What's the Deal with Oatmeal?


Do you wonder why dietitians always recommend oatmeal as a breakfast option? I am here to break it down for you.


Fiber

The recommended dietary intake for fiber is around 25g per day for women and 35g per day for men. With 4g per standard serving of oatmeal (1 cup, cooked), this provides 16% of the daily intake of fiber for women and 11% for men. There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. Beta glucans are an indigestible, soluble fiber found in oatmeal that dissolves in water and bulks up to form a gel-like substance. Studies show that beta glucans attach to fats in the bowel, helping to remove cholesterol from the body, which can help manage blood cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease. What’s more is a 2015 research study showed that eating oats also supports healthier blood sugar and cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.


Weight loss

Many people think cutting carbs is the answer to weight loss, but as explained in my previous post, not all carbs are created equal. Whole grain, high fiber carbs tend to have many benefits for our health. Of course, watching portion size, like any other food, is still necessary.


Beta-glucans are indigestible so they move slowly through the digestive tract, which helps keep you feel full longer. The promotion of satiety and increase in appetite control for hours is a major plus when trying to manage weight because it eliminates the need or desire for snacking on energy dense foods, which tends to be a barrier to weight loss.


Pre and/or post workout nutrition.

Carbohydrates are the bodies’ main source of fuel. Our body converts carbs into glycogen, sugar that's partly stored in the muscles, and is used as a source of energy when working out. This helps you feel more prepared and energized for exercise that is more strenuous and will allow you to get more out from your workout. Basically, being properly fueled ensures you can train as hard and burn as many calories as possible, which is beneficial for performance, fitness and fat loss.


Oatmeal is a versatile meal option

Oatmeal has such a mild flavor making it a great base for pretty much anything. With nutrient dense toppings, you can really make oatmeal taste anyway you want!

If you want something sweet, you can cook oats with ½ a smashed banana for some natural sugar and top with ingredients like nut butter, chopped nuts or seeds, fresh fruit, dried fruit, spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, granola, and chia seeds. You can even add flavored protein powder. Powdered peanut butter or regular nut butter also adds some flavor, protein and healthy fats.


If you're into something more savory, you can cook your oats with water, stir in wilted greens, low fat cheese, a little salt, pepper, and top with a fried egg.

You can even use oats in your usual smoothie blend. It's the perfect base for a wide variety of other whole foods, textures, flavors and nutrients.


Whether rolled or steel cut, whole grain oats are very nutritious, but the key is to avoid the added salt, sugar, and fat that can come with pre-prepared oatmeal. Try some of these versatile recipes below to help you make a power breakfast that is filled with valuable nutrients and is sure to help you reach your health goals. If done right, oatmeal can be part of any nutritious eating plan.


Types of oatmeal

Whole oat groats are the result of simply harvesting oats, cleaning them, and removing their inedible hulls (A groat is another name for a grain kernel). You can most often find these in health food stores. They take the longest to cook.


Steel cut oats are the result of cutting groats into two or three pieces with a sharp metal blade. They cook quicker than oat groats, because water can more easily penetrate the smaller pieces. Steel cut oats are also sometimes called Irish oatmeal.


Rolled oats or regular, old fashioned oats are created when oat groats are steamed and then rolled into flakes. This process stabilizes the healthy oils in the oats, so they stay fresh longer, and helps the oats cook faster, by creating a greater surface area.


Rolled Oats or quick or instant oats are the result of rolling oat flakes thinner, and/or steaming them longer to create quick oats and ultimately instant oats. The nutrition stays the same (these are all whole grains) but the texture changes.


All of these options are great choices, nutritionally. The good thing about having so many choices is that everyone can get exactly the taste and texture they like best!



BITE INTO ACTION

Try these recipes to help you incorporate oatmeal into your morning routine!


Easy, Sweet, Creamy, Customizable Healthy Oatmeal- https://www.veggieinspired.com/easy-sweet-creamy-customizable-healthy-oatmeal/

Ingredients

· 2 cups old fashioned oats (be sure to use certified gluten free oats for gluten free)

· 3 1/4 cups water

· 2 medium bananas (smashed really well) (use just one if you are not a banana lover)

Toppings of choice:

· Nut butter, chopped nuts or seeds, fresh fruit, dried fruit, spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, granola, plant milk, pure maple syrup, etc.

Instructions:

· Smash the bananas until they resemble puree.

· Add the water to a pot on the stove and whisk in the banana until well incorporated.

· Add the oats to the water and THEN turn on the stove to medium-high. As soon as the oatmeal comes to a simmer, turn down the heat to low and cook until desired consistency, stirring occasionally, this takes less than 10 minutes.

· Spoon into individual bowls and top with (or stir in) ingredients of choice.


Savory Oatmeal with Cheddar and Fried Egg- https://healthynibblesandbits.com/savory-oatmeal-cheddar-and-fried-egg/

Ingredients

· 1/4 cup dry quick-cooking steel cut oats

· 3/4 cup water

· Salt and pepper

· 2 tablespoons shredded white cheddar cheese (add more if you like)

· 1 tsp coconut oil, divided

· 1/4 cup diced red pepper

· 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions

· 1 large egg

Optional Toppings

· Chopped walnuts

· Sliced green onions

· Za’atar (or any other spice blend)

Instructions

· Stove Top Method: Bring water to boil. Add oatmeal, reduce heat a little and let it cook for about 3 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and stir in cheese, a small pinch of salt, and pepper.

· Microwave Method*: Place oats and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Line microwave dish with paper towels to catch any spills. Microwave at a high setting (but not the highest, about 8/10 power setting) at one-minute intervals for a total of 3 minutes. If you want a softer texture, continue microwaving at 30-second intervals. Give the oats a little stir between intervals. When the oatmeal is done, stir in shredded cheese, a small pinch of salt, and pepper.

· Heat a nonstick pan with 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until they soften. Spoon vegetables over cooked oats. Reduce heat to medium.

· Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon of oil and fry egg. Cook until the whites are no longer translucent and serve over oatmeal.

· Top with chopped walnuts, green onions, and za’atar, if you like.


Peanut Butter Overnight Oats (5 Ingredients!)- https://minimalistbaker.com/peanut-butter-overnight-oats/

Oats

· 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

· 3/4 Tbsp chia seeds

· 2 Tbsp natural salted peanut butter or almond butter (creamy or crunchy // or sub other nut or seed butter)

· 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or sub coconut sugar, organic brown sugar, or stevia to taste)

· 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats (rolled oats are best, vs. steel cut or quick cooking)

Toppings (optional)

· Sliced banana, strawberries, or raspberries

· Flaxseed meal or additional chia seed

· Granola

Instructions

· To a mason jar or small bowl with a lid, add almond milk, chia seeds, peanut butter, and maple syrup (or other sweetener) and stir with a spoon to combine. The peanut butter doesn't need to be completely mixed with the almond milk (doing so leaves swirls of peanut butter to enjoy the next day).

· Add oats and stir a few more times. Then press down with a spoon to ensure all oats have been moistened and are immersed in almond milk.

· Cover securely with a lid or seal and set in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 6 hours) to set/soak.

· The next day, open and enjoy as is or garnish with desired toppings

· Optional: You can also heat your oats in the microwave for 45-60 seconds (just ensure there's enough room at the top of your jar to allow for expansion and prevent overflow), or transfer oats to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until warmed through. Add more liquid as needed if oats get too thick/dry.

· Overnight oats will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, though best within the first 12-24 hours in our experience. Not freezer friendly.


Berry Oat Breakfast Smoothie- https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/berry-oat-breakfast-smoothie

Ingredients

· 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats

· 1 cup milk (more as needed)

· 1/2 cup frozen berries

· 3 tablespoons honey (or to taste)

· 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt or greek yogurt

· 1/4 cup ice

Instructions

· Add all ingredients to a blender. If needed add milk if it is too thick. Serve immediately.


References:

https://wholegrainscouncil.org/

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/oats/

https://www.eatright.org/

© 2020 by Alisha Virani. Proudly created with Wix.com

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