Grain of the Month: Oatmeal

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

The first Tuesday of every month we will be featuring a grain. The posts will include background on the grain, nutritional information, instructions on how to store and cook it, and, of course, one or two healthy recipes for using the grain. Our goal is to help you add variety to your meals in 2012!

Picture Source: Kath Eats Real Food

Background: Oatmeal’s filling rep goes all the way back to medieval Scotland where it was the staple food for the soldiers. Nowadays, kids are brought up on the brown packets of sugar-loaded oatmeal. While it may seem more convenient to buy individual packets, it is actually just as easy to prepare oats from bulk and cheaper too! Worried about losing flavor? We have some ideas to make sure your oats satisfy your morning taste buds!
Nutritional Profile
Oatmeal is an example of a whole grain. Generally, 1/2 cup of uncooked regular oats or 1/4 cup of uncooked steel cut oats supplies about 150 calories, 3 grams fat, 0g saturated fat, 1 g sugar and 5g protein. Oatmeal’s main nutrition claim-to-fame is its heart-healthy amount of soluble fiber. Not only is soluble fiber good for lowering cholesterol, it is also what gives oatmeal its filling power. Unless fortified, you’ll need to add some fruit for your dose of vitamins.
Buying and Storing
There are three main types of oats you can purchase: rolled, quick/instant, and steel-cut. No matter what kind you choose, the healthiest option is to buy original oats so you’re in control of added sugar. By buying oatmeal in bulk you will also save yourself a lot of money!
Preparing
If you Google how to cook oats, you will come up with more ways than you’ll know what to do with, so here are just a couple ways I’ve tried and liked!

Rolled Oat Preparation Options:

1. Put ½ cup of oats in a bowl with ¾ cup water and microwave for 2.5 minutes

2. Put ½ cup of oats in saucepan with ¾ cups water. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes or until it reaches desired consistency.

3. Put ½ cup of oats in a jar or bowl with ½ cup water and ½ cup low fat yogurt. Place in fridge overnight. For more overnight oats ideas check out Kath Eats Real Food’s list here

Quick Oat Preparation Options:

1. Place ½ cup oats with ¾ cup water and microwave for 1.5 minutes

2. Put ½ cup oats in a saucepan with ¾ cup water. Cook at medium heat for 2 minutes or until it reaches desired consistency.

Steel-Cut Oat Preparation Options:

While you can make steel-cut oats the day you want to eat them, they take about 45 minutes to cook. Here is a method that requires a little prep the night before and only 10min of cooking in the morning

For 6 servings:

Night before:

1. Boil 6 cups water, stir in 1 ½ cups steel-cut oats and boil for 1 minute

2. Cover, turn off heat, and let stand overnight

Next Day:

3. Uncover oats and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes

NOTE: Steel cut oats save very well, so make a big batch on Sunday and reheat throughout the week!

Now the fun part: flavoring the oats! Here are some ideas to get you started:

-1/2 banana + cinnamon + ½ Tbs natural peanut butter

-Cinnamon + diced apples

-1/2 banana + cinnamon + chopped walnuts

– 1 Tb cranberries + almonds + 1 tsp maple syrup

-1/2 banana + 1 Tbs coco powder + 1 Tbs natural peanut butter

-1 cup Mixed berries

-1/2 cup blueberries + 1 tsp maple syrup

-1 Tbsp natural peanut butter + 1 Tbsp all-natural fruit jam

-4 peach slices + splash vanilla soy milk

 

 


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