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Breakfast Time Saver Tip of the Day

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is true under any circumstance, but particularly if you are working out.

One of my biggest challenges is to be able to have my breakfast before hitting the gym, very early in the morning. Being as it is that I have to be at the gym no later than 6 a.m. in order to complete my workout and still be on time for work, overnight meal prep is of the essence.

My usual breakfast? A bowl of classic (not instant) oatmeal with protein powder and 1/4 cup of berries (I prefer blackberries, but any other berry is fine). As you may imagine, cooking rolled oats and eating them in such a small window of time is challenging, unless I want to get up even earlier than I do.

It ain't happening.

My first option was to cook my oatmeal the previous evening via nuking it. There are instructions in the container for doing just that. However, I discovered that this method is rather messy since, no matter what I do, the wretched thing splatters all over my microwave even when covered.

Scratch that.

Option two, which is what I had been doing until a couple of nights ago, was to cook it in a saucepan as per classic instructions, put it in the fridge, and re-heat it in the morning. Disadvantage? If I forgot to do it earlier in the evening, I would have to spend like 20 minutes past my bedtime in a panic frenzy cooking my oatmeal. Surely, there must be a better way than this.

Option three. Brilliant. I discovered it two nights ago. It goes like this. Nuke your water (and water alone) in your bowl for about 1.5 minutes. Take it out of the microwave, and dump your rolled oats in the hot water. Let it rest for a little while if you want and then cover and stick it in the fridge. Or simply cover it and stick it in the fridge while hot. It doesn't matter.

What you will notice is that the oatmeal gets semi-cooked and starts to thicken in the hot water. In the morning all you need to do is nuke it for another 1.5 minutes. Since it has sort of congealed overnight, it doesn't splatter in your microwave and it comes out perfect. Oh, and now you don't have a saucepan to clean. Ta daaa!!!

Bonus tip: After you have reheated your oatmeal, add your protein powder and cinnamon if you so wish. The only thing that you *don't* want to do is to nuke it with the protein powder already in. For some reason, the protein powder makes your oatmeal overfluff, almost like popcorn, giving it a really weird consistency.

So remember boys and girls, nuke first, add protein later.

And that's it for now.

Belfebe out.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
FWIW: not nuking your protein powder is a good idea, if it's whey protein it can be denatured by high temps.
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, nuking whey protein = Bad idea (plus yucky!)
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
I have a friend who cooks a large batch of oatmeal in her rice cooker on weekends, then portions them out into individual servings and freezes them. She then takes out an individual serving each day and nukes it to heat it up.
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
That is another good solution. Mi problem with that is that I have two breakfasts, one for before working out, and one after working out. Both involve oatmeal and protein, only that the first one is prepared with 1/3 cup of dry oatmeal and 1 scoop of protein, and the other is 1/2 dry oatmeal and 2/3 scoops of protein.

Because once it's cooked, the volume can vary depending on how watery or dry it is, it's difficult for me to keep the right measure. But if you are only doing only one breakfast, the preparing a large batch is a great solution.

And yes, I do have elevensies, lunch, afternoon meal, dinner, and before bed mini-meal too. I eat like a hobbit! :-D
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
My mom's solution to the splatter problem is to use a huge bowl and cover that bowl with a dinner plate. I like steel-cut oats, I cook it in the rice cooker, and I've been known to cook it in buttermilk or sheep's or goat's milk.
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
I've tried that too, but I found the heating the water and soaking more practical. Both solutions work.

Hmmm... steel cut oatmeal...
Apr. 25th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
I <3 steel cut oatmeal. Rolled oats are good for cookies and granola. But for hot cereal, unh-uh, gotta' have me those steel cut oats. So good that when the oats are fresh I'll just eat it plain with just a bit of salt. Nom,nom,nom...

(I use the soak overnight/cook the next AM method but then I don't eat it when I'm in a tearing hurry. Nor am I training for a body building competitions. So this isn't a tip, just a gratuitous comment. :-D)
Apr. 25th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Steel cut oats are the best, not only in terms of flavor and texture but also in nutrition. Second are the rolled oats. Instant oats are only good when there is nothing else whatsoever to eat. Better than nothing, but those taste like glue. :-)
Apr. 26th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
I do the steel cut oats overnight in a mini crock pot....
Apr. 26th, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
I've actually found that if I put a tall-ish bowl of oatmeal in the microwave for 6 minutes on half power, it cooks thoroughly and without boiling over... possibly less than half power would be better on a larger microwave, as ours is only 900 watts.
Apr. 26th, 2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
I can't do complex carbs before I work out. My stomach just can't take it. I do Jack3d and maybe a piece of fruit before morning workouts. At most I will do a simple protein shake and then only if it is a whey isolate.

The carbs/big meal come after the workout.
Apr. 26th, 2011 01:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I understand. A lot of people can't really take the bigger pre-workout breakfast. In my case, I have two breakfasts, both with oatmeal and protein (different proportions though). One pre-workout, and one post-workout. It works great for me. It's part of the plan that my coaches built for me, but then I am training for a very specific goal :-)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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