We at the First Nations School Breakfast Program think oats are one of the best breakfast foods for children and parents alike. Here are some of the reasons why.
Studies show that eating oats and oat-based meals in the morning suppresses appetite, increases satiety and reduces food intake later in the day, all contributing to the management of a healthy weight.
Oatmeal is a rich source of soluble fiber, which is also found in apples, pears, prunes and barley. Soluble fiber inhibits the body’s absorption of cholesterol. One-and-a-half cups of oatmeal contains more than five grams of fiber, which is enough to reduce your cholesterol level.
Since oatmeal is high in fiber, which is heart-healthy, it offers many cardiovascular benefits, including a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure. A high fiber diet will stabilize blood sugar levels and won’t cause the mid-morning slumps, which comes from eating a lot of sugar and carbohydrates in the morning.
Aside from fiber, oatmeal is also a good source of magnesium, which regulates the body’s insulin and glucose levels so it is said to help prevent diabetes.
Because oatmeal is so rich in fiber, it will make you fuller for a longer period of time. Fiber will increase the viscosity of the stomach’s contents so that it will take longer to empty. Feeling full for a longer period of time will also prevent the need to snack on sugary or salty foods throughout the day. Research has linked a lower risk of obesity to children who regularly eat oatmeal.
Simple directions for making oatmeal:
In a small pot, add 1 cup of large rolled oat to 2 cups of water. Place it on medium-high heat, just until the water comes to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to low and place a lid on the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, until the oats are soft and tender and most of the water has cooked off. You can add more water if you like your oatmeal smooth and thin, or use slightly less if you want a thick oatmeal.
To add flavor without too many calories, mix in some fruit like apples, cranberries or blueberries or add a bit of agave syrup to plain oats to give them a sweet taste.
Stay tuned to our blog for more tips and recipes about how to make breakfast a healthier part of your day.