By Aimee Serafin

If December brings the mandatory 5lb weight gain from gingerbread cookies and eggnog, then January ushers in simple and more health-conscious meals. I don’t know about you, but by the time January rolls around my stomach is pretty much done with sugary confections and heavy meats. The month of January comes at a good time, naturally, to slow down the digestive tract and go easy on the cooking schedule. That is why these quick and healthy oatmeal combinations work even for dinner. The great thing about oatmeal is that you can personalize the add-ins for the one-pot fare. Of course— for all the meat lovers— a ½ pound of bacon or sausage is allowed on the side.

Prepare oatmeal according to package instructions making any of the following combinations once the oats are cooked:

Thorp House Favorite
2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 diced Gala apple and ¼ cup almond butter mixed into cooked oatmeal. Top with a handful of raisins and pecans.

Coconut Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar mixed into cooked oatmeal. Top with coconut chips, chopped pecans and fresh cream.

Berries Light Delight
1 teaspoon vanilla mixed into cooked oatmeal. Top with fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.

Banana Rama
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ cup peanut butter (or almond butter) and sliced banana mixed into cooked oatmeal. Add 2 tablespoons of Nutella swirled on top.

Traditional John
Add ¼ cup brown sugar to cooked oats and top with maple syrup.

Photo by Lucie Rangel on Unsplash