Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Toppings: Meal Prep Like a Pro
If you’ve read the original post on meal prep, you know how important it is to have convenient and delicious ingredients on hand for throw-together breakfasts. I know how it is: in the morning, you’re in a rush to get out the door (or get yourself and your kids out the door) in an organized, semi-peaceful fashion. Having simple breakfasts makes fueling up for the day a no-brainer.
This particular breakfast is one where some meal prep is really helpful. I always pre-cook the steel-cut oats, because they do take longer to cook than rolled oats.
Why steel-cut instead of rolled? For me, it’s about the big picture. My understanding of steel-cut oats is that they are just oat groats that have been chopped into a couple of pieces, while rolled oats have been steamed and rolled out flat for faster cooking. So what’s the big picture?
It can be really hard to get rolled oats in stores without added sugar and flavor, whereas it’s easy to buy a big container of plain steel-cut oats with no additives. I also happen to prefer the texture of steel-cut over rolled, because it is firmer, chewier, and has a little more bite. However, the nutritional value is pretty much the same, in my understanding, so pick what you like, but make sure that your oats do not have added sugar or other ingredients!
The Shopping List
- Package of steel-cut oats
- Fresh strawberries
- Nut butter of choice
- Ground flax seeds
- Truvia (more on this later)
Steel-cut oatmeal is easy to prepare on the stovetop in advance. Combine:
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 3 cups of water
Bring to a boil uncovered, and then put a lid on the pot, turn down the heat, and allow to simmer for awhile, checking it and stirring it occasionally. It’s a low-maintenance dish, as long as you have the heat sufficiently low. For steel-cut oats, the ratio is typically 1:3 / oats:water. So if you want to make more oats for your big family, make 2 cups of oats with 6 cups of water, etc.
Once your oatmeal is cooked, package it into containers and pack it away into the refrigerator. Portion hint: the serving size of cooked steel-cut oats is about a cup. I recommend eyeballing it by estimating how much cooked oats would fit into your cupped hand. That is your serving.
Serve hot topped with:
- Two tablespoons of natural peanut butter or other nut butter (only “peanuts” in the ingredient list)… check the serving size on your container!
- Handful of sliced strawberries
- Two tablespoons of ground flax seeds (store in the freezer!)
- One packet of Truvia or other Stevia-based sweetener
Remember, portion sizes are important even when it comes to “clean eating.” This meal is high in heart-healthy fiber and fats, but it also packs a wallop of carbohydrates and – yes – fats. Even “good fats” can’t be eaten without a sense of moderation. So make sure to measure out your portions until you get used to what certain measurements actually look like.
A Note on Stevia
You may have noticed that I use Truvia (a popular stevia-based sweetener) in my cooking. I joke that if Truvia ends up causing cancer, I will have to donate my body to science because I use it in basically everything. However, I do keep tabs on health research as part of taking care of myself but also as part of being a responsible personal trainer and coach, and currently I have not read anything that implicates stevia in disease, so I recommend it with a clear conscience.
It may be superstitious, but I attribute a large part of my healthy weight management to stevia-based sweeteners (not just Truvia), because it has helped me eliminate 99% of sneaky sugars from my diet over the last five years since I have discovered it. I use it in my coffee, baking, and everyday sweetening, like the oatmeal and Greek yogurt. I do still eat desserts and chocolate that have sugar in them, but they’re treats and not mainstays. For the daily things that I want to sweeten, Truvia is my go-to brand. It is also an ingredient in my Vega protein shakes (instead of sugar), which I will discuss in greater detail in a few weeks.
Bottom line: cut your sugar (and remember, honey and other syrups are still sugar, even if they’re “greenwashed”!), and you will see and feel authentic results.
Want more weekly wisdom about exercise and a healthy way of eating? Subscribe to the blog!