a bowl of oatmeal makes: It warms you up, fills you up, and pumps you up like no other breakfast food. Studies suggest that this overachiever can also help prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart attacks.
Here are four ways to turn naked oatmeal into premium fuel, provided by Women’s Health:
This no-cook recipe (you’ll love its flakier texture and nuttier flavor) combines metabolism-fueling sunflower seeds, oats, and milk.
Whip it up: 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. Makes 1 serving. Per serving: 332 cal, 7.5 g fat (1.5 g sat), 48 g carbs, 138 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 18 g protein
This fruit and nut-spiked solution delivers the vitamins and omega-3s your inner Malcolm Gladwell craves.
Whip it up: 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 3 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. Makes 1 serving. Per serving: 251 cal, 7 g fat (0.5 g sat), 40 g carbs, 41 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 10 g protein
*Belly-Stuffing Peanut Butter
Oatmeal baked with eggs, peanut butter, and soy milk packs enough protein to keep you satisfied until long past your lunch hour.
Whip it up: Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of old-fashioned oats and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. In a medium bowl, beat 2 eggs and add 2 cups of vanilla soy milk, a cup of water, and 4 tablespoons of natural peanut butter. Add to the oats, pour mixture into dish, and bake for 20 minutes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons agave syrup. Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 253 cal, 10 g fat (1 g sat), 30 g carbs, 96 mg sodium, 3.7 g fiber, 11 g protein
Potassium-rich bananas and muscle-building whey protein give you the oomph you need to grunt through that last set.
Whip it up: Mix 1/4 cup of quick-cooking Irish oatmeal, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 scoop of vanilla whey powder, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Microwave the mixture on high for 90 seconds and top with 1/4 cup of fat-free milk, a sliced banana, and a tablespoon of pecan pieces. Makes 1 serving. Per serving: 388 cal, 9 g fat (1.5 g sat), 63 g carbs, 349 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 18 g protein