Its National Oatmeal Month
By Shelley Swenson, Extension Agent III, Family and Consumer Sciences UF-IFAS Wakulla County Extension
This cold weather makes me want Oatmeal and I learned that it is to be celebrated this month. I love it in the mornings especially after I discovered steel-cut oats. They take a little longer to cook but they are crunchier and richer than the refined form.
Oatmeal is a whole grain. The Dietary Guidelines encourage us to make at least half of all of our grains whole. We should eat 3 to 10 ounces of grains every day depending on age, sex and level of physical activity. ½ cup cooked oatmeal is one ounce so you will start to reach the goal first thing in the morning.
Be cautious of all of the packaged oatmeal that is intended to be prepared in the microwave. It is usually filled with sugar, flavorings and salt. That lessons the quality of the oatmeal experience.
Don’t be fooled by the words stone-ground, 100% wheat, seven grain or bran. These grains are not necessarily whole grain products. Read the labels and fine the grain name as one of the first ingredients. In addition watch for the new seal added to whole wheat products.
Whole grains, including oatmeal are generally low in fat and rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates, plant protein, phytochemical (which may decrease the risk for chronic disease), and antioxidants (which protect cell damage.)