Enjoy a quick and tasty breakfast with health benefits!

 By: Jodie Shield, RDN

What’s so hot about oatmeal? This humble breakfast cereal is a nutritional superstar! One bowl of cooked oatmeal provides 150 calories, 4 grams of fiber (half soluble and half insoluble), and get this – six grams of protein. Oatmeal also contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These healthy attributes apply to all types of oatmeal regular or old-fashioned and instant. But some flavored oatmeal packages do add sugar and salt, so always check the label. If these facts don’t bowl you over, here are a few other reasons to start your day with the ultimate comfort food.

Give your heart a break. The soluble fiber in oats has been proven to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol without lowering HDL (good) cholesterol on average by as much as 7% in some studies. Soluble oat fiber also helps smooth blood sugar swings, a benefit for those with diabetes.

Curtail constipation. The insoluble fiber in oatmeal helps provide a “moving” experience and is good for overall colon health.

Curb your appetite. All of the fibers in oatmeal help you feel full, and the protein helps that feeling last longer. Translation: less midmorning nibbling could add up to calorie savings and help you shed pounds.

Go gluten-free naturally. While oats are naturally gluten-free, they could become tainted with gluten when they’re being processed or growing. If you need to avoid gluten, look for oats that are certified gluten-free.

Enjoy a quick whole grain breakfast. All types of oatmeal can be made in the microwave. Both old fashioned and quick oats can be made in less than 10 minutes. And instant oatmeal is ready in under a minute!

Tastes simply amazing. Great oatmeal starts with plain oats, cooked in water or low-fat milk. Top off your bowl with some healthy additions like a sprinkle of cinnamon, ginger or pumpkin pie spice; swirl in a tad of almond butter; toss in some nuts or dried cranberries. Check out my app Time to Eat Healthy for more healthy oatmeal recipes like Orange Cranberry Oatmeal and Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Granola.

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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N.
Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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