One of the goals of my wellness journey this year is to feed my body foods that will function more as fuel. The good news is that this has meant more energy. The bad news is that this also means less french fries.
There was one diet staple that I had in my pantry that was obviously not as unhealthy as fried foods, but it wasn’t doing my hips and tummy any favors. I’m talking about those flavored packs of oatmeal. Yes, oatmeal may not be your friend.
Every morning I looked forward to starting my day with a single serve pack of maple syrup, blueberries and cream or raisin oatmeal. This meal gave me the illusion of starting my day off with a healthy meal after brewing the powder and water for only ninety short seconds in the microwave. After all, an oatmeal flavor pack is not pancakes, french toast or home fries. It should be good for you, right? Then I looked at the nutritional information and was shocked to see that the amount of sugar and sodium in instant oatmeal is off the charts!
What are steel cut oats?
My research for a healthier alternative brought me to steel cut oats. So, what exactly are steel cut oats? For starters, unlike instant oatmeal, steel cut oats are generally sold sodium free. According to the package of my brand, “These 100% whole grain oats are steel cut, rather than rolled, offering you a heartier texture and a rich, nutty taste.” This meal also requires a heavier time investment as they take approximately 30 minutes to cook. However, isn’t it worth making this investment of time for your health?
How do you prepare steel cut oats?
My first time prepping this “porridge” was a remarkable failure. I tweeted a picture of the resulting lumpy concoction with the words, “My first day switching from Instant Flavored Oatmeal to Steel Cut Oats. Let’s just say its an acquired taste I haven’t acquired yet.” Immediately I was deluged with helpful friends giving tips and pointers on how to make my oats tastier.
The best recipe I found is to mix 2 1/2 parts water to one parts steel cut oats. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add dried fruit like raisins or cranberries at the beginning of the boiling process so that the sweetness seeps through to the oats. Several people suggested adding brown sugar, agave, honey or maple syrup. My approach however is to go sugar-free. When the mixture is boiling, lower the temp and cook uncovered for about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool and enjoy!
You can also add nuts, bananas or whatever floats your boat.
Happy oats to you! I’ll see you on the beach.
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