Eat Simply [+ Kind Giveaway Winner]

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.

Drumroll please…..

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 oatmealafterspinning@gmail.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?

 

Comments

  1. Such a timely post for me. I also tend to get “over-creative” with my meals, which leads to too many ingredients, too big portions and too many calories and too many kgs ;) You just inspired me to have a simple oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow (and I was already thinking of a muffins recipe ;) so your post just saved me some time, effort and probably calories ;))

    I was also wondering (not in relation to this post) if you could get your friend Brie to write a guest post about her nutrition and fitness routine. I’m very interested in vegan diet in the context of strength training and bodybuilding and it seems to me that she would be the perfect person to share some thoughts about it :)

    • I hope you enjoyed a simple breakfast today!
      I love the idea of Brie writing a guest post- and so does she!! Look for it soon! (and thanks for the suggestion!)

  2. love amy! i’m glad she won!!

  3. Ha! This is funny, because when looking at all your lovely meals, I often find myself thinking, “Man, that looks good. But dang, I don’t have the patience and energy to get all that stuff together.” Especially in the morning. If my breakfast requires more than 2 steps or 3 ingredients, it aint happening. (I was actually mentally grumbling over the complication of blending a smoothie before I sat down at the computer….)
    Even for dinner, I need to be struck by some kind of inspiration before I get excited to get to work in the kitchen and pull out all the stops. And by “pull out all the stops” I mean anything more sophisticated than baked [insert protein] and a pile of [insert some kind of roast veggie]. Sometimes, I really love putting together a good, elaborate meal, but that’s more of a “event” than an every day occurrence…

    • Yeah… I spend so much time prepping food. I think a lot of it’s because I had to pack meals for so many years, and eating was seriously the best part of my day when I was teaching. Having something amazing to look forward to helped me get through the day! Now I don’t have to worry about that…

  4. I know what you mean about over-complicating things like oatmeal. Before I started reading blogs, my go-to breakfast was rolled oats, water, half a banana, and maybe a spoonful of nut butter. That slowly progressed to adding coconut, ground flax, dried fruit, pumpkin…it just starts to get out of hand after a while. Sometimes simple really is the way to go in terms of time, taste, and nutrition.

    I’m looking forward to your upcoming revelations post. :)

    • Ha! You hit the nail on the head. As wonderful as blogging is, I feel like a lot of what I have found has led to some unhealthy eating habits for me.
      I’m looking forward to actually writing that post- there’s just so many damn thoughts dancing around in my head right now- it’s hard to get them on paper (er… computer).

  5. As usual, totally agree with you. I think when we’re in weight loss mode we turn to creative dishes to not get bored. But after awhile, the simplest foods end up being the healthiest and most nutritious. My protein bowl I made this morning kept me satisfied for not even 30 minutes, I kid you not. So now I’m sitting at my desk starving and will end up having to eat a bowl of oatmeal soon!

    • There isn’t much worse than being hungry RIGHT after you eat.
      Did you know that carbs leave your stomach an hour after you eat them (unless paired with protein and fat) and FATS stay the longest. I was reading all about that yesterday. :)

  6. yayayayy this is awesome!! :) those will be perfect snacks for right after the baby comes!! thanks girl!

  7. I keep things SO simple. SO so simple. I think it’s way easier to taste flavors too! I seriously choose a protein, a veggie (or 2), healthy fat, & maybe some complex carbs & run with it. I HATE prepping food, so I do it as fast as possible! hah. I think the more we think about food, the more we want it…..so if we’re spending most of our day around food, it tends to stay on our minds–and it can make us hungry, even if we’re not really hungry. Just a thought!

    p.s. I am so not an oatmeal gal. I tried it, and it failed miserably for me. haha

    • Girl… you’ve just got it all together. Can I borrow your brain to re-set mine?
      Seriously. I just always admire the way you think and how far you’ve come with your own history of food-related issues!!
      My friend Brie and I were talking about just that- how the more you think about food, the more you want it- and that it would be so much better to just not worry about it. And the more options you have around, the more you eat!

  8. Oh I like this. Mostly because I am lazy about breakfast/lunch since I eat alone. Baked sweet potatoes and sweet potato fries are pretty simple… getting enough protein is my downfall!! This post totally makes sense for bloggers though. Since I’ve started blogging, it’s like.. I don’t want to repeat meals. That’s ridiculous!! It’s not even really for the blog. It’s just that I read so many blogs… I see so many things!! Haha.

    • I’m sure you get enough protein- our nation is protein obsessed and people think you need SO much more than you really do (about .6g per lb of body weight).
      I feel the same way about seeing recipes on blogs. I swear, I make 10 new things each week!

  9. I’m all over keeping it relatively simple… though I will add some spices to stuff. Yesterday my oats were egg, oats, protein, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, and peach. It was perfect until I added too much water. Doh.

  10. I have been going more simple too. I think I was trying to get too creative for my own good! I am liking the simpler meals. Plus, they are way quicker!

  11. This is a timely post for me as well. I have been trying to get more creative with my meals and to eat different things every day – but in the end I am getting frustrated and not enjoying my food. To keep things simple for me, I alternate between 2 breakfast/lunches each day, and then get more creative with dinner (i.e. more time to prepare it). I am also learning that while real food is the best option – sometimes a shake or a bar is okay and better than skipping a meal/snack when my body is telling me that I need fuel.

    • I’m definitely fine with eating pretty much the same thing for lunch or breakfast each day.. and used to that when I was at my old job. I need to get back to that! And then just focus on a more “creative” dinner, like you said. :)

  12. I like simple too. You can actually taste everything that way. If you start with great produce, you don’t need much else. I usually have homemade granola or simple fruit smoothie for breakfast and I’m good to go.

  13. “…This will save time, money and calories.” <- SO TRUE! When I first discovered blogworld and became fascinated by the ginormous bowls of complicated oats, I couldn't get enough! But after a while I realized just HOW much It's so easy to get carried away with adding dozens of toppings/add-ins/whatnots and before you know it, you have a 500 calorie bowl of oats!

    I don't like to get too complicated with my meals now…especially since most of the time, when I'm starving before I even thing about planning my meal! Last night's dinner was perfectly simple and PERFECTLY delicious! I sauteed some greens in olive oil with TJ's 21 Seasoning Salute, topped it with pan seared scallops with more 21 SS and some garrrrrrrrrrlic (love garlic) and served it with some roasted zucchini and red onion (salt and peppa). One of the best meals I've had in a while and it took no time at all!

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