Sick of eating cereal and ramen for lunch and dinner? Want to spend less money eating out and finally start cooking for yourself? Put down that frozen pizza, because HC’s Health Editor, Sammie Levin, is here to share her daily eats so you can get ideas for healthy, satisfying meals that are easy enough for any time-strapped collegiette to make. After you read Collegiette Eats, your taste buds, wallet and waistline will thank you.
That may look like regular old oatmeal, but it's not. It's oatmeal... minus the oats! How? Why? Is this an April Fools' joke? Let me explain.
I love oatmeal so much that I pretty much have it every morning. And there's nothing wrong with that, because my bowl of morning oats has a healthy balance of fiber, protein and healthy fats. But because I have it so often, sometimes I need to switch it up a little so that I don't get sick of it. The other day, I was searching around for alternatives to oatmeal and I came across a recipe for oatmeal minus the oats on the blog Carrots 'N' Cake. I was intrigued - a dish that looks and tastes like oatmeal, but isn't oatmeal? How could it be?
The recipe uses mashed banana and egg whites instead of oats. When cooked in a pot on a stove top, the banana and egg whites fluff up into an oat-like consistency. Tina, the blogger behind Carrots 'N' Cake, described the texture as "oatmeal-like, but not as creamy and a little bit slimy," like "really light and fluffy scrambled egg whites." I prepared the oatless oats exactly as Tina outlined in the post (besides the walnuts, which I omitted because I didn't have any), and I agree with her description. It was definitely light and fluffy. It does taste slighty egg-y, but it has a sweetness to it from the vanilla, cinnamon and banana. I kind of thought it tasted like bread pudding, which I absolutely love. I topped mine with a spoonful of almond butter, just as I do with my regular oats.
I really liked this recipe a lot, but it doesn't top good, old-fashioned oats for me. Texture-wise, I prefer the denser, creamier consistency of oats. But one advantage these oatless oats have over regular oatmeal is more protein. Because it uses egg whites in place of a grain, the oatless oats have three times as much protein as a half cup of rolled oats (15 grams compared to five grams). That makes it an especially good breakfast option because it ensures that your stomach won't be grumbling an hour later.
This won't be replacing my morning bowl of oats, but I will for sure make it again every so often as an alternative. Interested in going oatless? Check out the recipe below.
- 1-2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 banana, mashed
- 3/4 cup liquid egg whites (or 3 egg whites)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (add more if desired)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Toppings of your choice
- Whisk together egg whites and almond milk and then stir in walnuts, ground flax, banana, vanilla extract and cinnamon; blend well.
- In a medium saucepan, warm the mixture on the stove, stirring frequently, until the “oatmeal” reaches the desired consistency; this should only take a few minutes.
- Top with berries, nut butter, seeds or whatever else your heart desires.
I had somewhat of a weird lunch, not based off of any recipe but just off of a mix of ingredients I threw together. I had cooked quinoa in the fridge from a big batch I made a few days ago, so I decided to use it up. I microwaved a sweet potato for five to seven minutes until soft, mashed it up and then combined it with the quinoa. I added shredded carrots and a scoop of plain Greek yogurt to the mix and sprinkled some pumpkin pie spice on top for sweetness. Even though it sounds and looks bizarre, this bowl of randomness actually ended up tasting pretty good. It kind of reminded me of pumpkin oatmeal.
For dinner, I had spaghetti squash, but I prepared it differently than I usually make it. I found a perfectly ripe avocado in my kitchen, which is rare because I tend to forget about my avocados until they are brown and disgusting, so instead of marinara sauce, I topped my squash strands with mashed avocado. Because it's naturally so rich and creamy, avocado makes for a great pasta sauce or a spread on toast. Just like butter, but better for you!
I mashed up one small avocado and mixed it with one cup of spaghetti squash and a half cup of garbanzo beans, and then topped it with a little bit of salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. I loved this combination. Sometimes the simplest dinners are the most satisfying ones.