Oatmeal for Breakfast
Are you in the “Oatmeal for Breakfast” crowd? That’s the camp that believes whole grains are the best way to start the day. If you are, you have the backing of the American Diabetes Association. But perhaps you side with the keto bunch and prefer eggs or sausage. So which, really, is the best way to eat in the morning?
Consider Your Unique Biological Needs
First of all, let’s be clear that there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Whether you are male or female, old or young, active or sedentary impacts your dietary needs. But that’s not all. I had a client who became very sick on a high-protein, high-fat diet because she couldn’t digest the food well. On the other hand, I have seen individuals with chronic inflammation because of their high-carb diet.
I know a healthy man who eats oatmeal for breakfast 365 days a year. However, I also know a woman whose blood sugars spike like crazy when she eats oatmeal. The more you become educated about your own body, the more you can tailor your breakfast to your health goals. Lab tests can be an important part of assessing your needs.
Strive for Balance
Excess is not healthy for anyone. Individual foods have both strengths and weaknesses. Spinach is high in iron and calcium, but it can’t give you thiamine or B-12. So you should aim for lots of variety in your meals.
Also, recognize that you need all three macronutrients: carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Build meals that do not favor one macronutrient too heavily. Oatmeal is 70% carbohydrate. If you add sugar and fruit to it, you are increasing the potential for a blood sugar surge. In two hours, this could drop you into a hypoglycemic reaction, causing you to need more fuel fast. Then you will be driven to eat more carbs because fat and protein don’t enter the blood stream quickly enough. As a result, you create a blood sugar roller coaster.
How to Eat Oatmeal for Breakfast
If you like oats to start your day, think like a pancreas. You want a slow, sustained energy burn that keeps blood sugars – and insulin levels – low and even.
Consider one of these balancing options:
- Stir in some grass-fed butter or full-fat coconut milk.
- Serve with a side of eggs or uncured, center-cut bacon.
- Sprinkle in some protein powder just before serving.
- Top with nuts and seeds.
- Mix with almond butter
- Add egg whites the last minute of cooking.