Oats. Oats. Oats. It’s one of my favorite breakfasts when it’s cold out, mainly because of its versatility. I can change it’s delivery with my mood…adding apples and cinnamon, frozen blueberries, raisins, or whatever my little heart desires. Did you know that simply eating breakfast raises your metabolism by 10%? Naturally, I assumed that the more processed an oat is, the less nutritional it was, however when I started looking into it, I was happy to discover I was WRONG!
Why Choose Oatmeal?
- Oatmeal is a great food to start your day, not only because of the soluble fiber, minerals, and vitamins, but it is also is made of whole grains and complex carbs that break down slowly, keeping your blood sugar stable, making you fuller, longer!
- A bowl is relatively low in calories as long as you don’t add sugars. Instead, try sweetening it with a little honey. Add cinnamon to boost your metabolism. If you like nutmeg, a little bit of this wonder spice goes a long way, including strengthening your immune system (which we all need this time of year) and shields your brain from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- It’s gluten free, to all of you who either don’t prefer it or try to avoid it. However, it does contain Avenin, which is a protein that is harmful to people that actually have celiac’s disease.
- It contains linagins which are said to help prevent breast cancer and other hormonal related cancers.
- It protects your heart. A Harvard study showed that men that eat a bowl of oatmeal daily are 29% less likely to have heart disease.
So which kind? It’s a tad overwhelming when walking down the cereal aisle these days. First and foremost, go organinc and non-gmo if possible. Second, well it’s really a matter of preference to you, but avoid the already sweetened or flavored types because at this point, you’re just ruining a good thing. Here’s a brief rundown on what you will see:
- Rolled Oats, A.K.A. Old Fashioned Oats: They’re the same, much to label confusion. Whole grains of oats are steamed to make them soft and pliable, and then pressed between rollers and dried. This results in “rolled oats,” which re-absorb water and cook much more quickly than whole groats or steel-cut oats. When a recipe calls for “rolled oats” or the packaging mentions it, they generally mean the thickest rolled oat, because it retains its texture and shape the most during cooking.
- Steel Cut Oats: These are formed when the entire groat is split into several pieces. Simmered with water, steel-cut oats retain their shape and create a nutty flavor and consistency.
- Quick Cooking Oats: These are pressed even thinner than rolled oats to absorb water even faster, in turn losing that texture.
- Instant Oats: These are what the book, Goodnight Moon, was describing when saying, “a bowl full of mush.” These oats are rolled as thin as possible, almost to dust as you can see when you pour a packet into a bowl. They cook in a minute or so because they absorb the water the fastest.
Rolled and Steel Cut Oats contain 2g of soluble fiber per serving, whereas all other types contain 1. However, watch serving sizes. 1/4 c. of steel cut is equivalent to 1/2c. of rolled oats. Advertisers have also been proven to market falsely, claiming that their brand has more fiber than it does, but only if you consume multiple servings in a day. Read your labels:)
Here’s some ideas to keep your breakfast delicious and creative, just by swapping toppings:
- strawberries and shaved, raw almonds
- honey and sliced bananna
- sliced apples, cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg
- flax seed or chia seeds with sliced peaches
- raw grade b maple syrup and cinnamon
- pecans with sliced pears
Remember, frozen fruit is a great alternative (as long as sugar hasn’t been added in the ingredients,) especially this time of year when most fruits are out of season. Stir it into hot oatmeal and it thaws very quickly.