Whipping up quick, nutritious, and drool-worthy breakfast options is one of mom’s many talents. From omelets to smoothies (and everything in between), moms are often hunting for delicious and easy breakfast ideas for both themselves and their families. Therefore, it’s usually not too long before the oatmeal vs. granola debate enters the conversation.
If you’re looking for healthy breakfast options for moms and kids alike, oatmeal and granola are two of the best. However, which one is better for you and your family? The short answer is both granola and oatmeal are phenomenal additions to your healthy breakfast rotation. Keep scrolling and we’ll tell you why.
What is Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is a hot breakfast dish that is beloved by nutritionists–and for good reason! It’s derived from an ancient cereal grain, and it’s gluten-free. And while oatmeal is most often eaten for breakfast, some people like to use it to top off meals or snacks throughout the day.
This porridge-like dish is consumed in five different forms. From least processed to most, those include:
- Oat groats
- Steel-cut oats
- Scottish oats
- Rolled or old-fashioned oats
- Quick or instant oatmeal
Benefits of Oatmeal
Oatmeal is nutrient-rich, and it has more protein than other types of whole grains. Additionally, it’s chock-full of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. As a result, there are quite a few health benefits of oatmeal:
- Lowers cholesterol. Studies reveal that there is a direct correlation between consuming oatmeal (specifically beta-glucan) and lower cholesterol levels.
- Supports gut health. The beta-glucan fiber found in oatmeal promotes the regular emptying of the bowels and prevents constipation. Additionally, oatmeal supports the development of healthy gut bacteria, which minimizes the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other gut problems.
- Boosts heart health. We mentioned that oats are full of antioxidants. However, these aren’t just any antioxidants. The kind found in oats — called avenanthramides — isn’t present in any other grains. Avenanthramides also have anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative properties, which supports cardiovascular health. (Avenanthramides also double as a soothing agent–consuming them can help relieve itch and irritation on the skin.)
- Controls blood sugar. Because oats contain soluble fiber, they prevent your blood sugar from spiking after a meal. Additionally, the glycemic load of less-processed oats is low-to-medium, making them suitable carbohydrates for people with diabetes.
- Supports weight loss. Fiber-rich foods create that feeling of satisfaction, making it less likely for people to overindulge. Specifically, beta-glucan makes the contents of the intestines viscous, which helps people feel fuller for longer.
What is Granola?
Most of us know granola as that magical, toasted, crunchy mixture of rolled oats, crushed nuts, and honey. And just like oatmeal, people often eat granola for breakfast, as a midday snack, atop yogurt or smoothie bowls, or mixed into baked goods.
Benefits of Granola
While every batch of granola has a different nutritional value, healthy granola has plenty of benefits:
- Aids in appetite control. Granola is full of fiber and protein, which helps you feel fuller for longer.
- Lowers cholesterol. As we mentioned, oats are a great source of beta-glucan, which minimizes total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
- Reduces blood sugar. Granola is often composed of whole grains, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds, which all help control blood sugar levels.
- Supports gut health. As you probably remember, oats support the development of healthy gut bacteria.
- Contains ample antioxidants. Ingredients like coconut flakes, chia seeds, and Brazil nuts (which are often found in granola) are terrific sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants like gallic acid, quercetin, selenium, and vitamin E.
- Has plenty of healthy fats. Nuts, dark chocolate, and coconut flakes are all delicious examples of healthy fats. (And granola often has them all.)
Healthy Oatmeal Breakfast Options
On the hunt for mom’s healthy breakfast recipes? Check out these drool-worthy oatmeal dishes:
Easy, 5-Minute Oatmeal Recipe (with Toppings)
Often, the reason we debate oatmeal vs. granola for busy moms is because we’re looking for a delicious, wholesome breakfast that we can whip up while the coffee is brewing. And that’s precisely where this easy, 5-minute oatmeal recipe comes in. Here’s how to make it:
1. Combine 1 cup rolled oats, 2 cups of your milk of choice, 1 mashed banana, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Place over medium-high heat.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low. Continually stir for 3-5 minutes as the oatmeal thickens.
3. Once the oatmeal has thickened to your liking, remove it from the heat and serve immediately. Top it off with coconut flakes, brown sugar, peanut butter, and granola.
Overnight oats are a delicious spin on the traditional oatmeal dish–and a breakfast the whole family will love. While you technically only need rolled oats and milk of choice, the beauty of this dish is that it can be as simple or as creative as you’d like.
Our go-to overnight oats combination uses old-fashioned oats, your milk of choice, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and maple syrup. Simply combine all the ingredients in a Mason jar and stash it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, top it off with coconut flakes, homemade granola, and fresh berries, and enjoy.
Healthy Granola Breakfast Options
Leaning toward the latter in the oatmeal vs. granola debate? Here are some phenomenal healthy granola recipes to try:
Oftentimes, store-bought granola is full of added sugars, syrups, and preservatives. That’s why we love making our own healthy granola at home. Here’s how:
1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of old-fashioned oats, 1 cup of mixed nuts or seeds, 1 tsp of sea salt, ½ tsp of cinnamon, and 1 cup of dried berries.
3. In another bowl, combine ½ cup pure maple syrup, ½ cup melted coconut oil, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Then, stir to combine.
4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Spread the granola mixture evenly on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown (this usually takes about 45 minutes). Give it a stir about halfway through to ensure it cooks evenly. Once it’s cooled off, store it in an airtight container at room temperature, and it’ll keep for up to two weeks.
Yogurt and granola is a timeless combination that can be enjoyed any time of the day. And not only are yogurt parfaits wildly simple to throw together, but they’re ultra-nutritious when paired with fresh berries and granola.
To make your own, simply use your favorite yogurt and cream cheese as a base, then add fresh fruit like kiwi, bananas, and berries. Next, add a layer of homemade granola (see above) and top it off with a drizzle of honey and a dash of cinnamon.
Other Healthy Breakfast Options For Busy Moms
Want to mix up the oatmeal vs. granola rotation? Here are some healthy breakfast ideas to help you do just that:
Smoothies are a refreshing and satisfying breakfast that can be made well in advance. Since produce freezes well, pre-portioned smoothie bags can live in your freezer for months on end. All you need to do is chop up your produce, divvy it into baggies, and let it freeze. In the morning, dump a bag into your blender, add the fixings (like milk, protein powder, chia seeds, etc.), and voila!
Egg bites are another breakfast dish beloved by busy moms. Because this protein-packed breakfast is baked in large batches, it’s ideal for grabbing and going throughout the week. And because it’s customizable, it caters to every set of taste buds. Simply select your meat, cheese, and veggies of choice; mix them in with scrambled eggs; pour the mixture into a mini muffin tin; and bake the bites for 5-10 minutes, depending on how well you like your eggs cooked.
Disclaimer: All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any health or nutritional information obtained is accurate.