Oatmeal is the perfect way to start your day, especially on chilly mornings. It’s a hearty breakfast that will keep you full and satisfied for hours. Oats are recognized for their many nutritional benefits, including stabilizing blood sugar, boosting the immune system, and lowering cholesterol. They are an exceptional way to get in a serving of whole grains because they contain a specific type of soluble fiber called Beta-glucan, which has been shown to improve health. Oats are incredibly versatile and can be used in oatmeal, cookies, granola, and even be used for an oatmeal facial! In honor of National Oatmeal Day, below are easy instructions for making your perfect bowl of oatmeal.
Step 1. Choose Your Oats:
- Steel-cut oats: This variety still has the hull intact, leading to a nutty flavor and a chewy bite. However, they require a longer cooking time.
- Old-fashioned rolled oats: These oats are steamed and rolled, allowing them to cook quickly but still remain chewy in texture.
- Quick-rolled oats: These oats are rolled thinner than old-fashioned oats, leading to the quickest cooking time of the three varieties other than instant oatmeal. These oats are creamy in texture.
- Instant oatmeal packets: Individually portioned and perfect for a college dorm room or apartment.
Step 2. Choose Your Liquid:
- You can use water, soy milk, almond milk, regular milk, and even chocolate milk to give your oats a more decadent taste.
- Use 1 cup of liquid per ¼ cup of steel-cut oats or 1 cup of liquid per ½ cup of rolled oats.
Step 3. Choose Your Cooking Method:
- Use the stove or oven for steel-cut or old-fashioned oats, but the microwave is best for quick oats or instant packets.
Step 4. Choose Your Add-ins: This is where you can really give oatmeal a personal touch!
- Fat: Oats are naturally low in fat, so for some extra staying power, add in chia seeds, flax seeds, peanut butter, or crushed almonds.
- Sweetener: A little bit of sugar goes a long way to help bring out the natural sweetness of oats. Try adding in a teaspoon of brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey per serving!
- Protein: Stir in an egg toward the end of cooking or add in some Greek yogurt when you take it off the heat. This gives your oatmeal an extra protein punch.
- Toppings: To give your oats some more flare or add different texture, experiment with toppings like fresh or dried fruit, granola, or even chocolate chips.
If you live in a dorm and don’t have access to these ingredients, you can still enjoy a healthy breakfast of oatmeal. There are many different kinds of instant oatmeal packets that only require water or milk and a microwave. Just make sure to buy the kinds with 10 grams of sugar or less! You’ll never get bored with this breakfast’s endless variety, so try out a new way to make one of America’s favorite breakfasts today on National Oatmeal Day.
Photo Credit: Michelle Przybilla and Jennifer Collins