January is a time of New Year’s health resolutions, cold weather, and cozy foods. With that in mind, it makes sense why January is also home to National Oatmeal Month. Whether you are eating oatmeal for its health-promoting abilities or just to warm up on a crisp winter morning, the flavor options are endless. In honor of what I like to think of as one of the “workhorses” of breakfast, here are three fun facts about oats:
- All types of oats (steel-cut, old-fashioned, and instant) start out as what is called an “oat groat.” The difference is in the amount of processing they undergo. Steel-cut oats get their name because they are cut with a steel blade while old-fashioned oats, also known as rolled oats, are flattened and steamed. The degree of processing cuts down on cook time; steel-cut oats take the longest and instant oats are the quickest.
- Oats are a great fiber food! With around 5 grams of fiber in just half a cup of oats, oatmeal can be a perfect solution if you are trying to increase your fiber intake. Which, for most Americans, is probably not a bad idea, seeing as fiber is one of the four nutrients of public health concern. If you consider the other three nutrients of public health concern–calcium, potassium, and vitamin D–it is easy to see that real cow’s milk, which provides those three nutrients, is a great companion to oats.
- They may keep you full longer! Thanks to fiber, oats can take longer to digest, and this can help prevent us from feeling hungry again soon after eating breakfast. In addition to fiber, pairing protein with your carbohydrates at meals can be another way to help stay full longer. Adding dairy foods in the form of fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are easy ways to incorporate more protein into your meals. Add dairy to your oatmeal by making it with real cow’s milk instead of water or top it off with a creamy scoop of yogurt.
This year holds big hopes for everyone. If one of those hopes is to make better food choices, use National Oatmeal Month to explore all the delicious ways you can pair healthy oats and nutritious dairy together in your diet like these delicious recipes:
Snap a photo of your favorite way to combine real dairy and oats and tweet to @TheDairyRD!