Oats Affair: How to make tasty oats meal every day?

Oats, my favourite breakfast food. Ironically now, everything with oats – I will love it!

I was often told about how oats were boring, plain and tasteless food. But I bet to differ that! Oats is one of the most versatile food in the world. From soften overnight oats, oat milk, oat cookies, oat loaf, granola, oat smoothie bowl, baked oat cake and the list goes on! I will be sharing some of my favourite recipes and show how to make tasty oats breakfast everyday!

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Eating well doesn’t mean tasteless food, that is my philosophy. Thinking back, I wonder when I started enjoying oats so much. I guess it was the time when overnight oats are trending a few years back, pretty jars and oats photos are everywhere on the Internet. Being a recipe hunter – I sourced for many healthy, interesting and ‘look-yummy-kind’ of oats breakfast recipes and immediately, oats became my staple food for breakfast. A healthy and hearty breakfast within minutes, why not?

1. Overnight Oats

For overnight oats, I start with the 3 most basic ingredients;

  1. Rolled Oat Flakes
  2. Greek Yoghurt
  3. Unsweetened Soy Milk (or any milk of your choice)

First, place oat flakes in a glass container and pour in milk till the brim that covers. Then, mix in desired amount of yoghurt to thicken up texture – it depends on the amount of oat flakes used. Leave them in the fridge overnight or at least 4 hours to soften oats. That’s it! Before serving them, do add in your favourite toppings. I like adding chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut flakes, cocoa nibs, nuts, nut butters and fruits! Banana, blueberries, strawberries and kiwis are fruits most commonly used in my recipes. Depending on availability, it is wise to switch around fruits that are in season by doing so you will only get the freshest and they probably cost lesser.

10615574_10152810880117746_5676650958699878614_nAlmond Butter, Blackberries, Cocao Nibs and Mango

10407497_10152660419237746_8196944951805400051_nBlueberries, Strawberries and Peanut Butter

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Blueberries, Coconut flakes, Chia Seeds and Strawberries

The choices of ingredients used plays a huge role for a good breakfast. I use greek yoghurt and unsweetened soy milk for it’s high protein and low-fat content as compared to sweetened flavoured yoghurt/milk which contain added sugar. By doing so, I can reduce my sugar and calorie intake yet still enjoy the perfect oats breakfast with my favourite fruits and nuts! Do also note that overnight oats should be consumed within 3 days of making as to maintain freshness of oats, yoghurt and milk.

Read more on : Greek Yoghurt vs. Regular Yoghurt

This breakfast choice save me much time before the mad morning rush everyday. Digging in to a cold hearty breakfast packed with fiber, vitamins, proteins and nutrients which does not require cooking at all. How amazing is that! Also, have fun playing around with portion sizes as it took me a while on varying the amount of oats, milk and yoghurt to finally getting my favourite combination. Ahh…..My perfect post-workout fuel ♡

What else can you do with Oats?

2. Yoghurt Fruit Parfait – Layers and more layers! That’s how a parfait looks like. Using almost similar ingredients in the overnight oats recipe substracting the milk, parfait contain more fruits than oats! Good to go as a mid-afternoon snack, simply layer your favourite fruits, toppings, yoghurt, honey and oat flakes. Repeat steps. That’s it!

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3. Oat Milk Drink oats! Blending my own Oat Milk bring ease as it is free from added additives or preservatives. Naturally sweet and energy boosting, oat milk seems to be a great post-workout drink replenishing carbohydrates, minerals and protein lost during exercise. Moreover, it’s so simple to do!

(Recipe can be found on my previous post: Homemade Oat Milk)

10614324_10152438483532746_7140086137043875159_n4. Oat Smoothie Bowl – My “throw-in-everything and blend” breakfast! Days when I am too lazy to chew my food, oat smoothie bowl is my best friend. Place all the ingredients (usually fruits, milk, vegetables and oats) into the blender and blend it high for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth and top it with your choice of toppings.

(Recipes can be found on my previous post: Kale Smoothie Oat Bowl and Pumpkin and Banana Smoothie Oat Bowl)

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Pumpkin and Banana Oat Bowl topped with Banana Coins, Chia seeds and Dried Fruits

Green

Kale Smoothie Oat Bowl topped with Coconut Flakes and Chia Seeds

10676124_10152713938727746_7665932865345643370_nHoney Papaya & Banana Smoothie Oat Bowl with Persimmon, Coconut Flakes, Flax Seeds, Cocoa Nibs and Almonds

10423689_10152689503692746_5036815142955920960_nBlack Sesame Steel Cut Oatmeal with Cocoa Nibs and Raw Almonds

5. Cooked Oatmeal with Egg – When mum is not home and my fridge went into a famine. Protein loading is not impossible and all you need is oat flakes and an egg! Boil oat flakes for about 8 – 10 minutes and crack an egg and stir together. Optional, add extra honey or nut butter to it for a more flavourful taste! Simplicity is sometimes a good thing afterall as this is one of the most cost-friendly recipe around!

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6. Healthy Oatmeal Banana Bread – My favourite homemade bread in the world! With zero sugar and only natural ingredients, it’s absolutely healthy and filling! Homemade bread are chunkier comparing to conventional packaged bread which is not filling and contain many food colourings, preservatives and other addictives that I can’t even pronouce. Moreover, it is not that difficult afterall. Try it!

(Recipe can be found on: Stayfitandtravel: Healthy Oatmeal Banana Bread)

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Oatmeal Banana Bread with Almond and Cashew Butter with Banana and Cocoa Nibs

7. Baked Oats with Banana and Raisins – With it’s name, this is basically oats baked with fruits, dried fruits and egg! Baked oats tastes like oat pie, which is crispy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside. Best served with honey or pair it with a cup of coffee during tea break!

(Recipe can be found on: Stayfitandtravel: Homemade Banana and Cranberry Baked Oats)10898121_10152698926042746_3721092541210432994_n

Oatmeals are never boring. All it takes is a little effort and preparation for a wholesome healthy breakfast. Anyhow better than a greasy buttery bun at the confectionary or the fried bee-hoon from the coffeshop. Studies shown that eating oats keeps you full longer as soluble fiber in oatmeal absorbs a considerable amount of water which significantly slows down your digestive process. Moreover, oatmeal contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates and iron.

Treat your body better by starting your day with this nutritional superstar! Enjoy! ♥

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My favourite breakfast recipes

Who else agree that breakfast is the best meal of the day?! Well, I do! I love breakfast most and look forward to them every time I finish my morning workout session. I vary my breakfast choices from oatmeal, fruit/tofu/oat smoothies, eggs toast, and nut butter spread on whole-grains and fruits salad. Also, I get much inspiration from my Ig feeds from people like @stayfitandtravel@funkyfitnessfoods and many other health foodie gurus! It is always interesting to try out a new breakfast recipe and totally get hooked on it. By doing so, I expand my knowledge on healthy eating and learn to prepare healthy food for my subsequent meals as well.

            Do you know the benefits of eating breakfast?

1. Energy Boost to Start the Day

Everyone should start their day off right by eating as many vitamins and other nutrients as possible. The great thing about breakfast is there are so many common breakfast foods that can be considered super-foods because of their nutrition value:

  • Eggs: Including an egg or two for breakfast may require a few extra minutes of preparation time, but the potential health benefits make them worth cooking and eating. Not only are eggs packed with protein and amino acids, they are also one of the few, significant sources of vitamin D, which is important for absorbing calcium for stronger bones.
  • Whole grains: Whether you are taking them in the form of bread, cereal or oatmeal, breakfast is one of the best times to enjoy whole grains in your meal. This super-food is a great source of fiber, which is essential for a healthy heart and digestive tract, and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
  • Vitamin C: You can hit your daily intake of vitamin C in your very first meal of the day, whether it’s in the form of a juice or solid fruit. Oranges, grapefruits and apples are common fruits on the breakfast table.

2. Breakfast Helps Reduce Morning Crankiness

Imagine going without food for 8 to 12 hours during the day; you probably won’t be the most approachable person in the office or classroom. Do yourself, your classmates and your co-workers a favor by eating breakfast to help you deal with any morning moodiness and stress.

3. Metabolism Boost

When you sleep, your metabolism tends to slow down. The only way to jump start your metabolism for the day is to start off right with a healthy breakfast. This will allow your body to start burning through calories from the very beginning of the day, rather than in the middle of it after you’ve eaten lunch.

Read more on : Benefits of eating breakfast

My recent breakfast try-outs;

1. Pumpkin and Banana Smoothie Oat Bowl (Inspired from @stayfitandtravel)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Slice of Pumpkin (Steamed and puree)
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 3/4 cup of Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup of Almond Milk

TOPPINGS

  • Chia Seeds
  • Banana Slices
  • Dried fruits

DIRECTIONS:

Place all the ingredients into the blender and blend it high for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth. Pour pumpkin smoothie mix into a bowl and top it with your choice of toppings. This must be one of my favourite recipes – it is really simple and easy to make!


2. Overnight oats topped with Organic Almond Butter, Rock Melon and Cocoa Nibs

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup of Rolled Oats
  • 4 tablespoon of Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 cup of Oat Milk or any milk of your desired choice
  • Honey (Optional)

TOPPINGS

  • Homemade Almond Butter
  • Rock Melon, diced
  • Chia Seeds
  • Raw Unsweetened Cocoa Nibs

DIRECTIONS:

Place all the ingredients into a jar/bowl and mixed them thoroughly. Add in homemade almond butter (otherwise, any other nut butter), chia seeds and cocoa nibs together. Close lid and leave it in fridge overnight. Rolled oats should be soft after soaking in milk and yoghurt (at least for 4 hours). Topped the overnight oats with fresh fruits of your choices and enjoy!


I usually prepare oiaj – oats in a jar, the night before consuming them. As leaving them in the fridge overnight will soften oats further. This breakfast choice save me much time before the mad morning rush everyday. Do also play around with the portions, it took me a lot on varying the amount of oats, milk, yoghurt and fruits to finally getting my favourite combination. I also use Greek yoghurt for it’s high protein and low fat content as compared to sweetened flavoured yoghurts which is full of sugars. A cold yet hearty healthy breakfast packed with fiber, vitamins and nutrients in a jar which does not require cooking at all. How amazing!

*Do also note that overnight oats should be consumed within 3 days of making as to maintain freshness of oats and milk.*

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do! ♡

Working out and eating well

I think I found my life passion and that is fitness. As I progressively work on my body, I have seen many positive changes and how I love being soaked in sweat after a tough workout. Pushing further though it seems impossible to do so, and achieving what I previously thought I wouldn’t at all. Lifting that dumbbell or dropping for another push up doesn’t seems as easy as it possibly would after some kick-ass resistance circuits. Seriously, the start was never easy.

I don’t know how to explain this feeling of mine but I thought the sense of achievement and empowerment from working out is not what money can bring about, but something stronger mentally. The mind is the trigger point of an empowered person, vice versa, a lazy person. People often say they have no time because they are busy with work/family/friends/self, but who’s not? We all need to prioritize what is most important to us. If health is, then why not work harder and eat better?

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Another point to note is that fitness is not just about working out but also eating well. Proper nourishment for the body is essential and in fact, more important than exercising.

                                     Do you know the 70/30 rule?

70% – Food and 30% – Exercise. This also means that no amount of exercise can ever make up for a poor diet. The truth is that no matter how many times in a week you have exercised, it will all count for absolutely nothing if you are not paying attention to your diet. The only way to lose flab is to reduce intake for fat, oil, salt and sugar. In return, to fuel our body with fresh vegetables, fruits and lean protein source. This is because you cannot convert fat into muscle or vice-versa. Therefore doing stomach exercises without changing your diet may well make your stomach look bigger as you could be building some muscles underneath the fat. (Read more)

Personally, I am reducing my frequency eating out and preparing my own meals as much as possible. Meal preparation is definitely not an easy task as it is time consuming and troublesome. But it will be worth it as I know what kind of food is going into my body – No MSG, Less or No Sodium, Less or No Oil lastly, Clean Produce (Washed Vegetables, Fresh Meat). Having control of the taste, cooking method and enjoying the process of nourishment. I love cooking too! Heh.

Step-by-Step for Meal Preparation (My kind of menu)

  1. Stock up on food source
  • Protein – Eggs, Tofu, Chicken Breast Meat, Lean Beef, Lean Pork, Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Cod, Threadfin), Seafood (Prawn)
  • Dairy/Non-Dairy – Oat/Soy/Rice Milk, Skim Milk, Chocolate Milk, Low Fat Yoghurt
  • Green Vegetables – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lady Fingers, Spinach, any kind will do
  • Fruits – Tomato, Apples, Avocado, Berries, Banana, Grapes, Kiwi, Melons, Pineapple, Pears
  • Spices – Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Garlic, Onions (my favourite!)
  • Fats – Nuts (Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Macadamia), Nut Butter, Olive Oil, Canola Oil
  • Carbohydrates – Rolled Oats, Museli, Brown Rice, Red Rice, White Rice, Whole Grain Bread, Wholemeal Pasta, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Corn, Vermicelli, Mee Sua.

(Some of my breakfast photos)1924731_10152527708712746_3173290777297229456_n10464296_10152544185272746_4763243704541580535_n10624829_10152436106167746_5224175178760239460_n

Have a mixture of food source and study your portion size. I usually have a mix of everything in my meals. A typical day of breakfast – Overnight Oats with fruits or nuts topping/ Blended juice or smoothie, lunch will be vegetables fish noodle soup or tuna sandwiches, Dinner will be steamed salmon, stir fry vegetables and egg.

Snack-in-between: Handful of Nuts/ Fruit/ Cup of Milk

  1. Cooking Method:
  • Boiling
  • Steaming (My favourite method, hassle free and easy to clean!)
  • Stir-frying
  • Roasting

Decide on your favourite recipe and try them! Do reduce the usage of oil, salt, seasonings and sugar. Throw in some healthy spices instead of heavily sodium loaded seasonings, which better enhance the taste with added nutrition!

  1. Serve them! Otherwise, place them into a container and fridge them for tomorrow’s consumption.

Healthy food can taste great too! Banish that wrongful mindset about healthy food being bland and tasteless. By changing your mindset, you are allowing yourself to accept good food – leading to a better nourished body. Do you really need SO MUCH junk food? Really?

Great things never came from comfort zones, it will only come if you get up from that snooze alarm to work out, choose the right food, give it a 101% and be consistent. It will be a painstakingly journey but it is all going to be worth it! Do it for yourself, cause no one can ever do it for you. 

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                      “Without struggle there is no progress.”

My life with fitness

Starting Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide had brought me a lot of insights on fitness and health. I used to run more frequently in the past and neglected weights/resistance training in my fitness regime. Often thinking that cardio is the ‘one way’ to keep fit and lose weight in the quickest time, but I was wrong.

Cardiovascular workout indeed has a long list of benefits; it burn tons of calories (fats and muscles), increases stamina, build up a stronger body immune system, controls blood sugars and strengthens the heart. However, it is not suppose to be the only workout to be done if you want to achieve a toned, sculpted and fit-looking body. By doing only cardio, fat-burn process only happens during the workout session and nothing after that. You would not gain lean muscles just by doing cardio, whereas muscles are essential and crucial for fat burning process or torch out more calories while at rest.

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Incorporating weights/resistance (HIIT) training will allow you to gain essential muscles to achieving the lean physique. Moreover; it allows the body to burn fats during and up to 4 hours after workout! Wow. HIIT also know as High Intensity Interval Training are enhanced form of interval training exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods, which allows you to lose weight without losing muscles and boost metabolism. Benefits of HIIT workout: Read here

Our bodies are built just like a machine, if workout routine remains stagnant without any changes – the body will learn and develop muscle memory for those repeated movements. Therefore, it is important for us to keep adding resistance to our daily workout. Constantly switching and challenging our muscles to achieving more and bringing it up to another level! Other than just working out, we definitely need rest. All machine requires a “OFF” button as well. By resting, we give our muscles sufficient time to recuperate and recover, thereafter growing well with good food nourishment! We need to combine both cardio (to lose fats) with resistance training (to gain muscles) + ample rest (ideally 7 – 8 hours of sleep per day) for a complete routine.

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Aside from what I have experienced from BBG, I am still exploring and incorporating different series of exercise in my routine and learning at the same time. There is no right or wrong exercise routine, but definitely zooming down to your personal goals and how your body reacts to it. Personally, I felt that Kayla’s BBG is an awesome guide to achieving a toned physique not just that, it allows me to habitual exercise into my daily lifestyle. Now, I workout 6 – 7 days a week without finding it much a chore but enjoying the process very much. I believe in consistency and prioritizing fitness as a life-long goal. Let’s do it!

“I don’t find the time to exercise, I make the time to exercise.”

 

Kayla Itsines BBG: Week 5

Waves! A quick update on what I have been doing now. If you have been following me on my Instagram (@iammabeltan), you will realize that I have embarked on Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Workout. And I am on Week 5 now! (7 more weeks to go!) I am really inspired by Kayla’s dedication and love for fitness. She is such an amazing lady of inspiration and is definitely one of the best fitness trainers around.

Here is some of my updates from Instagram during these 5 weeks;

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1796425_10152472392712746_2001952215291454452_n
10301516_10152473481407746_8398060122855211548_n“I exercise because somehow completely exhausting myself is the most relaxing part of my day.”

After trying out her BBG workout, you will realized that nothing is free in this world and everything is earned. To attain an ideal toned and fit body, you need to put in time and effort to stay consistent in BBG programme. Not just that, the dedication on how much you want to achieve it. Also, putting your body to a series of endurance and strength test as these resistance training isn’t easy-peasy anyway. Talking about it, I am already kind of fearful (in a good way though) for the upcoming weeks of workout, especially Week 9 – 12 with HIIT interval training sprints.10622934_10152485052697746_6762636187261311099_n

Being inspired by Kayla Itsines, I understand that fitness is not just a one-time thing. How could I ever be saying that I am passionate about fitness when I don’t even commit my time for it? Taking 30 to 45 minutes of your time daily for exercising is essential for weight maintenance, detoxing, strength and improving overall health. Power walk in a park or intensive resistance circuit training, it doesn’t matter as long as you are active.

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Don’t lose weight for an event, and stop fitness altogether. Fitness and health is life-long journey and your body is the one that will accompany you through life. I know it is not easy to fork out time in the midst of everyone’s busy schedule. But it is not about having time, but making time for fitness. The pain of getting up at wee hours working out, the pain of changing out to your exercise gears after a long tiring day at work. I know the soreness and aches across the whole body after 1 day of resistance training and continuing that, 3 times a week. I know the challenge to work out 7 days a week is tiring. But, pain is temporary. And I’m not giving up.

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“No pain, no gain.”