With no end in sight to this horrific year, part of me wants to wallow away on my couch surrounded by empty eco-friendly takeout containers, ordering food delivery with abandon, and not confronting the reality that I need to be on a budget. But the tiny glimmer of hope that still exists inside me tells me, “Hey, spending less money on food will actually help your anxiety. Plus, cooking can be a kind of meditation.” (JK it was actually my therapist who told me that.)
With that in mind, I asked LA-based dietitian Vandana Sheth, RDN, and author of My Indian Table: Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Recipes, to share five easy and healthy breakfast ideas using just a few core ingredients.
“Each of these breakfast options can be enhanced with other items you may already have on hand—cinnamon and brown sugar for the sweeter choices, and salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, and garlic for the savory oats,” she says. This is point-and-click healthy cooking at its finest.
Your shopping list:
Sheth chose four ingredients that are typically easy to find, relatively affordable (except for the nuts, which can be a bit pricey unless you buy them from a bulk dry goods bin section of the store), and extremely versatile. They are (drumroll, please):
- Almond milk (or alt-milk of choice)
- Frozen mixed berries
- Chopped nuts, like slivered almonds
- Rolled oats
Beyond fitting the above-mentioned list of requirements, all of these ingredients are pretty healthy, too. Oats are high in fiber and complex carbs while offering a bit of protein, while frozen mixed berries are just as rich in antioxidants as their fresh counterparts (while typically being cheaper). Nuts are rich in healthy fats and protein no matter which type you choose, and while most alt-milks can’t quite compare nutritionally to cow’s milk, they still are a great neutral beverage that can work interchangeably in a lot of uses.
Here’s all the reasons why healthy eating pros love oats:
Got the goods? Here’s how to use them every work day this week without getting bored.
5 easy and healthy breakfast ideas using 4 core staples:
1. Hot oatmeal topped with fruit
Oatmeal is a classic breakfast option for a variety of reasons, like it’s full of fiber and easy to prepare (though to clean up, sometimes not so much). This is the most straightforward breakfast of the bunch: make your oatmeal using the plant-based milk, and top it with thawed berries and chopped nuts. If classic oatmeal makes you fall asleep faster than trying to read Walden in high school, try toasting the oats first—it’s a game changer.
2. Overnight oats
Sometimes a steaming bowl of oatmeal just doesn’t sound appealing, which is why we have overnight oats. You know the drill: mix the oats and almond milk (the ratio is typically 1:1) together in a mason jar and put it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, stir in the fruit and nuts, along with any spices that you have on-hand.
3. Berry smoothie
“In a blender add milk, frozen fruit, nuts, and some oatmeal to blend into a delicious, portable breakfast,” Sheth says. Adding oats to your smoothie is a good idea pretty much any day of the week, because oats are complex carbs that help you feel full and satiated for longer.
4. Savory oats
Plain oatmeal is kind of, well, bland—but that’s what makes it so versatile. After you cook your oatmeal, Sheth recommends adding spices, like turmeric, or hot sauce (?!) “to make it savory and different.”
5. Baked oatmeal
I have never once thought to bake my oatmeal. But like the other ideas here, it’s simple and tasty. Here’s how Sheth says to do it: Mix together your oats, almond milk, and nuts. Grease a pan—like a casserole dish—and put the berries at the bottom. Layer the oat/almond milk/nut mixture on top, and then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. You’re welcome.