This week the Scots will vote yes or no for independence.
So I thought this would be a perfect time to think about a traditional Scottish breakfast –
And now that the chill of fall is in the air,
there is nothing more satisfying than a hot steaming bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
One of my “top 10” healthy choices
Oatmeal is a whole grain and one of the healthiest choices you can make for breakfast as it provides essential nutrients like iron, magnesium and B vitamins. Oats are a combination of insoluble and soluble fibre. Oatmeal has more soluble fibre than any other grain. The soluble fibre unique to oats is called beta-glucan.
No matter what kind of oats you use, – rolled oats, quick cooking oats, instant oats or steel cut oats – you still get the same amount of soluble fibre. Steel cut oats don’t have more soluble fibre than other types of oats. They are just processed differently – chopped up instead of rolled.
Why is oatmeal so good for you?
- The expression oatmeal “sticks to your ribs” is so true because oatmeal is a very satisfying breakfast. It is slowly digested which gives you long lasting energy.
- The soluble fibre in oatmeal also helps to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol by reducing the absorption of cholesterol from the gut. Oats act like tiny sponges soaking up cholesterol in your gut and causing you to get rid of cholesterol instead of absorbing it into your body. This slows down the build up of plaque in your arteries and can reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Oatmeal has a low glycemic index meaning that it is slowly absorbed, producing a more gradual increase in blood sugar and lessening your need for insulin. Overtime this can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It also makes oatmeal a great breakfast choice for those with diabetes.
Cooking oatmeal is fast and easy
Quick oats can be cooked on the stove or in the microwave. I like the microwave. Here is how I make a bowl of oatmeal for myself:
In a microwave-safe cereal bowl, mix ⅓ cup oats, ¾ cup milk, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 1½ -2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Top with a sprinkle of brown sugar or maple syrup if desired.
Now let’s dress up it up
A handful of raisins or crasins are often added to the mixture before cooking. Here are some other ideas:
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
In a microwave-safe cereal bowl, mix ⅓ cup oats, ¾ cup milk, 1 apple diced (skin left on), a pinch of salt and a pinch of cinnamon. Cook for 1½ -2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Top with a sprinkle of white or brown sugar if desired.
Banana Nut Oatmeal
In a microwave safe cereal bowl, mix ⅓ cup oats, ¾ cup milk, 1 banana, sliced and a pinch of salt. Cook for 1½ -2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Top with a handful of nuts (e.g. pecans or walnuts) and a sprinkle of brown sugar or maple syrup if desired.
Give your bowl of oatmeal a protein boost
You can boost the protein of any oatmeal by mixing an egg or whey powder into the milk or water before adding the oatmeal and then cook as usual.
Here is one combination that I really love to make:
Protein Power Oatmeal
Beat 1 egg and ⅓ cup milk in a microwave-safe bowl until blended. Stir in 1 package apple and cinnamon instant oatmeal* (I like using the lightly sweetened version). Microwave on high until liquid is absorbed and egg is set, 1½ -2 minutes. Stir. Top with vanilla yogurt. Enjoy!
* Instant Oatmeal in a package, unlike oatmeal from a bag, is fortified with iron, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and folic acid.
Treat yourself to health!