Sunday, January 15, 2012

#6 of 12 Foods to Eat More of in 2012

Halfway to #12 already?! Yep. And we'll keep on rolling with #6...

6. Oatmeal

Oatmeal with dried cherries, golden raisins and walnuts

On this one, I have to admit the commercials are not stretching the truth; oatmeal does help lower cholesterol. That's because it's just like beans--a super source of soluble fiber. Oatmeal also tends to be more filling than cold cereal and has many more options for variety. Keep some staple ingredients on hand and you can keep mixing it up! Here's two of my favorite ways to enjoy a quick, comforting breakfast on a weekday morning (seriously--it will be cooked and eaten in 10 minutes--you can do it!):

1. Cook 1/2 cup of quick-cooking oats mixed with 1 cup water in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Remove and stir in a dash each of cinnamon and nutmeg, a splash of skim milk, 2 tablespoons of walnut pieces and 2 tablespoons dried cherries. Enjoy with a glass of milk. What does this equal? Whole grain. Fruit. Healthy fat. A serving of dairy. Score! The thing I especially like about this throw-together recipe is that everything can be kept on hand. In other words, if you keep the right staple items in your pantry, you can put together a healthy breakfast even if you haven't been to the grocery in a while.

2. This recipe calls for the addition of barley. I like to cook a batch ahead of time and freeze it in 1/2 cup servings for later. Cook 1/3 cup of quick-cooking oats with 2/3 cup water in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Thaw the barley and mix it into the oatmeal. Stir in a dash each of cinnamon and nutmeg, a splash of milk, 2 tablespoons of walnut pieces and 1/2 of an apple, chopped. Serve with a glass of skim milk. What else says comfort food in the morning besides apple-walnut oatmeal? Mmmmm.

Want a shortcut? Take your oatmeal to go? See oatmeal packets recipe here.