2 cups oats

1/2 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup organic unsweetened apple sauce

1/4 cup unsweetened nut butter of your choice (I used sunflower seed butter)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ripe mashed banana

1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Coconut oil for coating the pan

Unsweetened coconut butter for drizzle

make it

-Preheat oven to 350 F

-Combine dry ingredients and whisk together until combined

-Mash the banana with a fork; combine with all other wet ingredients (except blueberries). Whisk until well combined

-Combine the wet and dry ingredients until they are mixed well. Carefully stir in the blueberries, if you're too rough, you'll smash them and your batter will turn a strange colour

-Coat a 9 x 9 square pan with a bit of coconut oil. Pour batter into pan and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, or until golden brown

-After you take the oatmeal out of the oven, melt about 2 tablespoons of coconut butter. Use a spoon to drizzle the melted coconut butter over top. This makes it look all pretty and delicious- for a "rustic" look just spread that creamy coconut all over the top...and on the sides and all over...Serve warm out of the oven- although it's equally as delicious chilled. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 5 days, or wrap well and freeze! Enjoy!

warm blueberry baked oatmeal

I don't mean to sound too cliche, but I'm going to say it anyways- breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I know this is probably something you've been hearing your whole life and, if you aren't a big breakfast person, it probably makes you roll your eyes. Think about it though- while you are asleep and dreaming, your body is hard at work building, repairing, detoxifying and basically dealing with everything we threw at it the day before. When we wake up, our bodies deserve to be rewarded for the hard work that was done throughout the night.

I have many clients who say they aren't hungry when they first wake up and eating breakfast can feel like a chore. If you put it into perspective, not eating breakfast means you could potentially go for 18 hours without eating (that is, if you eat dinner at six and don't eat until lunch the following day). 18 hours is a very long time to go without providing your body with fuel and nourishment. Skipping breakfast wreaks havoc on your body's blood sugar management. It can also lead to weight gain (or if you are trying to lose weight, it could lead to those stubborn pounds sticking around); if you don't eat something in the morning you are more likely to snack and crave sugary foods later in the day. Leaving out this important meal sends your body into starvation mode. Since your system doesn't know when it will be getting nourishment next, when you do eat something (like that big lunch you eat to compensate for the fact that you haven't eaten all morning), your body holds onto those calories and macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates and protein) to make sure it will have enough to last until the net time you eat. Eating breakfast ensures that your blood sugar is balanced and your body has nourishment to thrive throughout the day.

With all that being said, it can be a challenge to come up with new ideas for breakfast. During the week it's nice to have something that is quick and easy to prepare. This blueberry baked oatmeal hits the spot for breakfast any day of the week. The best part is it can be made the night before, so all you have to do in the morning is slice and serve. The main ingredient is oats and anyway you prepare them, oats are a great option for a breakfast dish. Oats contain a type of fibre called beta-glucan. This fibre has been well researched and is known for its beneficial effects on cholesterol levels in the body. Beta-glucan helps lower cholesterol by improving elimination (ahem, pooping) through improved regularity and bulk. Fibre, in general, is very important for digestive health. It helps feed the good bacteria in our gut and it is crucial for decreasing the risk for colon cancer and hemorrhoids. Oats are also a great source of other minerals like selenium and manganese and they provide a good source of protein.

Remember oats do not equal oatmeal. If oatmeal isn't your thing, find a new way to prepare oats! Try soaking them overnight in some almond milk. The liquid will start the breakdown process so the oats will be soft and easy to digest in the morning. Top with a few nuts and seeds and some fresh fruit and you've got a balanced breakfast that is a nice change from sticky oatmeal. Or try my blueberry baked oatmeal for an even more delicious way to enjoy this nutritious food!