June Cleaver was right. Every time she served up a heaping bowl of oatmeal for Wally and the Beav (and probably Ward, too, though we saw him eat about as often as we saw him work), she was making a rare choice for retro TV moms of the time: an uber-healthy breakfast.
Oatmeal is a classic that has really made a comeback, thanks to its super-healthy rep. It's a culinary star in the land of "super foods" - oats are a valuable source of soluable and non-soluable fibers. The American Cancer society maintains that fiber knocks out certain bile acids, reduces cholesterol and cuts the risk of heart disease.
But take care at the grocery store - dieticians highly suggest avoiding those convenient little variety packs of paper-bagged-bagged insta-oatmeal; the candy-coated flavors sound yummy, but they pack about as much sugar as actual confections. Stick to dry oats in that familiar Quaker cylindrical container - or, for an even bigger boost of whole grains, opt for steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats provide the heartier inner portion of the oat kernel, rather than the typical rolled oat.
Plain oatmeal can be bland, so dress it up wisely: add nuts, dried fruit and natural sweeteners such as Stevia or honey. If you prefer maple syrup, choose an all-natural brand, and use sparingly.
Three cheers for oatmeal! It almost makes up for Mrs. Cleaver's countless bologna lunches. Almost.