I don't know about you, but my number one anxiety with regards to daycare (with quality naps coming in at a close second!) is that I won't be controlling what and often my 1 year old eats for the time that he's there. Which means providing him with a very filling and nutritional breakfast is a top priority.
I've been sneaking vegetables into his oatmeal for a long time with great success, so I thought I'd share some of our favorite flavor combinations. I often share breakfast with him, and as an added bonus, I personally find that oatmeal increases milk production!
I don't usually follow the recipes as indicated in the links below. I personally always use almond milk, omit any form of sugar and omit nuts and seeds depending on the size since they are possible choking hazards. Better yet, I lazily make it all on the stove top so I only have one pot to clean. I alternate between using rolled oats and steel cut oats. I find the consistency of oats which aren't instant or baby cereal makes it easier for little hands to grasp and pick up chunks to eat. I'm not personally worried about the iron supplementation lacking from the oatmeal I opt for, because I always make a point of providing a large variety of other vegan iron sources such as lentils, beans and leafy greens. I've also recently started including some recipes that use natural cocoa powder, even though it contains some caffeine, since it also contains a high percentage of iron.
Here are the three easy ways I cook oatmeal with vegetables:
- I grate them in the food processor or by hand, then fry them with the spices in coconut oil (or any oil) before adding the oatmeal and almond milk and cooking according to package directions.
- I cut them into chunks, steam them in the covered pot with the spices and a bit of water, then puree (using an immersion blender) prior to adding and cooking in the oatmeal in the same pot.
- I add pre-made puree to the pot after cooking the oats with almond milk and spices.
I store just enough in the refrigerator to last me 3-4 mornings. The rest I freeze in mason jars in amounts that are good for 2-3 breakfasts in a row. I then thaw them overnight and warm up a portion in the microwave for serving.
Top Vegetables to Sneak into Oatmeal
This is our favorite go to easy breakfast. I often grate a large amount of carrot in the food processor and store it in the refrigerator to toss into all sorts of recipes. When I need a quick breakfast, I soften it in coconut oil with grated fresh ginger, cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg and cloves.
My inspiration for this came from Oh She Glows's Heavenly Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal.
Like with carrot, I always keep grated zucchini on hand for pasta sauces and chili. Zucchini has very little flavor of its own, so its perfect to mix into oatmeal with interesting spices. I tend to make it with cinnamon and nutmeg, as inspired by this Zucchini Oatmeal with Blackberry Syrup recipe. If you search online for oatmeal recipes using zucchini, you'll find a surprising amount, including a few with chocolate that you may want to save for yourself.
I love this as an option because pureed pumpkin with no added sugar or salt is readily available in every supermarket. As you've probably already guessed, it makes for wonderful Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. I love that this recipe suggests adding in blueberries. Just make sure they are itty bitty or cut them in half. We buy tiny organic frozen blueberries that are a big hit. If my son is unhappy for any reason, I just thaw and serve. Happiness guaranteed!
If your son loves curry and spices as mine does, you might want to try a different variation, Curried Pumpkin Basil Oats.
4. Sweet Potato
This is one of my personal favorites. I either use previously roasted sweet potatoes or steam and puree them before adding in the oatmeal to cook. This recipe by the minimalist baker is simply delicious!
Completely unexpected, but Wyatt loves mushrooms. I can fry them in coconut oil and serve them straight, but served in oatmeal, a recipe such as Oatmeal with Sauteed Mushrooms, Onion, and Thyme is a great way to sneak in some additional leafy greens.
Leafy greens are a challenge to get into a one year old's diet, so any way to sneak them in (see the above mushroom recipe as well!) is awesome. This Green Monster recipe cleverly disguises spinach in a tasty green oatmeal bowl perfectly suited to breakfast.
Looking for other great inspiration to turn oatmeal into a household favorite? Take a peak at The Oatmeal Artist, a blog dedicated to diverse and creative recipes made with oatmeal. You can also head on over to my Vegetable Oatmeal Pinterest Board for these and other great nutritious oatmeal recipes.