Trying to Keep Warm? Try Some Oats….

24 01 2014

If the weather where you are has been  as cold as it has been here, “happy thoughts” are not what come to mind. Other than a fantastic day spent skiing with my children and friends this

Cathy Shaw

Cathy Shaw

week, I have had a difficult time remaining positive with wind chills in the negative numbers! Yes, even the most committed nutrition and fitness professionals want to throw in the towel once in a while. Some call it the winter blues, some label it “seasonal affective disorder”. I simply say that the frigid temperatures are cramping my style! I am an outdoors girl, and it takes a lot to brave weather like this safely. So in searching for some shining light, I managed to find something positive to say- Hooray for oatmeal!

I know, it doesn’t take a lot to perk me up. But the fact of the matter is, January is National Oatmeal Month, and what a perfect time for it! When the wind chills are dipping below zero, what is better than a warm bowl of oatmeal for breakfast? Did you know that more oatmeal is eaten in January than any other month? There are so many reasons why you should love your oats, but here are a few of my personal favorites:

  • They’re hot! There is no better way to warm up on a cold morning than to have a hot bowl of oats. Just wrapping my hands around the bottom of the bowl makes me happy (and toasty!).
  • They are highly nutritious. You can’t go wrong with oats. They are an excellent source of whole grain, which means they do not have the bran and germ removed during processing. Whole grains provide not only fiber, but additional vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that refined grains just don’t have. Oats contain soluble fiber (beta glucan) which can lower cholesterol and help strengthen the immune system. They have polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-itch properties. And oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates that provide sustained energy for your busy day.
  • They are very versatile! You can create endless combinations of healthy ingredients and flavors when making oatmeal. Add fresh or frozen fruit of any kind, a variety of nuts and seeds, and even vegetables like pumpkin or butternut squash to your bowl for your own personal comfort food. Season them with vanilla, cocoa powder, peanut butter, cinnamon or nutmeg to kick it up a notch. If you like it sweet, drizzle a small amount of honey or maple syrup on top after cooking.
  • They are cheap! Oats are a great source of energy and fiber for a mere 20 cents per serving. Beat that!

The low down on oats:

  • Steel Cut: Produced by running the grain through steel blades that thinly slice them. These have a dense and chewy texture, perfect for those who dislike “mushy oatmeal”! These take longer to cook (20-30 minutes)
  • Old Fashioned (Rolled) Oats: These have a flatter shape that results from being steamed and rolled. These cook in about 5 minutes.
  • Quick Oats: These are made like old fashioned oats, but they are cut finely before rolling. These cook in 1-2 minutes.
  • Instant Oats: These are made by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin. These can be ready in less than a minute. Stick with unflavored oats to avoid a lot of added sugar. Add your own toppings and flavorings so you can control the amount.

 

So break out some oats for breakfast and get creative! Feel free to share your favorite combos with us!

Try these varieties to start your day!

 

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal:

http://www.theyummylife.com/Slow_Cooker_Pumpkin_Pie_Oatmeal

Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/cherry-vanilla-oatmeal-recipe.html

Banana Bread Oatmeal:

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2169311  (to reduce calories and fat here, use skim milk)

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