I eat oats almost every day. Old- fashioned oats, steel cut oats, quick cooking oats; I like them all. Sometimes I even grind up oats in my high speed blender and turn them into flour to create baked goods. The fiber in oats, a great deal of which is soluble (absorbs liquid) has been shown to help lower total and LDL cholesterol levels and to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Here’s my favorite brand of steel cut oats:
Overnight oats are a great way to get a head start on breakfast. You can make cold versions by soaking oats and other ingredients with milk or yogurt but at this time of year I like to throw my oats in the slow cooker and have a nice hot breakfast ready when I get up in the morning.
Here are a couple of slow cooker oatmeal recipes that I love. These recipes make 2 servings each. I have a small slow cooker (1 quart) that I use to make this amount. If you only have a larger slow cooker you may want to multiply the recipe by 2 or 3 to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Chocolate Covered Cherry Oats
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup frozen cherries, thawed (I buy no sugar added variety)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons sweetener of choice (I use maple syrup)
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups water
Add all ingredients except cherries to crockpot and cook overnight on low heat. Just before eating stir the cherries in. You can top this with coconut, almonds, and your choice of milk.
Banana Bread Crockpot Oatmeal
- ½ cup steel cut oats
- 2 very ripe bananas – mashed
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. The cinnamon will rise to the top so stir thoroughly before serving.
One kind of oats that I never buy are the packets of flavored instant oats. While they may be convenient they often have too much sugar and other ingredients I’d rather avoid. You can save money and control what you put in your body better by buying the big tub of plain old fashioned or quick cooking oats and adding your own fruits and flavorings.
There is no magic to “instant” oats. I get good results by cooking 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats and one cup of water in the microwave for 90 seconds. Here’s a tip to control portion sizes. Keep a measuring cup (1/2 cup size) in the oat container so you always serve yourself just the right amount.