During the winter months, oatmeal has found its way into my cabinets as a constant staple.
Not only is it the perfect warm breakfast on a cold winter morning, but it also has multiple health benefits.
Oatmeal may help lower bad cholesterol levels, such as LDL cholesterol, which place a significant role in the risk of heart disease. Oatmeal is also rich in fiber, and can help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you full for longer.
You can purchase quick cooking or old fashioned oats and cook over the stove or instant plain oatmeal and pair it with some of the suggestions below for a heart healthy treat.
5 ways to make over your oatmeal:
1. Make instant oatmeal and top with fresh or frozen fruit. Or use dried fruits, such as dried raisins, cranberries or dates.
2. Add crunch to your yogurt by adding two spoonfuls of toasted oats to your next serving of yogurt. Combine with flavored yogurt for a change.
3. Make instant oatmeal and add a couple tablespoons of walnuts or almonds. Sprinkle with cinnamon for extra flavor.
4. Add chopped apples, cinnamon and pecans to your bowl of oatmeal to make an apple crisp like treat.
5. Try the ‘5 ingredient granola bars’ (recipe below) -these are a good source of oats and are great as a snack or quick breakfast item.
5 ingredient granola bars
- 1 cup packed dates (pitted)
- ¼ cup peanut butter or almond butter
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 cup unsalted almonds, chopped
- 1 ½ cups rolled oats
- Optional: dried raisin, craisins, walnuts
1. Line 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper. Grease lightly and set aside.
2. Place dates in food processor (or blender) and blend for 1 minute or until a dough like consistency forms
3. Combine almonds, oats and pureed dates in a bowl.
4. Combine peanut butter and honey in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until smooth.
5. Pour peanut butter and honey mixture over oats mixture and mix well.
6. Transfer mixture to pan and spread evenly.
7. Cover and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Ashlee Lamar is a registered dietitian at Providence Medical Center.