Did you know January is National Oatmeal Month? It is; I’m not making this up. I was just as surprised as you to learn that oatmeal has an entire month dedicated to it. But the more I thought about it, why shouldn’t it? Oatmeal is a delicious versatile breakfast choice that has numerous health benefits.
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of oatmeal is the fiber it provides. Oatmeal contains both soluble and insoluble fiber and they are equally important. The insoluble fiber helps keep your digestive tract healthy by promoting regular bowel movements. The soluble fiber contains components that have been shown to lower blood pressure levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, help maintain a healthy weight, and even help control blood sugar levels.
Oatmeal also contains nutrients such as iron, calcium, thiamin and Vitamins E, K and B6. You can really increase the nutritional value of oatmeal by the way you choose to prepare it. Making oatmeal with milk provides extra calcium, but if you’re looking for a slimmer oatmeal, choose water or skim milk. Adding nuts or seeds is another great way to increase the nutrients as well as the amount of protein in a bowl of oatmeal. Other smart choices are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, black berries and bananas.
Another great thing about oatmeal is how easy it is to prepare. You can opt for the instant oatmeal varieties which literally take 1 – 5 minutes to prepare. My routine is simple: fill up a tea kettle, place it on the stove to boil, cut up a banana and place in bowl, throw a half-cup of instant oatmeal over the bananas, then pour in the boiling water. I usually let it sit for a few minutes to soften the banana, then I stir it and it’s ready. The sweetness of the banana makes it good enough to eat without adding additional sugars or syrups.
You can also prepare steel cut oats the night before in a rice cooker or slow cooker. This is wonderful for families who don’t have much time in the mornings. You wake up and breakfast is ready! Just spoon it out, flavor it with fruits or nuts, and eat. Or, if you’re really in a rush, toss it in Tupperware and eat it at the office.
Oatmeal is a healthy and filling breakfast choice that can be customized to nearly everyone’s tastes. This January celebrate National Oatmeal Month by enjoying this piping hot cereal several times a week. For some truly mouthwatering oatmeal recipes, click here.