Why Eat Oatmeal?

Nutrition Steward Health Care

Caitlin Silva, a Steward Health Care Registered Dietitian explains the benefits of adding oatmeal into your diet.

As a component of your diet, it’s recommended to consume at least one-half of all grains as whole grains. Oats are a common whole grain, in addition to wheat, rice, barley and quinoa.

Whole-grain foods such as oats and unprocessed oatmeal are a good source of fiber. One serving of old fashioned oatmeal has 4g of fiber, 5g of protein and is low in fat, sodium and has no added sugar. Consuming high fiber foods regularly can help to lower cholesterol, keep your intestinal tract healthy and help you feel full so you don’t over eat. Increased consumption of whole grains is also associated with weight loss and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.

What kind of oatmeal should you eat?

The less processed the better! Avoid choosing oatmeal that has added sugars. Often instant oatmeal has less fiber because it is removed during processing. Choose old fashioned or steel cut oats.

How to flavor up ordinary oatmeal

Add flavors to your oatmeal that benefit your health. Adding low fat milk will increase the protein, calcium and vitamin D content of your oatmeal in addition to making it creamier. Adding cinnamon will increase flavor and add antioxidants. Try a small handful of nuts to increase the protein content, flavor and healthy fats. For a little sweetness, you can add ¼ of a cup of dried or fresh fruit.

What if you don’t like oatmeal?

Here’s a few other ways to include oats in your diet:

  • Replace your breadcrumbs in meatloaf, burgers and meatballs with oats.
  • Switch out chocolate chip cookies for oatmeal raisin.
  • Use oat bran in muffin and bread recipes.
  • Make your own granola using oats to add to yogurt and cereals.
  • Blend up oats into a smoothie.

 

*Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nutrition Care Manual, Nutrition 4th Edition by Paul Insel, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, Melissa Bernstein

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