“This is Not Your Mama’s Oatmeal”

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January is National Oatmeal Month—seems only fitting to celebrate it with the indulgences of the holidays still fresh in our minds (and other body parts). The New Year is here; time to get back to the basics, and oatmeal is one of the most simple, basic and nutritious foods you can eat. Consumers purchase more oats at this time than in any other month.

Most oats, in the U.S., are steamed and flattened to produce rolled oats, sold as “old-fashioned” or regular oats, quick oats, and instant oats. The more oats are flattened and steamed, the quicker they cook – and the softer they become. If you prefer a chewier, nuttier texture, consider steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats consist of the entire oat kernel (similar in look to a grain of rice), sliced once or twice into smaller pieces to help water penetrate and cook the grain. Cooked for about 20-30 minutes, steel-cut oats create a breakfast that delights many people who didn’t realize they love oatmeal!

For many years we have been told to eat a bowl of oatmeal a day, here is why:

  • Eating oats helps lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Oats help you feel fuller longer, which helps control your weight.
  • Oatmeal and oats may help lower blood pressure.
  • Oats may help reduce your risk of type 2 Diabetes, since their soluble fiber helps control blood sugar.
  • Oats help cut the use of laxatives, without the side effects associated with medications.
  • Oats are high in beta-glucans, a kind of starch that stimulates the immune system and inhibits tumors. This may help reduce your risk of some cancers.
  • Early introduction of oats in children’s diets may help reduce their risk of asthma.
  • Oats are higher in protein and healthy fats, and lower in carbohydrates than most other whole grains.
  • Oats contain more than 20 unique polyphenols called avenanthramides, which have strong anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itching activity.

So grab a bowl and let’s try some new ways to eat oats.

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

(Includes a steel cut oat and overnight versions)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ small banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate-hazelnut spread
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt

Directions

  • Bring water and a pinch of regular salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in oats; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Top with banana, chocolate spread and flaky salt.

Additional Versions

  • Overnight oats variation: Combine ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats with ½ cup water a pinch of salt in a jar or bowl or jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, add toppings. Eat cold or heat up. Makes about 1 cup.
  • Steel-cut oats variation: Bring 1 cup water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Add ⅓ cup steel-cut oats; reduce heat to a bare simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add toppings. Makes about 1 cup.

Serves 1. Each serving contains Calories 295, Fat 9 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 9 g, Sugars 17 g, Protein 7 g, Fiber 6 g, Sodium 231 mg.

Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cakes

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1½ cups low-fat milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Directions

  1. Combine oats and milk in a large bowl. Cover and let soak in the refrigerator until much of the liquid is absorbed, at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray.
  3. Stir egg, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder and salt into the soaked oats until well combined. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups (about ¼ cup each). Top each with 1 tablespoon blueberries.
  4. Bake the oatmeal cakes until they spring back when touched, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for a 10 minutes. Loosen and remove with a paring knife. Serve warm
  5. To make ahead wrap airtight and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Serves 6. Each serving contains  Calories 264, Fat 9 g, Cholesterol 34 mg, Carbohydrates 41 g, Sugars 18 g, Protein 4 g, Fiber 4 g, Sodium 219 mg.

Oatmeal Topped with Fried Egg and Avocado

Ingredients

  • 1 serving quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • ¼ Avocado sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh salsa

Directions

  1. Prepare the oats according to the package directions.
  2. Heat the oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the egg and season with ⅛ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and cook until slightly runny sunny-side up, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Serve the egg on the oatmeal topped with the avocado and salsa.

Creamy Cherry Walnut Oatmeal

(Includes steel cut and overnight options)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dried cherries
  • 1 tablespoon toasted chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons raw cane sugar, such as turbinado
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest

Directions

  • Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in oats; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Top with cream cheese, cherries, walnuts, sugar and lemon zest.

Additional Versions

  • Overnight oats variation: Combine ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats with ½ cup water and and a pinch of salt in a jar or bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, add toppings. Eat cold or heat up. Makes about 1 cup.
  • Steel-cut oats variation: Bring 1 cup water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Add ⅓ cup steel-cut oats; reduce heat to a bare simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add toppings. Makes about 1 cup.

Serves 1. Each serving contains  Calories 299, Fat 11 g, Cholesterol 10 mg, Carbohydrates 44 g, Sugars 15 g, Protein 8 g, Fiber 5 g, Sodium 200 mg.