Oatmeal is a no-no for many people. Its bland taste puts off many, in spite of knowing its nutritional value. But, there are ways to make oatmeal taste better. Check out varied oatmeal choices like oatmeal cookies, oatmeal bar, baked oatmeal, apple crisp with oatmeal etc.
In all probability you may feel enthused to try out nutritious, delicious oatmeal recipes not just for breakfast, for lunch or even supper. Like they say, unless you try it, how do you know if you love it?
Steel cut oatmeal
Oats are usually used to make breakfast cereals, baked goods and stuffing. Oats as such cannot be consumed. They require processing because of an extremely hard outer shell, called a hull, which must be removed.
After the outer shell of oats is removed, the resulting product is called oat groats. Highly nutritious, oat groats are chewy in nature. A whole grain, it takes a long time to cook. Cooked whole it makes for a nutritious breakfast cereal or ground. Oats can be mixed with wheat berries and can also be used for stuffing.
When oat groats are flaked, steamed and rolled, the product obtained is rolled oats. Rolled oats make for a nutritious breakfast cereal, can be added to granola or muesli mixes and can be used to make oatmeal cookies. The cooking time required is just 5 minutes. The quick or instant types have been processed further and then heat-treated for faster cooking.
The oat groats are treated with heat to prevent them from spoiling. Subsequently, they are cut into small pieces with large steel blades. This leaves the texture chewier and coarser than other forms of oats. Though there is no distinction in terms of nutritional value amongst the various forms of oats, steel cut oats are preferred for cookies and breads mainly because of enhanced taste and rougher quality of oats. Rolled oats can be a substitute for steel cut coats and vice versa in any oats recipe.
Oatmeal is prepared using oat groats, steel cut oats, rolled oats or any other form of oats. The porridge prepared is referred to as oatmeal cereal.
Oatmeal in varied forms - oatmeal cookies, oatmeal cereal, oatmeal bars or a simple oatmeal recipe contributes to fulfilling the nutritional demands of the body. Compared with other whole grains, oats contains many nutrients, which play a vital role in various body functions. Nutritious oatmeal makes a complete diet for the day, in any part of the year.
Dietary fiber: Oatmeal has both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, half soluble and half insoluble fiber. The benefits of high-fiber oatmeal include lower heart disease risk, lower cholesterol levels, reduced blood pressure, enhanced weight control, better glycemic control, reduced cancer risk and improved gastrointestinal function.
Micronutrients: When included as part of a daily diet, oatmeal provides the body with essential minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, thiamine and phosphorous. All these support the growth and strengthen teeth, bone, and muscle.
Other nutrients, which are present in oatmeal, are fat, sodium, carbohydrate, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin and folate. All the minerals and vitamins are essential for effective functioning of nervous system and contribute to strengthening the connective tissue and stimulate energy in general.
Protein rich: Protein rich oatmeal gives more energy to the body. Eating oatmeal plain is an excellent way to burn excess fat. High contents of protein in oatmeal are equal to that of soy protein, milk protein, egg and meat.
Complex carbs: The advantage of complex carbohydrates in foods is that they are broken down into glucose more slowly unlike simple carbohydrates thus providing a gradual steady stream of energy and stamina throughout the day. Oatmeal is complex carbohydrate food in a natural state.
Powerful antioxidants: Oatmeal contains a large number of flavonoids, which are antioxidants. High in antioxidants, oatmeal offers protection against gastric, lung and prostate cancers. Also, antioxidants in oatmeal prevent the blood cells from sticking to the inner lining of the artery walls, thus keeping coronary artery disease at bay.
Health benefits of oatmeal nutrition
Oatmeal is a complete whole grain food. It offers a unique package of energy, nutrients and phytochemicals (hundreds of plant chemicals) that work together and promote health and prevent diseases. Include a bowl of oatmeal everyday and you will experience a surge in energy levels, a calm stress-free mind and a host of other benefits.
Acts as an effective anti-depressant. Keeps mind calm and helps treat depression.
Cooking oatmeal is simple, both in terms of time taken to cook and the procedures involved. Exploring new oatmeal recipes is an attempt to make oatmeal eating interesting and enjoyable. There are ways to mix and match with natural ingredients that you relish. Oatmeal can be used in pancakes, homemade granola cereal, granola bars, as well as cookies, different desserts and bread.
Be it the old fashioned oatmeal, instant oatmeal or the quick oatmeal variety whatever way you prefer to eat, oatmeal is good for you. To derive optimal health benefits, eat one cup of oatmeal for breakfast but ensure that it is cooked just enough to make it tasty and easy to digest. The amount of liquid should be just over twice the amount of oatmeal. Besides water, cook with milk or juice like apple cider. Avoid preservatives or MSG.
The easiest oatmeal recipe is oatmeal porridge. Learning to eat hot cereal sans sugar for breakfast is a healthy way to begin the day. Instead of sugar, consider adding peanut butter, raisins and a fruit. At times, you can satisfy sweet tooth by adding flavored honey or raw sugar or stevia powder.
Oatmeal diet ideas
Stovetop cooking hot oatmeal cereal or baked oatmeal recipes, you can incorporate oatmeal in a number of ways.
Oatmeal breakfast recipe
Use instant, rolled or steel-cut oats. Prepare oatmeal; make any of the below mentioned additions to the cooked oatmeal, with or without milk and a hot breakfast cereal packed with vital nutrients is ready.
Here is an alternative for those mornings when time is at a premium to prepare hot oatmeal cereal on the stovetop. Cooking oatmeal this way allows you to cook it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. Your nutritious morning meal is ready in advance. Further, baking oatmeal cuts cooking time considerably compared to conventional stovetop cooking. The longer you cook oatmeal, the more nutrients are lost in the cooking process
Oatmeal bar is a fast and healthy oatmeal breakfast recipe. The advantage of making a delicious and nutritious oatmeal bar is that it comes handy on a day when there is hardly time to make oatmeal porridge for breakfast and can be packed and given to kids as snacks.
Quick oats 2 cup (uncooked)
All purpose flour ½ cup
Baking soda ½ tsp
Vanilla extract ½ tsp
Regular margarine 5 tbsp
Honey ¼ cup
Brown sugar ¼ cup
Chocolate chips 1 cup
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Take a wide bowl and mix all ingredients. Stir well. Spray vegetable oil on baking pan. Transfer mixture to 8x8 inch pan and distribute it evenly. Bake for a minimum of 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow it to cool before serving or storing.
Alternatives: Substitute vanilla extract with strawberry or almond extract. Instead of chocolate chips, use raisins, walnuts, dates, butterscotch chips, flax seeds, sunflower seeds or even scraped coconut.
Oatmeal cookies are a favorite with kids and adults alike. Old-fashioned rolled oats work best for different varieties of oatmeal cookies. Eggs and butter are necessary ingredients for making crispy or moist oatmeal cookies. Those who are on a weight reduction program may like to ration oatmeal cookies intake taking into account the calories of oatmeal cookies, which are usually on the higher side.
Old fashioned rolled oats 3 cups (uncooked)
Butter 1 cup
White sugar 1 cup
Brown sugar 1 cup
Eggs 2 nos
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
All purpose flour 2 cups
Baking soda 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Ground cinnamon 2 tsp
Take a bowl. Cream together the sugars with butter. Beat in eggs one after the other. Stir in vanilla extract. Take another bowl to combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir well to ensure there are no lumps. Mix with the creamed mixture. Mix in oats.
Refrigerate dough for one hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into balls and arrange them on the sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cookies cool before serving or storing.
Alternative: Substitute vanilla extract with strawberry or almond extract. Place walnuts, full almonds on each ball and decorate. Add fruits such as orange, apple or banana to the dough. Try variations but keep in mind that the ingredient should not make the dough soggy.
Apple crisp with oatmeal
Apple crisp oatmeal is a wholesome nutritious dessert dish in great demand in many restaurants, particularly during the cold months. It is appealing not just for the eyes but satisfies taste buds as well. With minimum ingredients, apple crisp oatmeal can be prepared in your kitchen in less than an hour. Using fresh apples can make all the difference. Slice the apples last to reduce the brownish appearance.
Brown sugar 1 cup
All purpose flour ¾ cup
Rolled oats ¼ cup
Ground cinnamon ½ tsp
Ground cloves ½ tsp
Unsalted butter or margarine ½ cup
Apples 6 nos
Lemon juice 1tbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take an 8-inch pan and spray cooking spray. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Take a bowl and combine apples, cinnamon, sugar and ¼ tsp of salt. Prepare topping. Mix together the oats, brown sugar, flour and ¼ teaspoon of salt, in a medium sized bowl. Blend in the butter and mix until the butter is well combined.
Sprinkle the topping onto the apple mixture evenly and pop it into the oven. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool on the rack for 30 minutes. Store in freezer wrapped in foil or Ziploc bag, thaw, warm up and serve.