A Warm, Healthy Start to Cold Winter Days
When temperatures outside start falling and the days become shorter and darker, things like a heating oil delivery become priorities once again. Additionally, our bodies naturally begin to crave food that will both nourish us and keep us warm. We need something that will keep our immune systems functioning well and our metabolism going strong during the cold winter months, when we would rather just hibernate. Oatmeal i s an ideal breakfast choice, delicious cold-weather fare that will check all of the above boxes and then some.
Oats are some of the healthiest grains on earth. They are a low-calorie, gluten-free whole grain and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are especially rich in manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. Oats contain more protein and fat than most grains, meaning they will keep you feeling full longer. They are also a good source of carbs and fiber, including the powerful fiber beta-glucan, which helps promote healthy gut bacteria. All of this means that oats are some of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.
Research shows that consuming oats and oatmeal provides one with many health benefits including a reduced risk of heart disease, lower blood sugar levels, lower total and LDL cholesterol, reduced constipation, and weight loss. Adding this super-grain to your regular diet is a smart and inexpensive way to improve your health and manage your weight.
Oats can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. They are often added to baked goods such as muffins, cookies, and breads as well as muesli and granola; however, the most popular way to enjoy them is to simply eat oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast. Most people prefer to eat rolled, crushed, or steel-cut oats. Instant (quick) oats are the most highly processed type. They take less time to cook, although their texture may be slightly mushy. Here is a very easy way to prepare oatmeal:
- 1/2 cup of rolled oats
- 1 cup (250 ml) of water or milk
- A pinch of salt
Combine ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the oats, stirring occasionally, until soft. To enhance the taste and nutritional value of your oatmeal, you can add cinnamon, fruit, nuts, seeds and/or Greek yogurt.
A fun way to change up your oatmeal routine is to either make it in the crock-pot or bake it. Here is a recipe for crock pot oatmeal that is sure to warm both your family’s hearts and stomachs. The beauty of this method is that breakfast is already done when you wake up!
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 1⁄3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 T butter
- 1⁄2 cup dried blueberries
- 1 apple, chopped
- 4 cups water
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add 2 inches of water to the crock-pot and set the bowl in thewater. Turn crock-pot on low and cook overnight for 8-10 hours. Enjoy!