Soapbox alert: Fast food is NOT HEALTHY and it shouldn't be a part of anyone's daily diet. Can we agree?
Before you tell me that your life is too busy to live without fast food, I want you to ponder the effects that most fast foods have on our health and our environment. Cheap calories, as Mark Bittman points out in this opinion article, are often the unhealthiest of the bunch. From corn-fed beef to chemical-laced breakfast options, there's nothing healthy that comes off a fast food menu. (To be fair, I do enjoy Chipotle and think they offer good options, including organic vegetarian black beans and locally-sourced vegetables. But that's the only fast food place you'll catch me at!)
As Bittman points out with the oatmeal scenario, it is actually faster, cheaper and umpteen times healthier to make your own oatmeal at home. (I think the same can be said for salads, sandwiches and even french fries; and we should all just quit eating corn-fed beef burgers and mechanically-separated chicken nuggets cold turkey. Ahem.)
In the spirit of offering you an inexpensive, easy, and fast oatmeal recipe (even though I highly recommend this pumpkin oatmeal), here's something to fit the bill. It's ready, from scratch, in about six minutes. It's sweet without white sugar, and packed with protein, potassium, fiber, omega-3's, heart-healthy whole grains, and deliciousness. To add to the healthy factor, we always use local honey, local and organic pecans, and organic rolled oats, bananas, and almond milk. Mmmmm.
1 cup milk (we use unsweetened almond milk to add more protein)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 very ripe banana
1-2 tablespoons honey, to taste
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 tablespoons pecan pieces
In a small saucepan, stir together the milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Using the back of the spoon, mash up the banana in the saucepan. Heat this mixture on medium just until it begins to boil. Add the rolled oats and stir. Add the honey, flax seed, and pecans, and continue stirring and heating until the oats are cooked through, about 3 minutes.