Jess's Quick Oats on the Go

Breakfast has been on my mind for quite a while. One reason for this is because my undergraduate research project is on breakfast consumption, and I have had to read countless articles on breakfast. One thing I learned from my readings is that breakfast means breaking the fast, the fast referring to the extended period of time when we sleep that we are not eating anything. As a college student, I value the boost I get from eating in the morning. Eating breakfast can improve concentration for students in school. I have tested eating a lot of different types of breakfast during these past few years, but one of my current favorites is oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a great nutritious way to start your day. It is full of fiber, whole grains, and protein. The fiber in oats is beta-glucan, which is a soluble fiber and is well recognized for being heart-healthy and gut-friendly. For all of my gluten-free friends, this is the grain for you. Oats that are processed in a gluten-free facility are a great way to keep grains in any diet because oats are naturally gluten-free.

The first thing I do to prepare this oatmeal is to prep it the night before. I start by measuring 1/3 cup of oats into a mason jar. I chose an 8 oz jar because once I am done eating it, I put it into my backpack until I head back to my apartment after my classes, but a bigger jar may ideal for someone who had more space, such as a 12oz jar. If you have time in the morning, a bowl also works well!

After I get the oats in, I measure out a tsp of chia seeds and add that to the jar. Chia seeds are my favorite pairing to any dish. Chia seeds are high in Omega 3-fatty acid, which is a form of healthy fat that is typically found in fish. Omega 3-fatty acid is good for you, and it is something we have a hard time getting into our diets. Chia seeds are also a great source to add an extra dose of protein, calcium, and iron to your meal. The best part is that they are tasteless, and most times, you can not even tell they are a part of your dish. 

This next part is where you can get creative in the type of oatmeal you are craving. You can choose a dried fruit and an accent spice to go with it. For example, I love eating apple cinnamon oatmeal in the mornings. I chop up a fresh apple, add a small portion to my jar, and then eat the rest. I do this the night before because I

don't mind the apples oxidizing, but if you prefer them fresh, you can chop them and add them in the morning. I then add 1/8 tsp of cinnamon to go with it and complete the flavor profile. One of my other favorite flavors is strawberry oatmeal. What I do for this is buy dried strawberries and add this to my dry oatmeal mixture the night before.

In regards to sweetening up my oatmeal, I drizzle honey over the top of the dry oatmeal mix. This gives it just the tad bit of extra sweetness that I am looking for with the slight honey flavor I love. If you are not a honey fan, you can add white sugar, brown sugar, agave, maple syrup, or stevia. I would not recommend adding more than a tsp of any type of sugar to your oatmeal.

When the morning comes, I measure out 2/3 cup of water and add it to my pre-made oatmeal mixture. I will give it a quick stir with my spoon and plop it in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT: oatmeal expands, and if your container is too small, it WILL go over the side. One way to combat this is to use a bigger container or keep an eye on your oatmeal while microwaving it. When it starts to look like it will go over the side of your jar or bowl, pause the microwave, let the oatmeal deflate, and then finish the time.

There you go! If you have completed all these steps, you now have your oatmeal for the go! I hope you enjoy this nutritious breakfast and that it assists you with accomplishing all your goals! Stay motivated!