Oatmeal 101

Yes, I love oatmeal to the point where I will dedicate an entire post on it. 
 
Haha, I decided to start up some more health-related posts, since my blog has been bombarded by restaurants lately. Ingredient 101 is a series where I’ll talk about different awesome, nutritious ingredients, their health benefits, and ways to incorporate them into your diet. Oatmeal is pretty basic , but I gotta start somewhere. ^^


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Nutrition

 

 

1 serving (1/3 cup, rolled oats) | cals: 120 | fat: 2g | carb: 20g | protein: 4g 
 
We all know that oatmeal is nutritious, but here’s a few of the reasons why.
 
1) Whole grain: The benefits of whole grain is another story in itself, but oatmeal is considered a whole grain, which contains complex carbs that slowly release energy into your bloodstream without a huge insulin spike. With that said, oats keep your blood level steady, especially good for people with or preventing Type 2 diabetes.
 
2) Fibre: Since it is a whole grain, oatmeal also contains a high fibre content. A 1/3 cup serving contains 3g, thats about 10% of your daily recommended intake done! Fibre is good for weight control because it keeps you full for longer, and it also helps with um, regulating your bowel movements.. (hey it’s not TMI, it’s health!) Beta-glucan is a form of soluble fibre found in oatmeal, and these little guys are heart-healthy, as they lower cholesterol levels.
 
3) Antioxidants: A special type of antioxidants called avenanthramides is found is oats, and these help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well by preventing free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, or your “bad” cholesterol. 
 
4) Gluten-free: Oatmeal in its purest form is essentially gluten free and is a great choice of grains for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. However, there may be cross contamination in the processing, so just watch out on the label for any disclaimer. 
 

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Types

 
You may be confused by the huge variety of oats there are, so here’s a quick rundown of the most common types. The main difference is their amount of processing, which results in the varying levels of the glycemic index. But in the end, they have similar nutritional value and are therefore all healthy choices.
 

1) Oat groats: The grain kernels of oats, including the cereal germ, endosperm and bran, that just have been just cleaned and hulled. Since these are the least processed form of oats, they take the longest (about 45 minutes) to cook. 


2) Steel-cut oats: Oat groats that have been chopped into a few pieces, and they take around 20 minutes to cook on the stove.


3) Large flake oats (old fashioned): Oat groats that are steamed then rolled into flakes. Because they are already partially cooked, you would only have to rehydrate the grain and heat them for about 3-5 minutes. These are great to use for baking too!

 

 

 

4) Instant oats: Rolled oats that have been rolled even thinner and steamed for longer. With that said, it’s the most convenient because it only takes around a minute or so for it to be fully cooked.

* Watch out for the pre-packaged and flavoured instant oats. They’re really no good- lots of added sugars! 

 

 
As you can see, the nutrition facts for the rolled oats and instant oats are identical. (Sorry for the wacky white balance in this picture.. :P)

 

I have yet to try steel cut oats and oat groats, but for a lazy girl like me, using rolled oats is the most realistic.


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Cooking

 
1) Microwave (aka my running-late-for-school approach): 

 

 

– Use a 2:1 water to oats ratio. For more flavour, feel free to use any milk of your choice. My favourite to use when i have them around are unsweetened almond and coconut milk– almond gives a nice nutty flavour and coconut makes it super creamy and delicious, mmm! You can also adjust this proportion for your desired consistency.


 

– Add in basically anything you like, and stir it up.
 

– When I’m going for a fruity oatmeal, I usually put in half the fruit first, with whatever filling I’m up for.


 
– Pop it in the microwave for 2 min, adjust the time to fit your preference of consistency. I like my oatmeal on the thicker side, and I find that 2 mins work the best. If you like a soupier porridge, feel free to add more water or shorten the cooking time.
 
– Once it’s out, give it another quick stir, top it with your choice of toppings and enjoy!

 

On this particular day, I had apple chia oatmeal topped with shredded unsweetened coconut. 😀

 

 

 

2) Stove-top: If you have a bit of extra time, I would recommend cooking your oatmeal over the stove. It takes a bit more time and dish-washing effort, but it’s good not to rely on the microwave so much. (Not sure how I feel about the radiation and all..)

 
– Again, use a 2:1 water to oats ratio. First, bring your water to a boil.
 
– Add oats, and reduce to low heat. Constantly stir to avoid clumping or sticking to the pan.
 
– Stir, stir, stir… until the oats soak up the liquid and thickens up.

 

 

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These are just simple porridge options, you can of course use oatmeal as an ingredient in other recipes as well. Also give baked oatmeal and overnight oats a try! 


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Recipe Ideas 

 

Go sweet~

 

Add in all your favourite fruits– my go to are bananas, apples, berries, or whatever I have on hand. I like to use half of a fruit while cooking the oats and topping the other half off after, for a fun combination of textures. Things like nuts (my favourite are almonds and cashews), seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin), coconut (shredded, chips) go well in oatmeal, adding some crunch, flavour, and not to mention, an extra load of nutritional value! If you’re feeling for it, mix in a dollop of creamy nut/ seed butter, or greek yogurt too.


{left to right: pear, cashews | peach, chia, pumpkin seeds | banana, berries, sliced almonds}
 

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Go savoury~

 

Oatmeal doesn’t always have to be sweet, give it a savoury twist for lunch or dinner. I love mixing in all sorts of vegetables (leafy greens, frozen veggies, anything really), and then adding in some protein to make it a filling meal. Turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, etc. (just look at that beautiful oozing poached egg, or you could just whisk it right in for an eggy oatmeal) all work! 

 
{left to right: salmon, spinach, mixed veggies | spinach, cucumber, turkey, poached egg | eggy oats, mixed veggies}

 

 

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Well, I really can’t talk about oatmeal without mentioning The Oatmeal Artist– Lauren has an entire blog dedicated to oatmeal recipes, with a huge selection of fun flavours. So if you’re ever running out of ideas, go to her blog for some inspiration! 😀 

 

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Hope you all enjoyed the first of my nutrition-based ish posts..? I definitely spent a lot of time on this, which is why my blog is so lacking of health related posts in ratio to my restaurant reviews haha. Obviously I’m no professional but I just love sharing what I know with everyone out there. Enjoy your lovely Sunday!
 
<3. 
Rae
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