Thursday, November 18, 2010

All About Oats

For some reason, a lot of the health bloggers are obsessed with oatmeal.  I mean, I guess it makes sense - oatmeal is definitely good for you.  But I just never saw what the big deal was.

When I was overweight, I did one of the most horrible things you can do to yourself:  I would skip breakfast.  I just wasn't hungry in the mornings.  Little did I realize at the time, I wasn't hungry because I was overeating at night.  Once I ate more reasonably in the evenings, I woke up hungry.  So I had to learn how to eat breakfast again.

When I was first losing weight, I would occasionally nuke a packet of Quaker Oats instant oatmeal, and although I found it bland, I would still eat it because it was "good for me."  The problem I have found with eating something you aren't crazy about is that you aren't satisfied and end up compesating for it somewhere else later.  So somewhere along my journey to lose weight, I decided it was pointless to cram down a bowl of bland oatmeal in the morning when I preferred to have, and was more satisfied by, a granola bar or PB&J on toast.

But the more I read about oatmeal on other blogs, and all the creative ways bloggers have found to dress up their oats, the more curious I became.  I went out on a limb and bought some steel-cut oats and a cheap rice cooker, and gave oatmeal a second chance.  Once I "oatmeal-ed" the right way, I finally got what all the fuss was about. There is such a vast difference between the cheap instant packets, and actual home-cooked oats.  It's definitely worth the extra time and effort to make them right.

My rice cooker/new best friend:

My method for oat cooking (there are lots of them out there) is to put 3/4 cup oats in with a cup and 1/2 of water in the rice cooker at night before I go to bed and let it sit overnight.  In the morning, as soon as I wake up, I plug in the rice cooker, and within 15 minutes I have my lovely, fluffy, chewy oats ready to devour.  I dish it into some "to go" tupperware with a plastic spoon, and add my toppings:

Today I added some granola, reduced sugar grape jelly, and a glob of my homemade sunflower butter.  I usually bring it with me in the car on my way to work, and eat a few bites at the stoplights and then eat the rest throughout the morning.  Oatmeal is so much more satisfying to me than scarfing down a granola bar like I used to, and I'm not nearly as ravenous when it gets to lunchtime.  And, as we all know, we tend to make much better meal choices when we aren't about ready to chew off an arm.

Readers: What do you eat for breakfast?


Anonymous said...

Your old dad eats an egg, two slices of whole grain/low carb bread and 1 cup of low fat yogurt. I either make two cups of coffee, which I drink black or a steep some tea. I have a special cup that steeps tea.

Last week I was at the Big Lots store and found some instant oatmeal that was on clearance for $1 for six packages. I tried it and it wasn't bad. But I eat it at night. It only takes 3 minutes to make. I don't think I could wait all night but I do make brown rice in my rice cooker all the time. I try to eat 2 cups a day.

Stephanie K said...

Very interesting Gab! I do like oatmeal, always have and lately I've been eating cream of wheat but when I read the box this morning I noticed there are 13 grams of sugar per packet! I make myself 2 packets so I had 26 grams! So I've been thinking about getting plain cream of wheat/oatmeal and adding my own sugar to it (same rule with cereal, no matter what age, you always add less sugar than what manufacturers put in it).

But you intrigued me with this steel cut oatmeal/rice cooker thing! It never would have occurred to me to try that and whenever I get a rice cooker I think I might try that!

Jane said...

I love my rice cooker--it's good for oatmeal AND rice, as well as other cooked cereals. I also like walnuts (1/4 oz.) and sliced apples and peaches cooked right in 1/2 C. dry oats with a good helping of cinnamon. It makes breakfast my faavorite meal.

mthorn2000 said...

cheerios, PB on toast, chocolate & PB granola and a Diet-MD to wash it down and get my caffeine fix. Might have to try a rice cooker though