Take charge of your health. Sign up for HealthyWomen newsletters:
Healthy Living

What's for Breakfast: Oatmeal You Can Eat Out of Your Hand

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 03/30/2011
Last Updated: 08/13/2012

Share on:

I'll bet you grew up hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I, for one, agree with that. Think about it: Are there any other times of the day when your stomach is deprived of food for so many hours? After sleeping for 7 or 8 hours (hopefully, you're getting a good night's rest), your stomach is begging for some attention.

Yet, many people are skipping breakfast for various reasons. Maybe you want to lose weight and find it easy to eliminate that one meal. Warning: It doesn't work and will usually backfire.

Chances are that by mid-morning, you'll be starving and will make up the extra calories—and then some—by eating more throughout the day. If you don't believe me, the National Weight Loss Control Registry reports that among "successful losers"—the people who have maintained a weight loss of 30 or more pounds for at least a year—most report eating breakfast every day. Other research finds that people who are regular breakfast eaters are also likely to exercise regularly, and that women who are breakfast eaters tended to consume fewer calories overall throughout the day.

There are people who say they're just not hungry in the morning. Or they roll out of bed, hit the ground running and have no time to eat.

When I told a friend of mine (who is a member of the breakfast-haters club) that I had found an easy, nutritious recipe for oatmeal, she was dubious—until I told her that is something she can prepare in advance and actually hold in her hand and take with her. I'd become bored with my usual breakfasts and needed to shake things up.

Besides, when away at the Golden Door last week and served a beautiful breakfast of steaming hot oatmeal one morning, I was reminded of how much I miss it. It's low in fat, high in fiber and filled with essential vitamins and minerals.

I adapted this recipe from one I found a while ago at MayoClinic.com. I finally made it the other night, reheating a portion of it for breakfast the next morning. It's really yummy—you may even be tempted to cut off a square and have it for dessert!

Oatmeal Squares
Serves 8

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/3 cup brown sugar
Egg substitute equivalent to 2 eggs, or 4 egg whites
3 cups uncooked rolled oats
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup skim or low-fat milk

In a large bowl, stir together oil, applesauce, extract, sugar and eggs. Mix in oats, raisins, baking powder, cinnamon and milk. Spray a 9-by-13 baking pan with cooking spray. Spoon mixture into pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Now that I've (hopefully) convinced you to eat breakfast, let me go one step further. If you're on the road and find yourself unable to make a home-cooked breakfast, don't fret. As much as I detest fast food, sometimes it is just plain necessary. Here are some healthy breakfast options. They're not perfect, since some tend to be a bit high in fat or sodium, but they are better than skipping breakfast altogether or eating the wrong thing:
Cosi – Spinach Florentine Breakfast Wrap
Starbucks – Protein Artisan Snack Plate
Jamba Juice – Berry Topper Ideal Meal
Au Bon Pain – Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Denny's – Scrambled Egg Whites, Chicken Sausage and Fruit
Dunkin' Donuts – Egg White Turkey Sausage Wake-Up Wrap
Subway – Western Egg White & Cheese Muffin Melt
Panera Bread – Breakfast Power Sandwich (to cut the sodium, order it without the smoked ham)

Subscribe to Midlife Matters by Email


I usually eat a big breakfast. I find I'm in a better mood and more productive if I have vegetables, a little meat, and some kind of carb in the morning!

Love oatmeal - in any form! That sounds like a great recipe.

I had never thought of making oatmeal squares, but why not? Thanks for the suggestion. Does this recipe freeze well, do you know?

No idea about the freezing; I've wondered that myself. Worth a try, though, I suppose!

I shudder to think how many times a week I'm now eating oatmeal. Four? Five? In any event, I love it and am thrilled to get a new recipe using it.

Glad I could offer a variation for an oatmeal fan, Ruth!

Sounds good, although I'll be using actual real egg.

Yum! I can imagine each week a different dried fruit! Maybe a little shredded low-fat cheese for added protein? Endless variations.

What a great idea, Vera. A different fruit each week...blueberries, apricots, mango. Extra vitamins, too.

Thanks for this recipe. I usually don't do much for breakfast lately. I find I don't get hungry until about 10am--but then I get ravenous. So I definitely needed to read this!

All my life I had oatmeal for breakfast, it can be boring at times. I'll run to prepare this dish,sound delicious! Thanks Sheryl.

They sound delicious, fast and easy! Good for a healthy snack, too. I'll definitely be baking a batch!

I'm a big fan of steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast. I love the "big" texture and it really holds off hunger!

Oatmeal (we call it porridge) or granola are my go-to breakfasts. Oatmeal is like tofu: It may seem ordinary on its own but there's so much you can do to dress it up.

I like it with roasted cinnamon, slivered almonds and sliced bananas, or diced apple and candied pecans, or studded with blueberries warmed and softened in a pan with a little maple syrup.

I'm coming to your house for breakfast, Sarah. YOu know how to cook up a mean bowl of oatmeal!

I love the idea of these squares. Definitely going to try them. My kid hates breakfast.

Oatmeal is the best! Now that I've been making it with my homemade almond milk, I'm more addicted than ever. Have you tried it with dried tart cherries in place of raisins yet?

Dried tart cherries are a great idea. My next batch will definitely include some of these!

I imagine these could become addictive! One of my relatives takes uncooked oatmeal and adds milk, then consumes. Your treats sound much better!!!!

Uncooked oatmeal. Sounds dreadful. I hope you'll pass this recipe on!

I often drive off with a bowl of oatmeal in my lap. This sounds much less messy!

Oh, no, DWO..driving with oatmeal. I hope you will use this recipe so you don't have a bowl on your lap any longer!

I try to eat a bowl of oatmeal every day, even in the summer. But I love this idea of more transportable oatmeal.

Stir one-third of a cup of cranberries (not dried) mixed with cooked oatmeal. The cranberries add some firepower.

Oatmeals are very healthy and I usually eat this as my breakfast. Because I am a bodybuilder, so I need to control my fat along with the protein. So the best is the Oat meal. Along with the Oatmeal,Meaningful Use Attestation I use cashews strawberries and some dry grapes.

Thanks for sharing Sheryl. Eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning can also help stabilize your blood sugar levels and, ultimately, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. I recently read an article that talks about morning meal that can revs up metabolism. Read full article here:



Add new comment