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Eat Your Oats People!

Health Benefits of Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast that is packed with fiber, minerals and vitamins. It’s a complex carbohydrate and is a great way to start your day. If you haven’t been eating oatmeal, it’s time to give it another try.

For the most health benefits, opt for steel cut, old-fashioned, or rolled oats instead of instant or quick oats.  What’s more, oats are naturally gluten-free. The fiber in oats is good for your overall health, but it is particularly important for a well-functioning digestive system. Oats provide insoluble fiber, which promotes regularity.  Plus, each serving has B vitamins, plus minerals including manganese, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

They’re so good for you, in fact, that you shouldn’t limit yourself to only eating them for breakfast. Oats are a neutral base for a wide variety of toppings, and can be enjoyed sweet or savory, as a snack or a meal, hot or cold. Overnight oats, made by mixing old-fashioned oats with a liquid and allowing them to absorb it overnight in the refrigerator, have become a popular and easy way to enjoy cold oatmeal.

You can add toppings that are packed with protein and healthy fat, like walnuts, almonds, or pecans. Or opt to add nut butter like almond or peanut butter. You can even add seeds like chia, hemp, or ground flaxseeds. 

Add fresh fruit like sliced strawberries, blueberries or raspberries for additional nutrients and fiber. Careful with adding sugar with items like sweetened dried fruit, or brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey, all of which are sugar. For extra flavor try sprinkling your oats with cinnamon or nutmeg during or after cooking.  The more ways you can find to enjoy oats and oatmeal, the more you’ll reap their benefits without ever getting bored.

If you have a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, make a larger batch, portion it out for the week, and reheat. Another alternative is combining dry oats, yogurt or milk, fruit, and seeds in a container in the fridge. After several hours or overnight, the oats absorb the liquid, and soften into a familiar texture, and become “overnight oats”. With little prep, you don’t have to cook a thing, it switches up the style of oats to add variety.

Here are a few fun ideas to try (sourced from Everyday Health):

Cold: Berry and Chia Overnight Oats – Serves 2

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ medium banana, mashed
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Combine milk, yogurt, oats, chia seeds, and banana in a mixing bowl, stir together well.
  2. Divide oat mixture into two jars with lids. Top each with half the blueberries, strawberries, and walnuts.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Nutrition per serving: 520 calories, 17g fat (1.5g saturated fat), 20g protein, 78g carbs, 14g fiber, 20g sugar (0g added sugar), 60mg sodium

Hot: Mushroom and Steel-Cut Oatmeal Risotto – Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 6 cups no-salt-added beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Directions

  1. In a medium pot, bring broth to a simmer. Cover and keep warm.
  2. In a large skillet with high sides, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallot, garlic, and mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, until shallots are translucent, and mushrooms begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add oats. Cook, for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of hot broth. Cook until liquid has been absorbed, repeat 1 cup at a time until all broth has been used approximately, 25-30 minutes.
  4. Stir in thyme and cheese and serve.

Nutrition per serving: 570 calories, 20g fat (2g saturated fat), 23g protein, 77g carbs, 14g fiber, 12g sugar (3g added sugar), 580mg sodium

Cold: No-Bake Oatmeal Energy Balls – Makes 20

There is nothing easier to make or eat than these tasty oatmeal orbs. They’re like healthy peanut butter chocolate truffles — nutrient-dense enough to keep you satisfied with fiber and healthy fats, and they freeze well so you can make a batch and always have some on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • ⅔ cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Roll the chilled mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Nutrition per serving: 150 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 5g protein, 14g carbs, 3g fiber, 7g sugar (6g added sugar), 30mg sodium