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Healthy Dairy Free Blueberry Maple Baked Oatmeal

 Heart healthy oats are paired with blueberries, cinnamon and nut milk, for a delicious dairy free and guilt free breakfast. Sure to become a family favourite!

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When my son was about 2 months old, he started becoming very colicky. He would be fine most of the day, then come 6 pm I'd be pacing the floor with him in my arms, trying to console him. As time went on, he started becoming more fussy during the day as well, especially after having his bottle. That's when we decided it was time to discuss his behaviour with his paediatrician. Shortly after our visit and a few tests, we found out that my son is sensitive to cow's milk. So we changed his formula and our happy baby once again made his appearance. 

My daughter's sensitivity to cow's milk came about when she was about 4 yrs old. Anytime she would have a bowl of cereal, using cow's milk she would complain of tummy issues. So, we also decided that she should not drink cow's milk. It is a strange sensitivity, since both are find consuming cow's milk, if it has been cooked (in desserts, soups, sauces). It's only when they consume it in it's fresh form that tummies aren't happy. While I do not drink cow's milk as much as I used to, I still enjoy it in my cereal and with cookies. However, I am becoming more of a fan of coconut milk and almond milk. 

Six years ago, while looking for weekend daycare for my kids, I was offered a job at a local 24 hr child care center. They were looking for someone to revamp their menu and to run the kitchen. Since I was only part time at the retirement residence, I accepted (especially since I would get a discount on daycare fees!). Their previous kitchen manager/cook had become lazy and the kids did not like the constant meals of frozen fish sticks and rice. So I sat down and went to work creating a nutritious menu for the center. I had to come up with monthly menus for breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and bedtime snack and it all had to be in accordance with the Canadian Food guide. No problem right? 

This baked oatmeal is something that became a weekly breakfast at the center. I did change the fruit on some days, but the kids seemed to enjoy the blueberry version more than the others. While our budget at the center did not allow us such luxuries as pure maple syrup and nut milks, I made sure to boost nutrition with healthy berries, oats, nuts/seeds and protein. My kids fell in love with this breakfast during their daycare time, so I make it often here at home.

What makes this baked oatmeal healthy?

Oats are great for heart health, helping reduce the risk of heart disease. They are full of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which help lower blood pressure levels, by increasing nitric oxide in the blood. This gas dilates blood vessels, leading to better blood flow. Oats also have anti-inflammatory and anti-itch effects on the body.

 Blueberries are 85% water and only contain 84 calories per cup. They are high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K. Extremely high in antioxidants, blueberries are said to neutralise some of the free radicals in your body, that damage DNA; helping reduce signs of aging.

Maple Syrup is a natural sweetener made by boiling the sap of sugar maple trees. Darker syrups are said to be more healthful and full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Though it is a natural sweetener and over all better for your health, it still contains a high amount of sugar and should be consumed sparingly.

Nut milks are are made by soaking nuts (or coconut flesh in water) and processing the result, to a smooth milk like consistency. Coconut milk is abundant in medium chain triglycerides (MCT), which go directly from the digestive track to the liver and used for energy and/or ketone production. Research suggests that MCTs help reduce appetite and help boost calorie expenditure and fat burning. Almond milk is one of the lower calorie nut milks and it is high in vitamin E (a disease fighting antioxidant).

Tips for making Baked Oatmeal

  1. I like to use a combination of large flake oats and quick cooking oats. I find the quick cooking oats help bind the mixture without the use of flour.
  2. The fruit can be interchanged. I have used mashed banana, chopped apples and different types of berries in my baked oatmeal, with great success. 
  3. Baked oatmeal can be made in a muffin tin and frozen (once cooled) for up to one month. It is a great healthy breakfast to have on hand, for busy mornings. Simple pop in the microwave for about 1-1.5 minutes until heated through.
  4. Baked oatmeal can be made the night before and baked in the morning. Simply cover and place in the fridge over night. If you do decide to make it the night before, I suggest using only large flake, or old fashion oatmeal.
  5. You can top your baked oatmeal with additional maple syrup or honey. I love to top mine with greek yogurt (or coconut milk yogurt) and a sprinkle of additional cinnamon. Feel free to also eat it as is.
  6. Frozen berries are great in this recipe. Make sure to mix them in at the end, so they don't bleed.
  7. Baked oatmeal can be enjoyed warm, or at room temperature.
Equipment needed for this recipe
  • 9-inch baking dish
  • mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • spatula or mixing spoon
  • measuring cups for both dry and wet ingredients
  • measuring spoons

Healthy Blueberry Maple Baked Oatmeal

1 C unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 C unsweetened almond milk
2 eggs (or use flax egg to make this vegan)
2 Tbs coconut oil, melted
1/3 C maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1 C large flake/old fashion oats
1 C quick cooking oats
1 C chopped walnuts
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pink sea salt
2 C fresh blueberries
2 Tbs coconut sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9-inch square baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milks, egg, vanilla, maple syrup, vanilla and coconut oil. Add in the oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; mixing well to combine. Stir in the walnuts and blueberries.

Gently pour the oat mixture into your prepared baking dish and spread evenly. You want an equal amount of oats, nuts and berries in every part of the dish.  At this point you can sprinkle with coconut sugar, if desired (this adds a nice crunch to the top).

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until center is set. 

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Comments

  1. Hi Cindy, thanks for sharing this recipe! I'm not really a fan of oatmeal but because of the blueberries I'm excited to try it out, not to mention the healthy benefits from it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is so different than regular boiled oatmeal.

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  2. thank you for sharing such a great recipe and idea! Love oatmeal and love to have a new way to preparing it. Love the health benefits as well too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so welcome! Thank you for taking the time to stop in :)

      Delete
  3. Can't wait to try this one! <3

    Xx.Kristie
    agirlinnyc.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Delicious. When I had a toddler, I would judge day care centers on their menu. I was really picky and wanted my toddler to eat wholesome food. You made a REAL difference in those daycare kids' lives by revamping their menu! Now if we could just do that in the public schools.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my high school cafeteria we focus on wholesome food as well. Of course we have sweet treats, but I always make delicious lunch entrees to choose from.

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  5. I am so excited to make this oatmeal! I am a huge oatmeal lover this is looks hearty and soul comforting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is delicious. Almost like eating cake for breakfast, but you know it's healthy haha

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  6. This oatmeal bake sounds sooo good! I can’t wait to make it and I know my son will love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope he does. My kiddos love when I make it!

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  7. love a good breakfast and thanks for the vegan option!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. We appreciate your shares. They have been Tweeted Pinned. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping in. I always look forward to sharing at Over the Moon!

      Delete

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