Like most good health blogs, Mastering Public Health fully supports the frequent eating of oats. This one’s actually a mix of oat bran and rolled oats, and they syrup-y looking glisten is actually from drizzles of a Celestial Seasonings flavorful decaffeinated raspberry tea.
Here are a few other “secret” ingredients you can add to your oats in a snap to add satisfying textures and flavors:
True North, which is actually a Frito-Lay company, is a brand that has recently landed on the scene with a line of great “100% Natural” products. Though we know the term “natural” is sadly not regulated, the simple ingredient list of this particular “Pecan Almond Peanut Clusters” product speaks for itself: “Peanuts, Almonds, Brown Rice Syrup, Pecans, Organic Sugar, and Sea Salt.”
Here’s what they actually look like —
I take one cluster (which is surprisingly jam-packed with tasty bits) and break it up over my oats. After the bowl is microwaved, they’re crunchy and toasted, giving the bowl a great sweet-and-salty punch with the benefit of healthful and satiating monounsaturated fats.
For more sweetness and fruity flavor, adding a spoon of fruit butter like Eden Organic Apple Butter Spread is also a fast and easy idea.
Of course, no bowl of hot cereal would be complete without the easiest and tastiest addition: ground cinnamon. Spices contain tons of helpful antioxidants, and cinnamon is a superstar among them, as well as a fabulous, unexpected source of fiber. For a more fall taste (and greater variety of spices) McCormick’s “Apple Pie Spice” makes a great addition, too, but be careful — it’s not “sweet,” as the name ‘apple pie’ might mistakenly conjure.
For a junkier, but delicious addition, reach for some Trader Joe’s low-calorie, marshmallow-y meringues. The medium-sized chocolate ones are great for this, but these teeny-tiny vanilla ones work, too… especially when they’re sold out of chocolate… *grumbles.*
As a rule, a bowl of hot cereal is never complete without including not only a bit of mashed banana, but chocolate. Specifically, cocoa. Mmm. My go-to product is Nutiva Chocolate Hemp Shake (nutrition facts/ingredients: Organic hemp protein, superfood chocolate blend (organic FairTrade Certified chocolate, organic ramon nuts, organic guar gum, inulin from chicory root, organic mesquite pods), organic Fair Trade Certified evaporated cane juice, organic chocolate flavor), which provides 12g fiber and 7g protein per serving. Less fancily, an equally-chocolate-y serving of *unsweetened* cocoa powder (like Ghirardelli’s or Chatfield’s) will do. For extra benefits, Amazing Grass‘ Green Superfood Chocolate Drink Powder — which tastes heavenly and includes wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, spinach, acai, flax seed, green tea, among others yielding a plethora of vitamins and minerals — is a must.
All these things, with a Bob’s Red Mill base — a favorite combination is Organic High Fiber Hot Cereal with Flaxseed + Organic Quick Cooking Rolled Oats = your morning set off on the right foot. Add fresh fruit for an even better bowl. Of course, there are endless product possibilities for toppings and mix-ins, including pumpkin, agave, nut butters, fruit conserves, etc., which help make hot cereal palatable to even the fussiest. It all depends on what one’s in the mood for.
So: thick or thin? Scorching or lukewarm? Microwave or stove? What are some of your specific favorite obscure add-ins? Any new finds to report?