Steel cut oats are a nutrient rich way to start your day

Steel cut oats are a whole grain food that provides a great source of fiber and protein.

As the frosty mornings become more frequent, fueling up with a warm, healthy breakfast becomes especially comforting encourages Michigan State University Extension. To start your day off right consider using steel cut oats in your breakfast routine. These power oats come from the same plant as instant, rolled or other oat products, but they offer more of a nutritional punch. They also take longer for the body to digest because of the way they are made. This results in less of an insulin response, more stable blood sugar levels and keeping hunger at bay.

For steel cut oats, the oat kernel is passed through slender blades that cut the oat into thin slices. Rolled or quick oats are steamed and then rolled to help them cook faster. Since steel cut oats don’t go through this process, they do take a bit longer to cook (around 15-20 minutes). According to Tufts University experts, soaking the oats in cold water overnight can reduce the actual cooking time to 10-15 minutes.

The increase in cooking time is worth it though. More fiber and protein is retained in the steel cut oat process than in the rolled or quick oats process. For one-quarter cup of uncooked steel cut oats, there is five grams of fiber. Two of those five grams are insoluble and helpful in improving blood sugar levels for people with diabetes; along with potentially lowering the glycemic response to a meal. The glycemic index for steel cut oats is 42 while rolled oats is 55 and instant is 83.

In addition to being a good source of B vitamins and iron, steel cut oats also host seven grams of protein in a one-quarter cup uncooked serving. This is a great morning energy source.

The USDA Choose MyPlate campaign recommends that at least half of the grains consumed are whole grain. Choose MyPlate also provides an overview of what a whole grain is and common grain food items. Steel cut oats are definitely a whole grain and thus contribute to the sensation of being full. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that the average American should consume six servings of grains each day. A serving of steel cut oats is one-quarter cup.

Steel cut oats can also be referred to as Irish or Scottish oats and can be found in most grocery stores. Add some nuts, berries or apples to liven things up in your hot oatmeal. These oats can also be added to muffins, cookies, breads or apple crunch to name a few. For recipe suggestions, visit the steel cut oats website.

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