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Oatmeal Is a Great Breakfast Choice

May 27, 2022
Oatmeal Is a Great Breakfast Choice - Lark Health

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In this article:

  • A healthy breakfast can improve nutrition and reduce daytime hunger.
  • Eating oatmeal for breakfast has been linked to weight loss, better nutrient intake, and lower risk for conditions such as diabetes. Oatmeal has soluble fiber and essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Oatmeal may have some advantages over eggs for breakfast, but research studies have conflicting results. The best breakfast may include oatmeal and eggs!
  • We made a list of 10 healthy breakfasts to try. You can also use them as inspiration for coming up with your own ideas. 
  • It's okay if you don't like breakfast. We have tips for that, too.
  • Lark can help you eat healthier and lose weight. Personalized coaching, meal tracking, and weight tracking can all help you build healthy habits to reach your health goals.

Oatmeal is one of the world's healthiest foods. And research shows that it's a good choice for breakfast! Whether you want to lose weight, control blood sugar, lower cholesterol or blood pressure, or generally improve health, oatmeal may help. Here's what oatmeal can do and how you can include it in a healthy breakfast.

Benefits of Oatmeal

Many people know oatmeal is healthy, but do you know why? Mayo Clinic lists some reasons.

  • Oats are a whole grain. They have fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Whole grain consumption is linked to health benefits such as lower blood sugar and blood pressure, lower body weight, and reduced chronic inflammation.
  • Oatmeal has a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. This fiber can lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and promote gut health.
  • Protein and fiber in oatmeal can help with weight management. They help you feel fuller.
  • The Food and Drug Administration says oatmeal is a heart-healthy food.
  • Vitamins and minerals in oatmeal include vitamin B1 (thiamin), magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, and iron.

Research published in Nutrients finds that children who eat oatmeal for breakfast tend to have a higher diet quality and more dairy, whole grains, fruit, and nutrients such as calcium, fiber, protein, and potassium. 

The Best Oatmeal for Breakfast

The best oatmeal for breakfast is made from plain oats, such as any of the following.

  • Steel cut oats
  • Rolled oats
  • Quick-cooking oats
  • Plain instant oatmeal packets

Flavored instant oatmeal is usually sweetened with sugar - a lot of sugar. Each packet can have as much sugar as in a toaster pastry or in 6 Hershey's Kisses.

Plain Cheerios and unsweetened oat bran are also good choices.

Eggs versus Oatmeal for Breakfast

What about eggs for breakfast? Is it better to have a high-protein breakfast compared to a breakfast with oatmeal? What about cholesterol in eggs? The jury is still out. Research studies have differing results so far.

In an article published in Stroke, researchers looked at links between breakfast foods and stroke risk for 55,095 participants over 13 years. The article says that choosing oatmeal instead of white bread or eggs was linked to a lower risk of stroke. Choosing oatmeal instead of yogurt didn't have an effect on stroke risk.

On the other hand, a study published in Nutrients found that eggs had a benefit over oatmeal. For four weeks, participants had either two eggs or a packet of oatmeal as part of their breakfast. The breakfasts didn't lead to different cholesterol levels, but breakfasts with two eggs were reported to be more satisfying than breakfasts with oatmeal.

Best Breakfast for Weight Loss and Health

Oatmeal is healthy. It is a great breakfast choice. But it's not the only one. The best breakfasts for weight loss and health may include 3 to 4 of these food types.

  • A whole grain, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat sliced bread, English muffin, mini bagel, or tortilla, brown rice, whole-grain cereal
  • Fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit, such as berries, banana, orange, apple, pear, peach
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables, such as spinach, tomato, onion, zucchini, bell peppers
  • A lean protein, such as egg white, eggs, beans, fat-free yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat feta or other cheese
  • Healthy fat, such as olive oil, avocado, peanut butter, almond butter, seeds

Here are 10 healthy breakfast ideas.

  1. 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of blueberries
  2. 1/2 cup of black beans, 1 high-fiber tortilla, 1 ounce of low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of shredded lettuce
  3. 1/2 cup of nonfat cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup of sliced peaches
  4. 6 ounces of fat-free plain yogurt, 1 diced apple, 1 ounce of chopped peanuts
  5. 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal, 1 ounce of chopped walnuts, cinnamon, 1/2 sliced banana
  6. 4 scrambled egg whites with 1/2 cup of mushrooms, diced onion, 1 ounce of low-fat shredded cheese, served with 1/2 cup cooked quinoa 
  7. 1 banana and egg muffin cup with spinach, low-fat feta cheese, oregano, and diced onion
  8. 1 whole-grain English muffin with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries
  9. 1 cup of plain Cheerios with 1/2 cup skim milk or unsweetened soy milk, 1/2 sliced banana, 1/2 ounce of nuts
  10. 2 slices of whole-wheat toast spread with 1/4 cup mashed avocado and dotted with 1/4 cup of chickpeas, plus 3/4 cup of cut cantaloupe

These breakfasts have about 300 to 400 calories and 2 to 3 carbohydrate servings. You can adjust them to meet your needs.

What If I Hate Breakfast?

Harvard Health Publishing says you don't have to start your day by eating. It's okay to delay your first meal of the day. In fact, there may be health benefits to a longer overnight fast. Your "fast" might include the hours between finishing dinner and going to bed, the overnight hours, and some time in the morning before you first eat.

These are some tips for getting benefits of a healthy breakfast without being a traditional "breakfast person."

  • Eat your "breakfast" at another time, such as at midday or in the afternoon.
  • Eat traditional breakfast foods at other meals. For example, you could have oatmeal for lunch and a hard-boiled egg for a snack.
  • Choose foods that are not "traditional" breakfast foods to get the same nutrients. For example, barley has soluble fiber, just like oatmeal, and it is great in soups or meatloaf, or as a side dish. And chicken breast is a lean protein, just like eggs.
  • Make breakfast foods in ways that aren't traditional. For example, make savory oatmeal with butternut squash and parmesan cheese. Or have egg salad made with dill, plain yogurt, and chopped celery and onion, on whole-grain toast with lettuce leaves.

A healthy breakfast can help you get more nutrients during the day, and it could be part of a healthy eating plan for weight loss and more. Smart eating can help with weight loss and prevention or management of conditions such as prediabetes, diabetes, and hypertension. 

With Lark, healthy eating choices can be part of your daily routine. You can even eat your favorite foods and stay on track.

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