Finding ways to eat nutritious and healthy breakfasts during the week is one of my biggest challenges. The last thing I want worry about as I am dashing to get to work is “what I am going to eat”. Working in New York City I am surrounded by a never-ending array of coffee carts, delis, restaurants, and cafes that make picking up breakfast on the go a cinch. During the three and a half block walk from the train to my office I counted 21 (!!!) places to stop for breakfast (not including the handful of options at the train station)! If I don’t have a plan in place it is very tempting to be lazy, but the last thing I need to eat every morning is a bagel!
When I know that I am going to have a particularly busy week at work, I like to prepare my Blackberry Steel-Cut Oats on Sunday night. I pack individual servings into mason jars, then grab one from the fridge and heat when I get to work. It takes all the thinking out of my morning routine and gives me a nutritious start to my day!
Steel-cut oats are made from the inner portion of the oat kernel, called the groat. Unlike oatmeal flakes, which are rolled out flat, steel-cut oats are chopped into small chunks of grain (about the size of a sesame seed). Because they are less refined than oatmeal, they take longer to cook and have a chewy texture. Packed with soluble fiber, which helps to reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar, and 5 grams of protein per serving, steel-cut oats are a great way to start the day. They last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator once cooked and don’t get mushy like regular oatmeal.
The blackberries add the perfect touch of spring to this hearty little meal. Full of antioxidants and Vitamin C, the blackberries’ tart and sweet flavors compliment the nuttiness of the grain. You do not want to add the berries when you add the oats or the whole thing will turn soggy! Instead, by cooking the blackberries for a just a few minutes at the end,you will maximize the flavor of fruit and add a pop of color. The berries will break up while stirring but don’t let this concern you, you will still have pockets of juicy berries to tickle your taste buds! I add a teaspoon of maple syrup to amp up the sweetness and balance out any tartness the berries might have.
Quick Tip: Because the oats sit in the refrigerator overnight, the grain does not need to soak up all the water in the pan before you remove from the heat. Make sure to stir into the oats before transferring to mason jars. The grain will absorb any excess water overnight and be perfect when you are ready to serve. If you are using fresh berries, stir in after the oats are taken off the heat.