Earnest Nutritionist Expert, Alex Borsuk, spends a lot of her time in the mountains hiking or competing in ultramarathon events. Being a nutritionist and sports dietician, Alex knows first hand how to choose the right foods to provide her with enough sustaining energy to get her through her hikes, marathons and even just a typical work day. Oatmeal, the tried and true breakfast of champions, has been around for hundreds of years. So it’s no surprise that you may be bored of the same old oatmeal toppings. What you add to your oatmeal can provide you with an extra boost of energy that can power you through that mid-morning slump. Here are some of my favorite healthy, energizing ways to spice up those morning oats.

  • Nut Butter
    • Nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc) is a great way to add creaminess and flavor to your IMG_3435a_cleanedoats! Nut butters are full of nutrients such as healthy fats, fiber and protein. My favorite type is almond butter because it has the same creamy texture as peanut butter but has 3 more grams of healthy monounsaturated fat per serving (and slightly less saturated fat!). Monounsaturated fats are important in your diet because they can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. After you cook the oats and they are still warm, add a small scoop of your favorite nut butter, stir, and enjoy its energizing benefits.
  • Fruit
    • Fruit has always been a classic addition to oatmeal. Like peanut butter and jelly, dried fruit and oats seem to be a match made in heaven. Change it up a little bit by adding fresh fruit to your oats. Fresh fruit, like berries, are chockful of vitamins, minerals, and hunger-fighting fiber. Fiber takes longer to digest than simple carbohydrates, keeping you fuller longer and combating that mid-morning fatigue. Some of my favorite fresh fruits to add to my morning oats include blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, mango, and banana. Try one, or try a combination – the added natural sweetness and fiber will leave both your sweet tooth and your stomach satisfied!
  • Seeds
    • You’ll never find my oatmeal without some type of seed on it, such as chia, hemp or flax seeds. These are great additions to your morning oats because a little goes a long way in the terms of packing a nutritional-punch! Flax, chia and hemp seeds contain protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Let’s chat omega-3 fatty acids for a minute. This is the essential type of fat that our bodies cannot produce on its own, therefore we need to consume through food. Omega-3s help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and balance the immune system. The great news about seeds is that you only need a tablespoon to reap all of their healthful benefits! Sprinkle these nutritional powerhouses on your oats after they are done cooking for a pleasant, nutty flavor.
  • Vegetables
    • I know what you’re thinking – “Vegetables? On oatmeal? How weird!” But think about it… chances are you love carrot cake, or zucchini bread, or some other type of sweet desert made with vegetables. Many of us have a hard time meeting our recommended serving of vegetables a day, and this is a good way to include them in our diet! Shredded carrots are a great addition to oatmeal, providing you with vitamin A to boost your immune system and keep your eyes healthy. Still sound weird to you? Add shredded carrots, unsweetened coconut, chopped pecans, cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup to your oats and you’ve got yourself a healthier version of carrot cake! Are you more of a savory oatmeal fan? Try topping your oats with shredded kale, a slice of avocado, chili flakes, and a sprinkle of sea salt. The kale provides you with many vitamins, minerals and fiber, while the avocado provides a dose of heart-healthy fats.
  • Cacao
    • A world without chocolate is a sad world, am I right? Good news for you, chocolate is not offIMG_3266_cleaned limits! Cacao is a powerful antioxidant which offers heart-healthy benefits to your body. It also contains fiber and other vitamins and minerals. In addition, cacao is known as a mood booster because it raises serotonin levels in your brain. There’s nothing wrong with starting your day off in a good mood and on the right foot! Keep in mind though that you will receive more health benefits the darker the chocolate is. Aim for dark chocolate with 70% or more cacao, either in powder or bar form. Try mixing cacao powder in with your oats, or sprinkling a few dark chocolate chunks on top for a mood-boosting, healthy start to your morning. I personally love adding dark chocolate chips, banana slices and a scoop of almond butter to my oats for an antioxidant-rich take on the classic “Elvis” sandwich.

Earnest Eats makes it easy to consume a lot of these added benefits with your morning oatmeal. Our hot cereals all have a superfood grain blend of oats, quinoa and amaranth, along with fruits, nuts & seeds. We like to add even more goodies to our hot cereals to really emphasize their flavors and energizing benefits! Some of the Earnest team’s favorite combinations:

Earnest Eats Overnight Oats Family Check out our store for more information on our hot cereal varieties. Learn more about Alex, and follow her on Instagram @alexborsuk.