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Something to Chew On – Steel Cut Oats

Steel Cut OatsHere’s something to chew on…breakfast is an important part of the day, for both yourself and your children, but it’s not always easy to come up with new and interesting breakfast ideas.

A good friend recently asked me if there was a difference between steel cut oats and regular oats, so I thought I’d share the answer with you, along with a recipe for one of my favorite breakfasts. The answer is yes, steel cut oats (sometimes referred to as Irish oats) are the “whole” oat; being the whole grain rather than a “rolled” version, they do pack just a slightly more of a healthful punch (i.e.: no saturated fat, less calories, and lower on the glycemic index.) In other words, oatmeal as you typically know it is “processed” or “rolled”. Don’t get me wrong, regular oatmeal is still a very healthy option, but it’s always nice to add some variety to your regular routine, and breakfast is a great place to try it out with easy to prepare steel cut oats. They take just a little longer (about 20 minutes) but it’s definitely worth the wait, and just like rice or any other whole grain, you can refrigerate the leftovers and eat it again the next day. Another option for a family who is up and out the door extra early, prepare a casserole dish with all the ingredients the night before, and then put it in the oven in the morning before you take a shower. By the time you’re ready, so is your breakfast.

One other important note, if you’re used to eating instant oatmeal that comes in those “flavored packets” do yourself a favor, leave those behind! They contain added sugars, artificial flavors, and preservatives; better to return to the plain, unsweetened variety. It’s much healthier to sweeten with a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup than to consume all the added sugar in those flavored varieties. Instead, top off your plain rolled or steel cut oats with some of your favorite fresh fruit.

Easy Steel Cut Oats
Cook the oats in a 2 to 1 water to oats ratio (i.e.: 2 cups of water to 1 cup of dry oats). Heat the water until it boils and then add the oats, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add one teaspoon of maple syrup and top with fresh berries.

Optional variation: Whisk 2 tsp. pure maple syrup with 1/2 cup of pain, unsweetened, organic greek yogurt and serve over oats with sliced bananas and walnuts.

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