Last Saturday, I made a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. That bowl contained a bunch of different things: 1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup oat bran, chia, egg whites, a little protein powder, cinnamon, vanilla, a little baking powder, banana, strawberries, peanuts and two types of nut butter.
I am quite possibly forgetting at least one or two other things that were thrown in there.
As I sat there and ate this massive bowl of oatmeal, I thought: this doesn’t taste that good- it doesn’t even taste like oatmeal. It tastes like mush. I even thought about dumping it and making something else, but I didn’t. Pardon me while I ramble on a bit here…
Oatmeal and I have a long history together. When I was a kid, I ate packs of instant oatmeal (peaches and cream was my favorite) for breakfast pretty often, but pretty much gave that up when I got to high school (because I didn’t really eat breakfast then). After I graduated from college in 2002, I moved back home for about a year. My mom was a huge oatmeal fan (probably because Bob Greene or Dr. Oz talked about how great it was on Oprah) and she had several canisters of slow-cooking oats in her pantry. I started eating that for breakfast every morning- with a little bit of banana or dried fruit and nuts, and maybe a little bit of egg whites. Simple and delicious.
I continued making oatmeal for breakfast for years, keeping it simple and quick and delicious. Sometimes I added a little bit of almond butter on top so that it melted in, but that’s about as crazy as my toppings got. My morning “oatmeal time” was always something I looked forward to. I would make it the night before, bring it to work and sit quietly in my classroom and eat before the school day started. On weekends, it was something I looked forward to after a good workout. It was only when I discovered about a year and a half ago that I read about adding all kinds of things to oatmeal – oat bran, pumpkin, etc. to “bulk” them up, and all kinds of toppings. I was on board! My bowls of oatmeal got bigger and more complicated, which wasn’t always necessarily a bad thing.
So, back to last Saturday. As I sat there eating my giant bowl of complicated oatmeal, I thought back to how my oatmeal used to taste. How good it tasted. And I thought about the best oatmeal combo (in my opinion): 1/2 c oats, chopped up banana, walnuts, a little egg white, vanilla, cinnamon and a few frozen cranberries. When you add a bunch of ingredients (like protein powder, pumpkin, oat bran, etc.) to “bulk up” you oatmeal, you lose that wonderful chewiness of the oats- and that’s my favorite thing about oatmeal!
Here’s another thing- the more ingredients you add to your bowl, the more calories you add! Rocket science, right? I could easily rack up 400 calories in a bowl of oatmeal from all of the add-ins.
So, this week I’ve been keeping it simple.
This bowl? Under 300 calories and incredibly delicious. The oats are chewy, perfect, and I can taste every single flavor individually, since they’re not masked by all of the other stuff. AND it keeps me fuller longer than the other big, giant bowl of mush, which just baffles me.
Throughout the week, I’ve been applying the “keep it simple” concept to my other meals. I’ve been trying to stick to around 5 different components per meal (for example, a wrap with 1 protein and 3 veggies). And I’m also trying to convince myself that it’s okay to just grab a bar for a snack (God knows I have a million of them!)- and that I don’t have to take the time to make a protein muffin (or something similar) that contains 10 different ingredients. I have also been evaluating a bunch of my habits (aside from just eating), and things that I think are hindering my weight-loss and happiness in general, and I’ve had quite a few revelations.
And don’t you worry- there will be a big, fat post about this coming soon.
I spend way too much time preparing meals, because they just contain way too many ingredients! I’m learning that it’s perfectly fine to have a wrap or sandwich for lunch that just has one form of protein and 3 or 4 different veggies- rather than a huge salad with 20 different things in it (each of which requires chopping or roasting or whatever). This will save time, money and calories.
More on these thoughts later….
Alright – onto the latest KINDsnacks giveaway winner.
When I counted down to see who this was, I was so happy (although, really I’m happy for ANY of you lovelies who win!). This particular lady is about to have a baby at any moment- so consider this a shower gift!
Yay, Amy!!!! Send me an email at email@example.com with your address!!
For the rest of you- don’t fret! The next giveaway is right around the corner!
What are your thoughts on “keeping it simple” when it comes to food? Got any tips to share?