The #1 Way to Make Oatmeal When You Have Fruit to Use Up, According to a Dietitian

It’s easy to make, versatile and super nutritious.

the #1 way to make oatmeal when you have fruit to use up, according to a dietitian

Jason Donnelly

Reviewed by Dietitian Maria Laura Haddad-Garcia

Welcome to Thrifty. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Jessica Ball keeps it real on how to grocery shop on a budget, make healthy meals for one or two, and make Earth-friendly choices without overhauling your entire life.

I love having fruit on hand for several reasons. It’s super versatile, packed with fiber and antioxidants and lends itself well to dishes like smoothies, jams, desserts and more. Typically I’ll turn to fruit anytime I’m in the mood for something sweet, whether it’s an afternoon pick-me-up or evening treat. I stock up on my weekly grocery shop and I try to shop the sales on fresh and frozen produce to help me get more for my money. But one of the biggest downsides of picking up ample fruit is that it doesn’t last very long, especially if it’s fresh. When I have a lot of fruit I need to use ASAP, I make a big batch of baked oats.

Making baked oats is as simple as it sounds: mix your wet and dry ingredients together, transfer the mix to a baking dish and cook until set. Baked oats usually take around 30 to 45 minutes at 375℉, depending on your oven and the ingredients you choose. It’s make-ahead nature makes it perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast when mornings are busy. And you can keep them in the fridge for the week you make them or store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Plus, it’s super adaptable to your taste preferences. One of my go-to recipes is my Apple-Pie Baked Oats, but blueberries, peaches and more can also be a great fit. Fresh, frozen and dried fruit can all be added to baked oats, so get creative with what you have on hand and want to use up. I even made baked oats with leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, which not only was delicious but helped me get through all I had left.

Beyond its simplicity and versatility, there are many other reasons to love baked oats. Oats are a great source of fiber and, when paired with protein sources like milk, yogurt, nuts or seeds, baked oatmeal makes a breakfast that keeps me full for hours. The specific type of fiber oats contain (called beta-glucan) has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels and support a healthier heart. They provide energy that’s more slowly and consistently absorbed in our bodies, which can help keep blood sugar levels more consistent, (this is especially helpful for those with insulin resistance or diabetes). Plus, I love adding warm spices like cinnamon for flavor and even more blood-sugar-lowering benefits.

Baked oats are a staple of my breakfast routine, and I especially turn to them when I want to use up a lot of fruit. They’re delicious, easy to make and can be adjusted to whatever I have on hand or what I am in the mood for. Not to mention, they help me maintain a healthier heart, stable blood sugar levels and keep me feeling full for longer. If you have some fruit to use up and a box of oats in your pantry, I hope you give them a try.

Up Next: I’m a Dietitian & These Are 12 Recipes I Make with a Box of Oats

Read the original article on Eating Well.

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