Just like we change our wardrobe with the seasons, it’s time to refashion our menus. One example is the topping on our oatmeal. Fresh succulent strawberries say it’s spring, and adding juicy pineapple and crunchy walnuts dresses up your bowl.
The goodness of oatmeal can be enjoyed year round. Rolled oats are a whole grain where the nutrient-rich bran and germ are left intact when flattened and steamed. Depending how long they are steamed determines if they are “old-fashioned” (a.k.a. regular), quick or instant. Research indicates that eating whole grains rich in fiber lowers your risk of colorectal cancer and beta-glucan fiber in oatmeal lowers cholesterol.
This spring recipe calls for fresh strawberries and pineapple, but you can use your favorite seasonal fruit. Select strawberries with a sweet fragrance. Pick pineapples that have a sweet pineapple smell, have leaves that are green with no signs of brown, are vibrant green and yellow, feel heavy and firm, but give a little with a gentle squeeze.
To cut a fresh pineapple, wash it well and lay on its side on a cutting board. Cut off the top and bottom ends. Stand the pineapple up and cut the skin from top to bottom. Lay the pineapple on its side and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Lay each slice flat, cut flesh away from the core and discard the core. Cut pineapple into desired size chunks.
Ground flaxseeds and chopped walnuts add the beneficial plant form of omega-3 fatty acid and fiber. It’s no wonder flaxseeds are found in hundreds of foods today, ranging from crackers to frozen waffles. Whole flaxseeds are readily available in supermarkets. Store them in an airtight container 6 to 12 months. When ready to use, grind in a small electric spice or coffee grinder.
Cook oatmeal with your preferred milk rather than water for more satiating protein, calcium and vitamin D. Read plant-based milks’ labels to make sure they are calcium and vitamin D fortified. Protein content will vary among the plant-based milks, with soy milk having the most and rice milk having the least. The mild flavor of almond milk complements the sweetness of the oatmeal and fruits.
Quick start your day with a spring version of an old fashioned favorite. It’s sure to be an instant success!
Oatmeal with Fresh Pineapple, Strawberries and Walnuts
Makes 1 serving. Recipe may be doubled, tripled or quadrupled. Per serving: 371 calories, 17 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 46 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 9 g dietary fiber, 229 mg sodium.
- 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cups almond milk (or other plant-based or dairy milk, divided)
- 1 tsp. ground flaxseed (or to taste)
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
- 1/4 cup sliced strawberries
- 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1 tsp. honey (optional)
- In small pan, cook oatmeal with 1 cup milk according to package directions. Place oatmeal in serving bowl. Pour 1/4 cup milk over oatmeal (heat milk if preferred). Sprinkle on flaxseed and cinnamon. Top with pineapple, strawberries, walnuts and honey, if desired.
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Photographs by Heather Victoria Photography