Ask the kids what kind of cereal they want from the grocery store, and their answers will include almost every concoction of sugar-coated morsels imaginable.
The last thing you want to do when shopping is make the wrong choice(s), although there is one right choice that is a healthier alternative, even if the young ’uns won’t see it that way at first. Think about reaching across the cereal aisle and buying one of those big canisters of oatmeal, the kind where you can pour bowl after bowl each morning without fretting over the amount of sugar and corn syrup being pumped into their growing bodies.
Oatmeal might be the blandest of cereal choices available, but for the sake of good health – including your own, bland might be best. Yes, grownups, this message is directed at you as well. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, perhaps a bowl a day of unsugared oatmeal will keep the cardiologist away.
Oatmeal is Heart-Healthy Whole Grain
Fussy kids look at a bowl of oatmeal squished into milk as that pasty porridge you read about in a kids’ fable, when in fact they, and you, are getting a heaping helping of whole-grain goodness that nutritionists peg as heart healthy. “Oatmeal is a terrific source of heart-healthy whole grains,” Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist, writes on cnn.com. “Slow-cooked oatmeal can be reheated without losing any nutritional benefits, so that is certainly a good approach if you like the taste of slow-cooked oats.”
Weight Management Benefits to Oatmeal
What makes oatmeal a healthy step up from those sugary boxed cereals, some of which have made icons out of cartoon characters featured in TV commercials dating back decades? For one thing, experts say, the old saying that oatmeal “can stick to your ribs” has some merit to it: it can make you feel fuller longer than other cereals, curbing a desire to overeat as the day wears on. Oatmeal also is high in fiber, to include a soluble fiber, beta glucan, which has been linked to regulating healthy bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. Oatmeal also contains lignans, likewise found in broccoli and apricots, which, according to The Huffington Post, is a “plant chemical protective” that helps maintain cardiovascular health.
There are different kinds of oatmeal, such as instant oats, rolled oats, steel-cut oats and Scottish oats, among others, which take varying amounts of time to cook. Gluten-free is available, just read labels to find what works best for you and your loved ones.
Being Bland Isn't Required
For anyone sitting at the breakfast table and turning up their noses at that steaming bowl of oatmeal, this is the ideal time to piggyback other healthy foods, using them as confections on the oatmeal in place of that spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Blueberries, banana slices, strawberries and low-fat yogurt, make tasty oatmeal dresser-uppers. Raisins, walnuts and pecans, too. Just beware brands of oatmeal with, say, brown sugar already added – they have a lot of appeal for the sweet tooth in all of us, but start with bland and go from there.
So there you have it, a healthy bowl of Mama Bear’s morning porridge to get you, and your kids, off to a healthy start to the day. Eat up and enjoy!