This is one of my favorite breakfasts to eat to fuel up before a workout. It has lots of power packed goodies to give you energy to kick butt and it’s DELICIOUS. No joke, I eat this almost every day unless I’m carb cycling or eating Keto.
I have dubbed this recipe Morgan’s Magnificent (Makeshift) Oatmeal because I made it one day when I only had a few ingredients in the house and I wanted a healthy breakfast. I kept seeing overnight oat recipes EVERYWHERE and wanted to try them, but I would forget to actually make them the night before. Sooo I’d end up with TONS of oatmeal in my kitchen and no overnight oats. One morning, I took a few ingredients, threw ‘em together, and a star was born! In the form of oatmeal!
Before I share the recipe, I’d like to go over why this is good for you. If you’re worried about the carbs – that’s why I’ve carefully placed them as a breakfast item first thing in the morning and mixed them with lots of other nutritious goodies. It’s important to remember that carbs aren’t your enemy (in fact you need them for energy!), you just need to know HOW and WHEN to eat them. This was an extremely important discovery for me and why I chose to eat this oatmeal regularly – it keeps me full and keeps my energy high, something that I struggle with often.
So here we go ladies and gents, let’s dig into Morgan’s Magnificent (Makeshift) Oatmeal.
Why is this healthy?
Oats: Oats have so many health benefits! They have been shown to be effective in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels and are believed to have protective effects against heart disease. Additionally, they have a lot of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber, which will keep you feeling full for longer. Beta-glucans improve your blood glucose and insulin responses by lessening the interaction between food and digestive enzymes, by delaying gastric emptying, and by reducing the absorption of glucose. Oats are also high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! (1),(2),(3),(4)
Almond Milk: Almond milk is fantastic because it is lactose-free, low calorie, and contains no saturated fat. I also enjoy the flavor! You can purchase sweetened or flavored almond milks, however the lowest calorie option would be to purchase the unsweetened version. While almond milk does not naturally have the Vitamin D and Calcium that cow’s milk has, it is often fortified with these vitamins. It is, however, a great source of vitamin A and is vegan!
May not be the stuff of beauty but I’m telling you….if you’ve ever tried to cook a healthy breakfast for one you know it can take a while. 2 minutes of cooking and voilà, magnificent oatmeal!
There has been some concern regarding the ingredient Carrageenan that is often in almond milk. Carrageenan is a thickening agent that is thought to cause digestive issues in some people. If you are concerned about this, there are brands that offer Carrageenan-free almond milk. I buy Califia Farms Almond Milk, which is Carrageenan-free and delicious.
Below is a chart comparing the nutrition for almond milk vs. milk and other milk alternatives.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is AMAZING. Cinnamon has been used for centuries as an edible spice and in alternative medicine. It is very high in antioxidants (specifically polyphenols), which protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties which are powerful enough to help fight both short-term infections and chronic illnesses. These properties also help to repair tissue damage caused by inflammation. Cinnamon may reduce the risk of heart disease and the main active component of cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde, may help fight bacterial infections. If all this wasn’t enough to get you pumped up about cinnamon, guess what?! There is evidence that cinnamon can improve sensitivity to Insulin and reduce Insulin Resistance. This is great news for all of us with PCOS! Eat more [Ceylon, not Cassia] cinnamon! (5),(6),(7),(8),(9)
Berries: Berries are rich in anothocyanins, a type of flavonoid which give berries their bright color. Anthocyanins have antioxidant properties and fight free radicals. They may also offer several other protective benefits against cancer, viruses, and inflammation. Additionally, berries are fiber-rich and will help keep you full and keep your digestion regular. (10)
Flax Seeds: Flax seeds are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, while being low in carbs. Flax seeds contain ALA omega-3 fats which help to improve acne, rosacea, eczema, and dryness when ingested. ALAs also reduce inflammation, which helps to support weight loss. There is also good evidence that flax seeds can reduce cholesterol levels. Additionally, the lignans in flax have been used as hormone replacement therapy because lignans have estrogenic properties. Finally, one study found that flax seeds may reduce the risks of endometrial and ovarian cancers specifically. (11), (12), (13)
Pro Tip: Drink a cup a warm lemon water (yes, it’s lemon water not pee…I know you were thinking it!) with your oatmeal to stimulate and gently cleanse your digestive system first thing in the morning.
Morgan’s Magnificent Oatmeal Recipe:
Morgan’s Magnificent Oatmeal
Quick, easy, and healthy oatmeal recipe that you can enjoy every morning or as a snack/pre- or post-workout.
- ½ cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 to 1 tsp of cinnamon
- Small amount (about 1 tsp, depending of a sweetener of your choice (I use honey, but you can use maple syrup, swerve, palm sugar, etc.))
- Handful (~1/4 cup of organic berries (your choice, I often use raspberries))
- Optional: 1 tbsp of flax seeds (I promise you can’t even taste them and they are so good for you!)
Mix oats and almond milk in a bowl and microwave for 1 min 30 sec on med to high. Depending on the size of the bowl it may bubble over, so watch for this.
Take the oats/milk out of the microwave (careful not to burn your hands on the hot bowl!) and add cinnamon and sweetener.
Stir up all that deliciousness.
Let the mixture sit for a minute or two, then add in the flax seeds and stir again.
Finally, add the berries on top and enjoy!
You can cook the oatmeal on the stove if you prefer, however this will significantly add to the prep and cook time. I like using the microwave because it’s a quick option. 😊Additionally, for those who would prefer to use NO SUGAR/SWEETENER I’ve started to lose the sweetener and add a little vanilla instead (~1/4 or 1/2 tsp depending on my mood). This gives it a richer feel without needing the sugar. For those that don’t like the crunch of the flax or who find that they get stuck in their teeth, you can also find ground flax which mixes in great (and you still get all those omega 3’s)!
Depending on which sweetener, berries, and flax you use, the nutrition information will vary slightly. I used honey and raspberries in the below calculations.
Now go mix up a bowl of oatmeal and get all the awesome benefits of these delicious and nutritious foods in one power breakfast!
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(2) Ahmad A, Anjum FM, Zahoor T, Nawaz H, Ahmed Z. Extraction and characterization of beta-D-glucan from oat for industrial utilization. Int J Biol Macromol. 2010 Apr 1;46(3):304-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Jan 18.
(3) Whitehead A, Beck EJ, Tosh S, and Wolever TMS. Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat b-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100:1413–21. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.086108.
(4) Ho HVT, Sievenpiper JL, Zurbau A, et al. The effect of oat β-glucan on LDL-cholesterol, non-HDL-cholesterol and apoB for CVD risk reduction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised-controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition. 2016;116(8):1369-1382. doi:10.1017/S000711451600341X.
(5) Rao PV, Gan SH. Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2014;2014:642942. doi:10.1155/2014/642942.
(6) Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8. doi:10.2337/diacare.26.12.3215.
(7) Qin B, Panickar KS, Anderson RA. Cinnamon: Potential Role in the Prevention of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology. 2010;4(3):685-693.
(8) Anderson RA. Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proc Nutr Soc. 2008 Feb;67(1):48-53. doi: 10.1017/S0029665108006010.
(9) Ooi LS1, Li Y, Kam SL, Wang H, Wong EY, Ooi VE. Antimicrobial activities of cinnamon oil and cinnamaldehyde from the Chinese medicinal herb Cinnamomum cassia Blume. Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(3):511-22. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0192415X06004041.
(10) Chen L1, Xin X, Yuan Q, Su D, Liu W. Phytochemical properties and antioxidant capacities of various colored berries. J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Jan 30;94(2):180-8. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6216. Epub 2013 Jul 4.
(11) McCann SE1, Freudenheim JL, Marshall JR, Graham S. Risk of human ovarian cancer is related to dietary intake of selected nutrients, phytochemicals and food groups. J Nutr. 2003 Jun;133(6):1937-42.
(12) Hongyu Wu, An Pan, Zhijie Yu, Qibin Qi, Ling Lu, Geng Zhang, Danxia Yu, Geng Zong, Yunhua Zhou, Xiafei Chen, Lixin Tang, Ying Feng, Hong Zhou, Xiaolei Chen, Huaixing Li, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Frank B. Hu, Xu Lin. Lifestyle Counseling and Supplementation with Flaxseed or Walnuts Influence the Management of Metabolic Syndrome. J Nutr. 2010 Nov; 140(11): 1937–1942. Published online 2010 Sep 8. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.126300.
(13) Mette Kristensen, Morten G Jensen, Julie Aarestrup, Kristina EN Petersen, Lise Søndergaard, Mette S Mikkelsen, and Arne Astrup. Flaxseed dietary fibers lower cholesterol and increase fecal fat excretion, but magnitude of effect depend on food type. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2012; 9:8. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-9-8.