Enjoy The Benefits Of Oats By Making Oatmeal Overnight

Oats have more protein, healthy fats, and fewer carbohydrates than many other whole grains, making it an excellent part of a diabetes care diet.

The soluble fiber in oats helps control blood sugar by slowing digestion and glucose absorption. Eating oats is also associated with better cholesterol and blood pressure numbers, and its phytonutrients have antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Oatmeal and oats can also assist with weight management by helping us feel full longer. Australian researchers rated oatmeal first among breakfast fare for satisfying morning appetites. The slightly sweet oat flavor may help assuage our sweet tooth as well.

Oat Basics

Oats (Avena sativa) are different from most commonly consumed grains because they rarely have the bran and germ removed during processing. This means if we see oats, or oat flour on a label we are likely getting whole grain.

Most oats sold in the U.S. are steamed and flattened, or rolled, a process that allows oats to cook more quickly, and have a softer consistency. Amazingly, an 18 ounce box or bag of old fashioned oats contains approximately 26,000 rolled oats.

People who prefer a heartier oatmeal texture need to look for steel-cut oats, also called Irish or Scottish oats. Steel-cut means the entire oat kernel is sliced into smaller pieces so water can penetrate the grain during cooking. The result is a thick but creamy porridge that many people prefer.

Anyone watching carbs or calories should consider avoiding instant oatmeals since many of them have added sugars. However, we can still keep breakfast prep time to a minimum by making our oatmeal overnight.

Slow-Cooked Overnight Oatmeal

With the help of a trusty slow cooker, oatmeal is no longer a dish that needs to be made in the morning:

  • Preparation. Combine 8 cups water, 2 cups steel-cut oats, 1/3 cup dried cranberries, 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Put on the lid, and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the oats are tender, and the porridge is creamy.
  • Leftovers. Keep the leftover oatmeal in your fridge for quick breakfasts the rest of the week. Just add 1 or 2 tablespoons water to a single serving and reheat in the microwave (1 to 2 minutes).

This recipe makes 8 one cup servings; one serving provides: 188 calories, 3 g fat, 9 g fiber, 34 g carbohydrates, 6 g sugars, and 6 g protein.

Portable, No-Cook Oatmeal

For those who don’t want to bother with a slow cooker, oatmeal can still be made overnight—and even tossed in a bag to eat at work.

  • Basic Recipe. For one serving, simply mix 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of salt in a mason jar - or other type of jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for up to three days. (Do not use quick cooking oats, or you’ll end up with mush.)
  • Embellishments. Before eating the oatmeal stir in sweeteners, spices, or creamers such as a dollop of plain yogurt, or ricotta, 1 or 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, some cinnamon, cardamom, or a tablespoon of almond butter - whatever is preferred. Top the cereal off with a few berries, chopped or slivered nuts, sliced banana, or a bit of dried fruit.

Eat this easy, overnight oatmeal cold, at room temperature, or warmed via microwave. It should help you feel full and satisfied through most of a busy morning.

Sources: Whole Grains Council; EatingWell; EatingWell
Photo credit: EatingWell.com

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