A "Nutritionally Hot" Recipe for Oatmeal

Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Lancaster County

Oatmeal with blueberriesA steaming hot bowl of oatmeal provides a delicious - and healthy - start to a day. Eating oats may help protect against high blood cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

 Here are three ideas to boost the nutrition further:

  • Make oatmeal with calcium-rich milk instead of water. Follow the same directions given for water, just use milk instead.
     
  • Kick the nutrition up another notch by serving oatmeal with antioxidant-rich berries, either fresh or frozen. Quickly thaw frozen berries and cool the oatmeal at same time by tossing the berries directly into each dish of hot oatmeal.
     
  • Sprinkle oatmeal with cinnamon for sweetness and possible health benefits. Cinnamon is one of the sweeter spices and adds flavor without calories. With a dusting of cinnamon, a smaller amount or perhaps none at all of caloric sweeteners may be needed.

Some research indicates as little as 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day may help lower blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides. It also may improve insulin function, especially in people with type 2 diabetes. Large doses, however, could be harmful. If you're under treatment for high blood sugar, check with your healthcare provider before self-treating yourself with cinnamon as it could affect the level of medications you need.

Ever wonder about the difference between the different types of oatmeal?

  • "Instant" oatmeal may have salt added to it--check the "Nutrition Facts" label if reducing dietary sodium is important for you.
     
  • "Quick" or "quick-cooking" oatmeal will take slightly longer to cook than instant versions. It is usually made without added salt--check the "Nutrition Facts" label for sodium.
     
  • "Old-fashioned" oats take longer to cook than instant and quick/quick-cooking oats and also are usually made without salt.
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