Fuel Your Body
Photo by reya via Flickr (cc)
Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day and the meal you shouldn’t skip. Getting a satisfying breakfast can break the bank, but eating a bowl of oatmeal is not only cheaper, it can keep the hunger at bay and benefit the body.
Registered dietitian and sport nutritionist Patricia Chuey explains the advantages of fuelling the body with these heart-healthy whole grains.
“Oatmeal is a very healthy food and is a great addition to a varied diet. It can be served in many different ways,” says Chuey. “For dancers and athletes, it’s a convenient and affordable breakfast option. It’s great source of carbohydrates and it’s filling so it tends to provide more lasting energy than some cold cereals.”
Other than being a source of energy packed with vitamins and other nutrients, oatmeal contains both soluble and insoluble fibre. According to Chuey, soluble fibre helps ‘soak up’ excess sugar or cholesterol in the bloodstream and helps bodies get rid of it, controlling blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, insoluble fibre is indigestible which means it passes through the system and helping to regularly clear waste from the body.
The recommended amount of fibre for Canadian adults is 25-35 grams a day. Since oatmeal has a pretty bland taste, here are a few ways to indulge:
- For more texture and flavour, add dried cranberries, banana, blueberries, raisins or other fruit and/or chopped nuts.
- Add cinnamon, yogurt or honey to sweeten up the taste.
- Need a protein boost? Stir in your favorite protein powder after it's been cooked.
- Substitute hot water with milk
The great thing about oats is that it’s for everyone!
According to Chuey, for people who are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease, certified pure oats (those that aren’t contaminated with other gluten-containing grains) are acceptable in a gluten-free diet. But just because it’s a stellar food doesn’t mean a person should eat it excessively.
“Variety is a key principle of healthy eating,” says the nutritionist who deems ¾ cup of cooked oats is a healthy serving size. “Making oatmeal as part of breakfast a few times a week or incorporating it into baking and cooking works.”
Since oats are a versatile food and not just restricted to oatmeal, they can be added to ground meat mixture for making meatballs, meatloaves or burger patties. Incorporate them into desserts, cookies, bread or create some homemade granola or muesli. Once you begin to use oats, you’ll find lots of other opportunities to use them in a variety of meals.
Patricia Chuey is a registered dietitian/sport nutritionist and author and can be reached at www.patriciachuey.com
By Jackielou Perez
(Published November 02, 2010)