We are kicking off the new year with oatmeal! Oatmeal has become such a common household breakfast, but did you know what a nutritional powerhouse it is? Loaded with whole grains and fiber, oats are a great way to start your day. Oats alone are pretty bland, but that allows you to flavor and top them with your favorite fruits, nuts, and seeds. Served either warm or cold, this hearty breakfast can be prepared in a few ways with endless topping combinations, making breakfast exciting every morning.
So, why is oatmeal so praised in the breakfast world? Besides the fact that it’s super tasty, the high fiber and whole grain content helps keep our heart and stomachs healthy. The specific type of soluble fiber in oatmeal is called beta-glucan, which can lower bad cholesterol and improve good cholesterol. Fiber also aids in digestion and keeps us feeling fuller longer. Oatmeal also contains a polyphenol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. If you top oatmeal with extra fruit or make it with milk instead of water, you are getting extra nutrition! Fruit will add a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and milk will boost up the calcium, vitamin D, and protein content of your oatmeal.
In addition to different preparation methods, there are actually different types of oatmeal as well.
- Oat Groats is another name for the grain kernel. These kernels are the simplest and least processed form of oatmeal, which means they take the longest to prepare.
- Rolled Oats, also known as old fashioned oats, are the oat groats after they are steamed, pressed with a roller, and dried.
- Steel Cut Oats are similar to oat groats, but are cut into two or three pieces. They are unrolled, leaving them with a chewier texture.
- Quick-Cooking Oats are rolled oats that were rolled thinner and cut into smaller pieces. Since these oats are more processed, they cook more quickly.
- Instant Oatmeal are the type of oats you find pre-packaged and ready to be mixed with hot water. They are precooked and dried, making them very easy to prepare on a busy morning.
- Oat Flour is created from ground up oats. This whole grain flour is great for baking or as a thickening agent for soups or stews.
Looking for some ways to enjoy this powerhouse breakfast? Check out the list below to create your favorite oatmeal dish.
- Microwave Oats: oats can be combined with water, milk, or juice and microwaved to perfection. A quick way to enjoy breakfast in the morning without dirtying any pots or pans.
- Stovetop Oats: similar to preparing oats in the microwave, choose your liquid and allow your oats to cook on the stovetop.
- Baked Oatmeal: prepare your oatmeal in bulk by baking it in a dish. Cut it into squares or bars and you are ready to grab your breakfast in the morning.
- Overnight Oats: layer your oats with liquid and toppings of choice, mix together, and leave overnight in the fridge for a creamy breakfast the next morning. Greek yogurt can be used to add some protein and thickness. Chia seeds can be added for extra omega 3’s and to make a more pudding-like consistency.
- Savory Oats: oatmeal does not always have to be sweet. Consider adding savory spices like garlic or curry powder and top with veggies, eggs, and avocado.
- Granola Bars: bake or no bake, oatmeal can be combined with dried fruit, nuts, a sticky sweetener (honey/syrup) and nut butter to create a homemade granola bar.
- Cookies: oatmeal cookies are sweet, tasty, and a great way to use oatmeal.
- Muffins: include oats in your favorite muffin recipe.
- Pancakes: use rolled oats or oat flour to add some extra fiber to your morning pancakes.
- Granola: bake rolled oats with your favorite granola ingredients into a crunchy breakfast or snack.
- Burgers: oats can be used as bread crumb replacement for burgers.
- Breading: mix oats and bread crumbs to make a crunchy breading for chicken or fish.