Oatmeal. The tasteless porridge goop that your Mother or Grandmother might have served you as a child tell you it was good for you so you better eat up. Far be it from true, oatmeal is a wonderful and very versatile ingredient that has some really great health benefits.
Oatmeal comes from the hulled seed of the oat plant. Traditionally they are found in stores most commonly as(from least to most processed) steel cut, old-fashioned, or instant.
Basically the more it is processed, the smaller it gets and the easier and quicker it cooks.
Steel cut oats are the oat grain cut into a couple pieces by a steel blade. This results in a consistency more akin to rice than what most people would associate with oatmeal. Old fashioned or “rolled” oats have been rolled flat. Instant or “quick” oats are made from the rolled oats by chopping them up into smaller pieces.
One serving(100g) of oatmeal contain roughly 71 calories, 29% manganese, 11% each of phosphorus and zinc and less than 7% of B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9. While oatmeal doesn’t have much nutritional value by way of vitamins and minerals, it has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease by way of reducing cholesterol because of the beta-glucan found in oats.
While many of us picture the porridge that is associated with the idea of oatmeal, it doesn’t have to be. Depending on the type and way you cook it, it can be a wonderful hearty breakfast. Just think, a different oatmeal breakfast everyday!
My personal favorite is to use Old Fashioned Oats. I don’t use as much water as the directions call for and I turn off the heat before the water is fully absorbed. This allows for the oats to become more chewy and less soupy.
In the past I have added blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and sliced strawberries to my oatmeal. These add a nice pop of flavor and bring contrast to the otherwise bland oat.
Another good way to add some healthy oats into your diet is to make granola or oat bars. Neither are as hard as you might think, and the flavor combinations are endless. You must need to experiment a bit and add what you like.
Here is a simple starter granola recipe.
1. Preheat oven to 300*.
2. Add all ingredients to a bowl and combine.
3. Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet and place in preheated oven. Let bake for 20 min.
4. Take out and let cool.
At this point to can add anything you want to the mixture sure as nuts, seeds, coconut, or dried fruit. If you want to add spices such as cinnamon or vanilla, add to mixture before baking to ensure it is mixed thoroughly throughout.
One of my favorite no-bake oat bars to make actually comes from the magazine Bon Appetite and you can find it here.
While it is not advisable to go looking for sweets when you are trying to incorporate healthier options into your diet, I can completely understand the craving and wanting. Plus, if you are going to go for a sweet, then it might as well be a healthier one right?
That being said, one of the best sweets that you can make for yourself is going to be an oatmeal cookie. Ideally, not one that has mass amounts of sugar or chocolate in it.
Try this recipe at home and then try adding different things. Maybe use dried cranberries instead of raisins. You could also try adding different spices to make it even more yummy.
Oats can become a friendly and delicious part of your diet. Not only do they add numerous health benefits, but they also fill you up and leave you feeling full longer without so much of the garbage calories.
As with any recipe, you can make it healthy or make it unhealthy. IF you go and all chocolate chips to everything, yes it will still have oats, but the health benefits with go down as you have added extra calories, sugars, caffeine, and salt to what you are eating.
Try to be mindful and follow your tastes.
As always, please feel free to leave any comments, questions, or concerns down below. I would love to hear from you!