3 Delicious Recipes for Oatmeal

By Liz Kennedy

There is nothing like a bowl of oatmeal in the morning to give you the energy to start your day. If I had to choose one breakfast to eat for the rest of my life, oatmeal would be it because the mix-ins and toppings are endless (Bacon would be a close second... but let's not even go there).

Oatmeal contains lots of fiber, which will keep you fuller, longer and has also been found to reduce cholesterol. While instant oatmeal packets are nutritious and convenient, they usually contain extra sugar and sodium. My suggestion instead is to go with old-fashioned oats -- they're quick and you can add your own toppings to make a signature oatmeal breakfast.

Here are three easy recipes to get you hooked on this healthy and hearty food.

1. PB&J Oatmeal
Who doesn't love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich? This oatmeal recipe is the next best thing, I promise!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup water or milk (I use milk for the extra calcium and creaminess)
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon jelly or jam
Optional:
Pinch of salt
Drizzle of honey

Directions:
Combine oats and liquid in microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, stir and add more liquid if necessary. Then, while oats are still hot, stir in peanut butter and jelly. Add a drizzle of honey on top for extra sweetness.

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2. Banana Bread Oatmeal
Just like Grandma used to make... but in a healthier form. If this doesn't warm you up, I don't know what will.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup water or milk (I use milk for the extra calcium and creaminess)
3/4 tablespoon brown sugar
1 large, ripe banana mashed
Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
Sprinkle of ground nutmeg
Optional:
Pinch of salt
Low-fat vanilla yogurt
Pecan halves
Banana slices

Directions:
Combine oats, liquid, and spices in microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, stir and add more liquid if necessary. Then, while oats are still hot, stir in mashed banana. Top with a dollop of low-fat vanilla yogurt, banana slices, pecans, and extra spices if desired.

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3. Strawberry-Vanilla Oatmeal

This light and fruity oatmeal is served cold and perfect for any day of the week, but is especially delicious in the summer months when the weather is hot and strawberries are ripe. This oatmeal should be made the night before so the oats have time to soak up the yogurt.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt (use Greek yogurt for extra thickness and protein)
1/4 cup strawberries (or your choice of fruit)
Optional:
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Chopped nuts

Directions:
Mix oats, yogurt, and fruit in bowl then cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve cold with as sprinkle of cinnamon and chopped nuts if desired. Note: If this oatmeal is too thick for you, add some extra milk to it in the morning.

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