3 Ways to Eat Oats When You’re a Military Family On the Go

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3 ways to eat oats when you're a military family on the goMore than 10 percent of Americans skip breakfast, according to a 2011 study by the NPD research group. Speaking from experience, this is easy to do, especially when trying to balance the demands of military life.

Oatmeal has become our family's favorite grab-and-go breakfast. Each week, I pre-make one of the three recipes listed below. By keeping the finished product in a tightly sealed container, I ensure that each morning we start the day with an instant meal that offers many health benefits. Switching the recipes weekly provides us variety so we never get bored with the options.

My husband especially loves the frozen granola bars. They are easy for him to grab before his early morning PT sessions. Sometimes he saves a couple for a healthy post-workout snack to satisfy his hunger. Either way, he gets the nutrition he needs while eating something that will keep him full.

The entire family can enjoy the three recipes below. These homemade alternatives are an inexpensive breakfast option. Plus, when you make your own you know exactly what's going into your body. You never have to question whether they truly are "healthy" or "high in protein" like so many of the pre-packaged alternatives claim to be.

Note: I prefer the Bob's Red Mill brand because they offer a variety of healthy options -- including gluten free -- and can be purchased at our local commissary.

Homemade Coconut Granola

Prep: Make in advance and store in an airtight container.

Enjoy: Mix in a to-go bowl complete with milk or Greek yogurt. Or, take a baggy and munch on it as a snack throughout the day.

Note: Keep a close eye on the granola as it bakes. It may not need the whole 30 minutes.

Slow Cooked Oatmeal

Prep: Cook steel-cut oats in slow cooker overnight. Store leftovers in individually pre-packaged containers for an easy to grab-and-go meal.

Enjoy: Mix it up with a variety of toppings. My favorite is 1 cup cooked oats, 1/2 chopped apple, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 tsp brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon for taste. Kimberly likes it with one chopped apple, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a sprinkle of flax seeds. Or try one of these delicious ideas.

Homemade Granola Bars

Recipe:

  • 3 cups rolled oats (Cooked or uncooked. Both taste great. I mix it up to give us variety.)
  • 2 cups mixed nuts and dried fruit (select a non-salted option)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cups nut butter (Ex: peanut or almond)
  • 2/3 cup honey
      

Prep: Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Heat the wet ingredients on low in a frying pan, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes liquid enough to pour off of the spoon. Then stir the nut butter and honey mixture over the dry ingredients. Place onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and press down with your hands until it is evenly distributed (Careful, mixture is hot!). Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares.

Enjoy: Wrap squares in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer for an easy to grab-and-go treat.