A bowl of stick-to-your-ribs oatmeal seems like one of the best breakfasts for filling you up and keeping you full to help you lose weight, but if you're not careful, that bowl of warm, sweet, yummy goodness can be a major sugar bomb.
According to the American Heart Association, most women should be consuming no more than 24 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugar per day. Generous drizzles of honey or maple syrup or spoonfuls of brown sugar can really up the added sugar — you're looking at over 20 grams plus tons of nutrient-lacking calories. Here are some ways to cut added sugar from your oats without feeling like you're eating a bowl of wet cardboard.
- DIY instead of buy: Two packets of Quaker Oats Organic Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal adds up to 300 calories and 24 grams of sugar, and that's not including any extra toppings! And if you look at the ingredients, there's only organic sugar listed — there's no actual real maple syrup!
In order to be in control of the amount of sugar you're spooning up, use plain oats and then measure out the sweetener of your choice. Honey and maple syrup are great natural choices since they offer some nutrients and can steady blood sugar levels since they're low in the glycemic index chart. Just keep in mind that one tablespoon of maple syrup is 54 calories and 12 grams of sugar, so make sure you measure!
- Unsweetened dairy-free milk: If you like cooking your oats in soy milk or almond milk, go for unsweetened varieties. You'll save eight or more grams of sugar.
- Mashed banana: Skip the added sugar altogether and mash half a banana into your oatmeal. It adds a natural sweetness for only seven grams of sugar, a nice creamy texture, and some fiber and potassium.
- No-sugar jam: Stir in a tablespoon of unsweetened strawberry jam and it'll add seven grams of sugar, which is much less than sweetened varieties.
- Frozen blueberries: After cooking up your oatmeal, add one-quarter cup of unsweetened frozen blueberries instead of sugar. That change only adds 3.3 grams of sugar.
- Fresh fruit: Add low-sugar fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
- Cinnamon: Sprinkling a little of this warming spice in your bowl of oats adds a lot of flavour, decreasing the need for added sweeteners.
- Vanilla: Just like cinnamon, a little vanilla will go a long way in flavouring your oats. Half a teaspoon is almost always enough.