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How to spice up your oatmeal!

Oatmeal is Healthy and Can Be Delicious

If you don’t already, I would encourage you to consider starting your day with oatmeal! Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which is slowly digested, keeping you full and satisfied throughout the morning. Soluble fiber also regulates insulin and blood glucose, lowers cholesterol and promotes healthy gut flora.

Some tips to consider when preparing oatmeal:

  1. Cook the oatmeal in milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk instead of water (almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc). This will make the oats creamy as well as add flavor.
  2. Add cinnamon, vanilla and/or other seasonings for flavor instead of added sugars and sweeteners.
  3. Some like to cook fruit in their oatmeal to sweeten as well. Adding an apple (with cinnamon!), banana, blueberries, etc…or some dried fruit like dates, figs or raisins can add sweetness without adding sugar. Remember: fruit is nature’s candy and should taste perfectly sweet!
  4. I prefer to top oatmeal with fruit rather than add it when cooking. I particularly like using frozen fruit that creates a thick syrup when thawed that sweetens the oats perfectly. Strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and peaches (and probably others) all would work in that way.
  5. Last but not least, adding a tbsp or so of chia seeds as the oatmeal cooks adds great texture and volume, IMO. You can also add your favorite nut or seed on top for crunch and texture.

If for whatever reason you wouldn’t want oats for breakfast, you could try any of the above ideas with another type of hot cereal like cream of wheat, cream of rice, creamy buckwheat, grits, oat bran…. These may or may not have the same type of fiber as oats but will be healthy in their own right.

And finally, there are a few other foods, along with oats, that are particularly high in soluble fiber: beans, berries, barley and yams. I would recommend anyone with insulin resistance and/or high cholesterol to add these foods to their meals!

What is your favorite way to prepare and eat oats?

Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD