Oatmeal Breakfast Ideas When You're Eating for Two

Oatmeal is a great way to give your breakfast a healthy upgrade when you're expecting. Here's why, plus 12 yummy things to mix in to make it even tastier.

Eating right is especially important during pregnancy as your growing baby gets their nutrients from what you eat. A healthy and great-tasting way to start the day is with a satisfying bowl of oatmeal. Packed with soluble fiber, nutrients, and whole-grain carbohydrates, oatmeal is a simple and delicious meal that will boost your health and energy while you're expecting—from your first trimester to after the baby arrives. It's a yummy breakfast for you and your future toddler, too!

If you're new to oatmeal, now's the time to give this breakfast staple a try. Already an oatmeal fan? Try our fun ideas for easy add-ins to keep things interesting and even more nutritious. Mixing in sweet or savory bonus ingredients is a great way to introduce more fiber, vitamins, healthy fats, and omegas into your bowl. Learn more about the benefits of adding oatmeal to your prenatal diet.

Why Is Oatmeal Good for You?

Oatmeal is a particularly nutritious choice for breakfast. But it can also be a great snack or small meal at any time of the day. Here are some of the many health benefits (including for your baby) of making yourself a bowl.

Lower cholesterol and better heart health

Research shows that eating more dietary fiber (such as found in a serving of oatmeal) can lower overall cholesterol and improve heart health. Specifically, oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan that studies show reduces levels of bad cholesterol, stimulates the immune system, and lessens the likelihood (or severity) of obesity and diabetes. Additionally, oatmeal also contains lignans, a plant chemical that has been found to prevent heart disease.

Stabilize blood sugar

Because oatmeal is so rich in fiber and it's a whole-grain food, research shows that eating it will help help to regulate your blood sugar level. This helps prevent the mid-morning crash that comes from eating refined sugars and processed carbs found in traditional breakfast cereals.

Lower risk of diabetes

Eating more whole grains also lowers your risk for several diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. A great source of iron and B vitamins, oatmeal also contains high amounts of magnesium. The mineral helps your body properly use glucose and secrete insulin. Studies have shown a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes in people who regularly eat a magnesium-rich diet high in whole grains like oatmeal.

Is Instant, Old-Fashioned, or Steel-Cut Best?

The USDA database shows that instant oatmeal has the same nutritional profile as old-fashioned oats. The difference lies in the glycemic index (or how quickly a food increases your blood sugar within a 2-hour period).

Because instant oatmeal has been processed to cook more quickly, it's also broken down and digested more quickly by your body, giving it a higher glycemic index. So, it's best to avoid prepackaged/flavored instant oatmeal that may be high in sodium and sugar. If you do choose instant go for plain and add a little healthy fat or protein. That way it's more nutrient-dense and you stay satisfied longer.

The best appetite-satisfying options are old-fashioned oats or steel-cut oats. Both can be prepared in large batches and quickly reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave as needed.

If you find regular oatmeal too mushy, steel-cut oats may be a great choice for you. Popular in Scotland and Ireland, they're made from whole grain groats (vs. flattened or rolled oats in old-fashioned oats) that have been cut into pieces.

This gives them an appealing chewy texture when cooked. Both old-fashioned and steel-cut oats will keep up to a week in the fridge and are excellent reheated. Just stir in a little low-fat milk, almond milk, or soy milk to thin it out and give it a creamy texture.

What Can I Add Into My Oatmeal?

Now that you know why oatmeal is so amazing and have a better sense of which variety is for you, try some of these easy mix-ins to keep your taste buds happy while building a better breakfast for you and your baby. Or use this list to help inspire your own unique concoction.

Tropical Mango-Coconut: Chopped fresh mango, shredded coconut, pinch cardamom, and chopped cashews

Orange-Ginger: Orange marmalade and minced fresh ginger, topped with almonds and chopped candied ginger

Pumpkin Pie: Canned pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg

Peaches & Cream: Chopped fresh or frozen peaches, and vanilla yogurt

Nutty Banana: Creamy peanut butter, mashed banana, and chopped peanuts

Blueberry Muffin: Fresh or frozen blueberries, molasses, and cinnamon, topped with a little granola

PB&J: Creamy peanut butter and chopped strawberries (or other berries), topped with a dab of all-fruit strawberry jam

Honey-Apricot: Chopped dried apricots, a drizzle of honey, pinch nutmeg, and toasted almonds

Pecan-Apple Pie: Diced peeled fresh apple (or chunky applesauce), cinnamon, and chopped pecans

Maple-Fig: Chopped dried or fresh figs, maple syrup, and chopped walnuts, topped with plain Greek yogurt

Raspberry-Almond: Almond butter, fresh or frozen raspberries, and a dab of all-fruit raspberry jam

Savory Cheddar-Scallion: Tired of sweet options? Treat oatmeal like grits and stir in some shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped scallions, topped with sour cream or a poached egg

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