Oats are full of heart-healthy fiber which can help minimize our cholesterol and keep us fuller longer.

Oats, the Magically Delicious Grain

In All, Eat Better by Angela

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Oats the Magical Grain

Ask people to choose a healthy breakfast, and, chances are, some are going to mention oatmeal. Oats are full of heart-healthy fiber which can help minimize our cholesterol and keep us fuller longer. High-fiber diets can also help reduce your risk of colon cancer. Obviously, we need to be reaching for this comforting grain in the morning, but, we need to take extra care when reading the labels of the most popular brands. One of the most popular choices is undoubtedly instant oat packets. They take just about a minute to cook up and usually come in flavors we love. But, the flavored packets undo all the health benefits of the grain by packing in salt, sugar, and, sometimes, artificial flavors. Most flavors have, on average, at least 3 teaspoons of added sugar!

Understandably, instant oats are the time-saver in the morning. But, instead of reaching for that box of packets at the store, get yourself a big container of old-fashioned or instant plain oats and make your own packets for the week. As a bonus, this can save you some money as well! All you have to do is put your ingredients in a sandwich bag, and when you want to use them, prepare as you would a store-bought packet: add water or milk and microwave for one minute (instant) to three minutes (for old-fashioned).

Here are a few combinations to try:

Apple-Cinnamon Oats:
½ cup oatmeal of choice
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tablespoons of chopped, dried apples
½ to 1 teaspoon of brown sugar (optional, and still less than the food companies are adding)

Cinnamon-Raisin Oats:
½ cup of oatmeal
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tablespoons of raisins
½ to 1 teaspoon of brown sugar (optional)

Banana-Nut Bread Oatmeal:
½ cup of oatmeal
¼ tsp cinnamon (*hint, I love this spice)
2 tablespoons of chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tablespoons of dried banana chips
1 teaspoon of brown sugar (optional)

Elvis Oatmeal:
½ cup of oats
1 tablespoon of powdered peanut butter
2 tablespoons of dried banana chips
Optional teaspoon of sugar

I hope these serve as some breakfast inspiration!