Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Banish Instant Oatmeal Forever with this Alternative!

What do you like for breakfast?  I gave ideas for breakfast here, have you tried anything new lately?  I have been doing smoothies, because of the heat lately, but it never holds me very long at all!  I need to eat, and get some fiber and protein in there!  Growing up, I was really lucky, my mom made breakfast every day, and we even had a say in what we were having!  My dad always made breakfast on Friday, and we all loved the different things they both made us.  My mom doesn't like oatmeal, but my dad loves it.  I think us girls (I have 3 sisters!) were split down  the middle.  I love it.  But I love the real stuff, and have never been a fan of the instant.  My husband has introduced new ways of eating oatmeal to me, such as a big scoop of vanilla ice cream in it.  Let me tell you, the first time I watched him make his own, I was in shock. (does the oatmeal cancel out the ice cream he wonders?  No honey, no it does not)  :)  


Is instant oatmeal a go-to breakfast item?  Quick, easy, and it's oatmeal so its good for you, right?  Well, the down side is that sugar is the second ingredient in instant oatmeal (did you know ingredients are listed in weight order?  So when sugar is one of the first few ingredients, I put the item back on the shelf), and corn syrup is also in the ingredient list.  Also, for the oatmeal to cook so quickly, it is heavily processed.

INGREDIENTS - INSTANT QUAKER OATMEAL
WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, SUGAR, DEHYDRATED APPLES (TREATED WITH SODIUM SULFITE TO PROMOTE COLOR RETENTION), CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR (CONTAINS MILK INGREDIENT), CORN SYRUP, FLAKED CORN, CINNAMON, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED AND/OR SOYBEAN OIL**, OAT FLOUR, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, GUAR GUM, CITRIC ACID, CARAMEL COLOR, NIACINAMIDE*, REDUCED IRON, RED 40 LAKE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE*, RIBOFLAVIN*, THIAMIN MONONITRATE*, FOLIC ACID*..

I know you have heard of steel cut oats, but have you ever tried them?  They are amazingly delicious.   Yes, they take the longest to cook though.  But, if you have a little extra time one night, maybe while dinner is cooking, you can whip up a batch of oats, and you are set for breakfast the rest of the week!  They reheat great, and I'm loving having steel cut oats as quickly as instant oatmeal!


Nutritionally speaking, you have less calories, more fiber, more protein, less sugar, and it is much lower on the glycemic index!  Meaning, it will raise your blood sugar much less than the instant kind, and will hold you longer!  All good things.  Here is how to prepare it for the night before and have it ready to go all week!  (side note, steel cut oats are a bargain!  Most recently I purchased them out of a "bin", where you scoop your own amount and pay per pound, and they were 1.49$ per pound!  Way cheaper than instant oatmeal!)


Directions:
Steel cut oats are a 1:3 ratio, meaning 1 cup oats to 3 cups water.  You can plan on 1/4 cup growing to 3/4 cup when cooked.   My favorite way to do them is to bring the water to boil, 3 cups, and add the cup of oats with a pinch of salt.  Only 1/8 tsp is needed.  I also add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, this is optional, but I love vanilla flavor!  


For this ratio, they cook for about 25-30 min, and you will want to stir occasionally to keep a film from forming on top, and the oats from getting stuck on the bottom.  I spray the pan before bring the water to a boil, I think it helps when I go to do dishes later, or use a non stick pan.  If you want to do more, say4 1/2 cups water and 1.5 cups oats, check them at 30 minutes, and every 5 minutes after till you get a texture you enjoy.  I like mine chewy, and go on the side of less done, I know others prefer smoother, and cook them up to 45 minutes.  If you run out of water, go ahead and add more.  Last time I added about 1/2 cup extra water after they had cooked for 25 min.  They will stick more if there isn't enough liquid in there.


Once you have a texture you like, let them cool down (maybe 15 min), then put in a container and into the refrigerator.  Next day, cut out a chunk, they will be pretty solid and put in the microwave (1-2 min, done!).  


Oats with almond milk - microwaved for 2 min, stirred at the 1 min mark :)




Here is where you get to be creative.  You can add milk, soy milk, almond milk, water, or leave them as is either before or after cooking.  (I love almond milk in them, and add before microwaving)  You can add more vanilla, a sweetner (agave, honey, splenda, brown sugar, maple syrup, sugar free maple syrup, whatever you like), add spice, like cinnamon, and/or fruit (blueberries, raspberries, apples, bananas, etc).  You can also top with nuts (almonds, walnuts for heart health!)  This can be completely different everyday and as simple or complex as you want!  I add the fruit in after microwaving, and everything else before.







What is your favorite combo for oatmeal?  Have you tried steel cut oats before?  Share in the comments section!


Thanks for reading!  I hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today!  If you enjoy the blog, like it on facebook, follow me on twitter, and become a follower of the blog using the links on the right hand side!  Have a great day! ~jenna

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