My family and I recently made a change in our diet. We were eating the Standard American Diet, and loving it. But I felt the need for change. I have spent the past year exercising and eating less, and over the course of that year I lost nearly 50 pounds. What I ate didn’t change, I just tried (not always successfully) to eat less of it.
But eventually I decided that exercise and eating less just wasn’t enough. I felt healthier, but I was still eating, well, like a pig. Changing your life can be difficult, and I really don’t think that I was ready for a complete diet change last year. But after a year of trying to improve my health and fitness, improving my diet seemed like the natural next step.
One of the changes we have made has been to our breakfast routine. Before, a typical breakfast was cold cereal and fried or scrambled eggs. Sometimes I would change it up with biscuits and gravy, or my husband would make pancakes or waffles, or even cake. Now that we’re focusing on a mostly plant-based, mostly whole food diet, breakfast has changed quite a bit!
One of our favorite breakfasts is actually something we ate occasionally before our diet change – oatmeal. This basic has been a family favorite for years, though we didn’t eat it all that often, usually preferring more “convenient” cold cereal. Now we have some form of cooked grain several mornings a week, and I’m having a great time with trying new flavors and new ways of adding nutrition to this already-super-healthy meal.
This morning’s oatmeal was inspired by a blog that I love to read, Chocolate Covered Katie. She makes delicious desserts out of healthy ingredients. Her recipe for Sugar Cookie Oatmeal, flavored by infusing the water and milk with sugar cookie teabags, inspired me to try infusing our oatmeal with berry-flavored herbal tea.
I used a combination of raspberry, wild berry, and blueberry. With the number of teabags I used, the flavor was subtle, almost barely there. The kids and I enjoyed the new taste to our oatmeal, though next time I might try using a couple more teabags to get a slightly stronger flavor infusion.
Berry Tea-Infused Oatmeal
4 cups water
1 cup milk of choice (this can be made vegan using almond or soy milk, we used regular cow’s milk)
1/4 tsp. salt
4-6 bags berry-flavored herbal tea
3 cups rolled oats
Sweetener of choice (we like honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar)
Combine water, milk, salt, and teabags in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Be careful to avoid boiling over, as the tea will cause foaming. Once the mixture is boiling, remove teabags and set aside.
Stir in oats and lower heat. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until desired texture is reached. When the teabags have cooled enough to be handled, and while the oats are still cooking, wring out the teabags over the oats to get as much flavor as possible into the oatmeal.
Serve in individual bowls. Top each serving with 1-2 tsp. sweetener, and additional milk as desired.