Getting out a bed any morning can be difficult, but when the weather is cooler and the mornings are darker, just starting your day can be the most challenging task you face.
One thing to make waking up slightly easier is a delicious, healthful breakfast. And the perfect breakfast to jumpstart your day: oatmeal.
While oatmeal may have the reputation of being bland healthy mush, tasty and satisfying oats are easy to create even in a dorm room. Pre-packaged oatmeal may seem too good to be true, and in actuality the packets of oats do contain added sugars (often artificial sweeteners), sodium, and hardly taste as good as the “real deal.” Plus, oatmeal is simple to prepare so there is no need for an easy way out in the first place. Unless you’re in a pinch, make it from scratch.
Oatmeal requires only a microwave or stovetop to cook rolled oats (the quick variety requires cooking for only a minute) along with your choice of milk or water. I prefer almond milk for a rich and subtle nutty taste. Add brown sugar or honey for a little sweetness (this varies depending on what you plan to include in your oats; here’s one idea).
Next, comes the fun, creative part – adding spices, add-ins and toppings to your oatmeal. This might be the most exciting part of your morning! Fresh fruit (bananas are perfect for adding creaminess and sweetness), dried fruits (the tartness of dried cranberries contrasts well with brown sugar) and mixed nuts are all flavorful, nutritious additions. Other good add-ins include cinnamon, nutmeg, peanut butter (easy on the amount you add) and fruit jams. Top with granola for some crunch or if you are feeling particularly indulgent, chocolate chips can make oatmeal taste similar to cookie dough. And that should be a reason in itself that you give this downplayed breakfast a chance!
Caroline Ariail is a senior at the University of Georgia where she studies journalism. She is guilty of resorting to oatmeal for dinner.