Bake-Ahead Breakfast

Get your day off to a healthy (and yummy!) start with this delicious oatmeal dish.
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I'm a huge fan of oatmeal, much to the chagrin of my strict Paleo friends who like to point out that oatmeal is a grain. Of course, that's true, but as grains go, it's one of the least offensive. One cup of cooked oatmeal has about 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber-and the majority of the fiber is a kind called beta-glucan, which helps strengthen and support the immune system. Technically, oatmeal doesn't contain gluten, but severely gluten-sensitive folks will need to buy a gluten-free-certified brand because oats frequently become cross-contaminated with gluten either in the field or during processing.

This recipe is a breeze to make. It's incredibly delicious, and it's a nutritional powerhouse. It takes all of about 10 minutes to prepare in a blender. Then just throw it in an oven for 30 minutes, and you're done.

Notes from the Clean Food Coach

You can make this dish the night before, cover, refrigerate, and bake in the morning. But you won't get as high a rise from the baking powder as cooking right after blending. Because of the egg whites, the dish will puff up initially and then settle down as it cools. Once cool, slice into 6-8 pieces, cover, and store in the refrigerator for a quick heat-and-eat breakfast all week long. You can substitute seasonal chopped stone fruit such as apricots for the berries, but the prep will take a little longer.

This baked oatmeal is lovely served as is, topped with yogurt and additional berries, or with a light drizzle of pure maple syrup and a scattering of toasted pecans or walnuts.

Featured Nutrient: Cinnamon

Cinnamon got a lot of attention back in the early 2000s, when research at the USDA showed that it helped lower blood sugar. According to C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD-a USDA researcher who studied cinnamon-the active ingredient is MHCP (methylhydroxychalcone polymer), which increases the ability of cells to uptake glucose and helps turn that glucose into glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrate in the body).

Cinnamon is also a powerful antioxidant. In fact, one study found that it beat out such superspices as garlic and oregano in antioxidant capacity. It's also really good for digestion, and compounds in cinnamon help relieve nausea.

There are two types of cinnamon-Ceylon cinnamon, which is "true" cinnamon, and cassia cinnamon, which is the more common variety. The good news is that you don't need expensive cinnamon to get the health benefits. According to Broadhurst, you're fine getting the cheap stuff. "Buying in bulk is cost-effective and highly recommended," she says.

View our Easy Blended Baked Oatmeal Recipe

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