The Mighty Oatmeal: Breakfast of (Hiking) Champions!
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We all know it: breakfast is crucial. All the more so if you plan on hiking for many hours, probably carrying some extra weight on your back.
Your body needs fuel and it can't be just any kind of fuel. You need high-quality food that provides long-lasting energy, proteins, and healthy fats.
I need to be well prepared, especially that as a gluten-free hiker, my options are always limited and the trail I chose leads through some remote areas with no access to stores.
All this means it's time for me to prepare my most important food staple:
The Queen of them All: Oatmeal
It's just the easiest, really. It's full of healthy, complex carbs, protein and fats. Also, what is especially important for people with IG issues - it's cooked so it's easier to digest.
In cool weather, it's also a nice idea to have something warm to start the day. I absolutely love oatmeal, but I make my own mixture.
Just pouring hot water into oats would not make it for me! I like my food healthy and hearty - but also tasty :)
The Humble Power Horse: Oats
Oat grain is one of the best options out there. It's naturally gluten-free (Although you need a certified bag - if you are a coeliac or allergic as it's quite often contaminated with gluten) and it's a rich source of important vitamins (like B1, B5, and folate), minerals (like manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc), fiber and antioxidants. It's one of the most nutrient-dense foods, providing 15g of protein (in a cup).
It has a low glycemic index and provides long-lasting energy from the complex carbohydrates.
Many studies suggest that regular consumption of oats can help with lowering blood sugar and general cardiac health. It is appetite-suppressor because it increases the production of a hunger-fighting hormone, Cholecystokinin.
So, did I convince you, yet?
Well, what if I tell you that the way I make it, it tastes more like a dessert than the plain old grey mass of oats?
My hiking oatmeal is much richer than the regular daily I have.
Because I don't have to care about the sugars in my dry fruits or calories in seeds. During hikes, I need those calories and sugar! I can eat this delicious breakfast knowing I'm doing only good to my hiking machine, aka body.
So, What's In My Oatmeal?
It's pretty simple:
As I am gluten-free my options are limited but still, I could include a few different grains in addition to the main oats.
If you tolerate gluten you may add other whole-grains as they are all awesome. Best of course in the form of flakes as we will only pour boiling water on them, there is no time for cooking.
My choice of grains:
To be honest, it's a filler for me.
Gluten-free oats are expensive, rice flakes on the other side really cheap. I use them also to add to my instant soup when hiking to thicken it.
Another healthy yet humble grain.
Naturally gluten-free (but again, need a certification) but rich in nutrients. It's quite popular in the Polish cuisine although for years considered the poor people diet it came back recently with huge popularity.
There are websites and blogs dedicated to recipes of millet-based dishes.
Again - you can use whatever you like and is available to you. Seeds are dense in healthy fats and calories, providing long-lasting energy. In my oatmeal you can find:
Sounds better and better, huh?
And again: whatever you like. They provide fast sugar but also additional vitamins and minerals. I use cranberries because I like them :) Use apricots, raisins, dried apples or bananas... whatever!
Check out below what’s my cooking setup:
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Dehydrated high-fat milk
Now this one is crucial (in my version of oatmeal).
Not only that dried/dehydrated milk powder provides this nice creamy flavor, but it adds fat and protein. It adds substance to the oatmeal.
It's pretty easy to buy in Poland - every store has it, but I know it's not as popular as in other countries. Try "ethnic" stores in your city - you might be lucky. Of course, unless you are lactose-intolerant, which sucks.
Some sugar and sometimes cocoa :)
Sorry for not providing a photograph ;-) But you know what sugar looks like, right?
This one is a matter of taste. I like to add just a tiny bit of sugar. And once I had hot cocoa pockets and dropped it in my oatmeal (because I run out of sugar) and it was a revelation!
So good! :D
So now I like to add some once in a while.
You can add other spices - like nutmeg or cinnamon in your oatmeal to make it even better. You could also add some nuts - I'm allergic to many of them, so I leave them out. But nuts are really healthy and an amazing source of good fats, so if you can - go for it!
How many calories are in one oatmeal portion?
Erhm... Enough, I hope.