Here are some reasons to enjoy oatmeal, not just on Oct. 29, but all year long:
Whole grain oats contain a special soluble fiber called beta-glucan that reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Oatmeal packs a powerful nutrition punch being rich in insoluble fiber, phosphorus, thiamine, magnesium and zinc. Eating a bowl of oatmeal can help reduce blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and obesity.
There are several forms of oatmeal, and eating different kinds provides different flavors and benefits:
Oat groats are the whole oat kernel that has been cleaned, with only the loose, inedible hulls removed.
Oat bran, which contains the most fiber in the groat, can also be removed and eaten as a cereal or added to recipes to boost fiber content.
Steel-cut or Irish oatmeal contains oat groats that have been cut into two or three smaller pieces using a steel blade.
Scottish oats are oat groats that have been stone-ground into a meal, creating a porridge-like texture when cooked.
Rolled or old-fashioned oats are when the oat groats have been steamed, rolled and flattened into flakes, then dried to remove moisture so they are more shelf-stable.
Quick or instant oats are steamed for a longer period and rolled into thinner pieces so that they can absorb water easily and cook very quickly.
There are many great recipes for “dressing” up plain old oatmeal, so get creative! Oats can be cooked for breakfast or in oat risotto or eaten raw in overnight oats or homemade energy bars. Keep it balanced by adding fruit toppings, nuts, nut butters, yogurt, milk or spices. Add oats to cookies or bread recipes for added fiber and texture.
This Oct. 29, celebrate National Oatmeal Day with a warm, great-tasting, nutritious bowl of oatmeal!
Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN is a Food City Registered Dietitian.