January 13th, 2012
Nutritionally speaking, there’s nearly no better way to start the day than with a warm bowl of oatmeal.
I realize that starting a post with “nutritionally speaking” isn’t the best way to draw you in, but I speak the truth. Oatmeal is super healthy. And I bet that’s exactly how you think of it—as a health food—because it can be hard to turn good old fashioned oats into a mouthwatering meal, especially when you’re moving fast on weekday mornings. And who pulls out oatmeal for a special weekend breakfast?
You, that’s who! At least you will after checking out my ideas for how to turn oatmeal from tasteless glop to scrumptious power breakfast.
Oatmeal’s strength is less in natural taste than in health benefits. It is high in fiber and contains a specific type proven to have positive effects on cholesterol levels. It also contains unique antioxidant compounds that do good things for your heart. Want more? Oatmeal is a very good source of manganese and selenium, as well as a good source of magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. With so much goodness to offer, I’ve come to appreciate oatmeal’s plain flavor as a great base on which to build big taste.
Before I get into my favorite ways to dress up oatmeal, let’s get some key things straight. Rolled oats, even the quick cook kind, will almost always come out better than the instant kind and, depending on the brand, the instant kind may have less fiber. That said, you can use these ideas with the stuff that comes in single-serving envelopes when you’re in a major rush and need to save, um, 3 minutes. Also, if you consistently cook up gloppy oats, reduce and play with the amount of liquid you use until your oats come out just the way you like. And last but certainly not least, please, please use plain oats. Some of the flavored kinds have over 10 times the amount of sugar as plain oats. Yes, you read correctly—10 times!
With all of that out of the way, head over to Momtastic to get cooking. There, you’ll find my 5 Ways to Make Oatmeal a Favorite Breakfast. Think chai spices, blackberry and ginger, and Caribbean inspiration. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to tuck into a bowl of oats tomorrow (Saturday!) morning.
P.S. Major bonus: oatmeal is a great early food! Skip the baby oat cereal. Instead, use a powerful blender, food processor or coffee bean grinder to grind plain oats into a powder and then add warm water, milk, breast milk and/or formula. You can also puree cooked oatmeal, but it may get a little gummy. You can always thin it out with some extra liquid. Skip sweeteners or use a little one something other than honey for babies younger than 12-months-old.