Fill My Belly: On The Glow Basic Oatmeal Squares — Oh She Glows

Breakfast. Most important meal of the day. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper, as the saying goes.  Now, typically I’m not a morning person. I need a good couple of hours and a large coffee before I’m at my best (unless you let me sleep until 10am), so cooking or lots of preparation for breakfast is not an option for me. However, as I cycle commute I do need to have a balanced breakfast to provide both instant and slow-release energy for my ride. I’ve experimented with lots of different things over the years, from cereal to smoothies, and everything in between, but usually either the preparation is too involved or the dish doesn’t provide enough energy at the right time.

Until I discovered these baked oatmeal squares from Oh She Glows. Now, being new to this blogging malarkey I am sure there is a better way to share/present this but here is the link to the recipe and blog:

On The Glow Basic Oatmeal Squares — Oh She Glows.

These are so tasty, versatile and filling, I’ve had them almost every day for breakfast for the last month, and my latest batch has just come out of the oven now, ready for the coming week. The great thing is, you can do the preparation and cooking in the evening/weekend, and then they are ready when you need them in the morning. They last for 4/5 days in an air-tight container, although using fresh fruit will reduce their longevity, but I’ve found that you can also freeze them and just get them out the freezer the night before you want to eat them.

Fresh from the oven. It doesn't look like much here, if only you had smell-a-vision!
Fresh from the oven. It doesn’t look like much here; if only you had smell-a-vision!

I’ve been enjoying playing with the flavours – the recipe on the blog is for a basic recipe, but as Angela says in her post you can put anything you like in it. My flavour combinations so far are:

fresh blueberries and peanuts
vanilla, chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chunks
sultana, cherry and dried coconut
ground almond and cherry
lime (zest, and lime juice infused raisins) and dried coconut

I’ve also been adding 50g whey powder to the recipe (I make a shake with the whey powder and the almond or soya milk, and blend it into the liquid ingredients) for added protein, which of course does make the recipe no longer vegan-friendly, but you could use hemp or pea protein instead.

Obviously the nutritional value of these will depend on what you add to the recipe, but for the basic recipe alone there is instant energy from the maple syrup, and slow release energy from the oats.  There is omega-3 from the seeds (flaxseed is an excellent plant source of omega-3 (1)), and a whopping 7 grams of fibre per square from the seeds, banana and oats.  There is also protein and healthy fats from the nut butter and seeds, and vitamin E from the almond milk, which helps protect against oxidative stress (2), which has been implicated in conditions such as cancer (3), heart disease (2) and Alzheimers. The banana, and any other fruit or nuts you choose to use will add further vitamins and minerals to this as well, though sadly chocolate has little to offer here; vitamin C from berries and citrus, copper and manganese from coconut, and so on.

I really recommend giving these little nutritional powerhouses a go for breakfast, or they would make a great pre/post-workout snack.  I like mine with fruit on the side, and a hot coffee!

Cherry and Almond Oatmeal Squares
Cherry and Almond Oatmeal Squares
References:

1. Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25190822

2. Vitamin E, Oxidative stress and inflammation http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16011463

3. Oxidative stress and cancer: have we moved forward? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17150040

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