A few weeks ago I posted a link to Mark Bittman’s opinion piece about how horrible McDonald’s oatmeal is for you. This prompted a question from my friend Jenna about just what is good oatmeal for you then? Well duh. I should have thought to post this earlier! Read on for my super easy, healthy and delicious answer:
Have you heard of steel cut oats before? They get a bad rap because they take longer to prepare than rolled oats or instant oats. However, the only reason you have to cook it longer is because it hasn’t been as processed as the other kinds! And that’s a really good thing. Less processing = more natural. These oats have literally only been cut into two or three pieces by steel as opposed to being steamed, rolled, toasted, re-steamed and further processed.
Take a look at the nutrition panel on a packet of instant oats like Quaker’s Peaches and Cream. McCann’s Steel Cut Oats has 1 g more of fiber, 1 g more of protein, and less than 1 g of sugar compared to Quaker’s 12!
McCann’s ingredient list reads as follows: 100% Whole Grain Irish Oats. Period. There is absolutely nothing in there but oats!
Quaker’s Peaches and Cream Ingredient List:
WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, SUGAR, CREAMING AGENT (MALTODEXTRIN, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL**, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, WHEY, SODIUM CASEINATE, SUGAR, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR), FLAVORED AND COLORED FRUIT PIECES (DEHYDRATED APPLES [TREATED WITH SODIUM SULFITE TO PROMOTE COLOR RETENTION], ARTIFICIAL PEACH FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, ANNATTO COLOR), SALT, CALCIUM CARBONATE, GUAR GUM, OAT FLOUR, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, NIACINAMIDE*, REDUCED IRON, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE*, RIBOFLAVIN*, THIAMIN MONONITRATE*, FOLIC ACID*.
Don’t start your day off by putting all that crap in your body - steel cut are so much better for you. And I’ll tell you how with just a bit of extra effort they can be just as “instant” a breakfast.
Once a week when you have an extra hour at night, this is usually Sunday for me, boil a pot of 4 cups of water. When that’s boiling, add 1 cup (four servings) of McCann’s Steel Cut Oats and stir until it starts to blend and get thicker. Then reduce to a simmer and set a timer for 25 minutes. Stay close by and stir it every five minutes or so. When the timer goes off check the pot and give it a good stir to keep it from sticking to the bottom. Keep the heat on really low and stir consistently for the next two-three minutes then turn the heat off and let it cool. Once the oats have cooled off a bit pour the whole pot into a loaf pan, a large tupperware container, or whatever else you have ready for storage purposes. Gwyneth Paltrow and I use a glass loaf dish covered with saran wrap (she’s obviously spying on me while I eat my breakfast as I did not get this idea from her). Stick this in the fridge and voila! You have breakfast for the next four mornings for a mere 45 minutes worth of “work.” (If stirring a pot of oatmeal is “work” for you then please email me what your job is and how I can get it.)This so easy! You can just sit in your kitchen and read or have the TV on or scrapbook or write love letters to Ryan Reynolds, it is so easy to prepare this while multitasking.
The next morning, you just take out the loaf pan, cut one fourth out and put it in a bowl. I add about half a cup of skim milk, one small sliced up banana, and 5 crushed up walnuts. Stir it up and stick it in the microwave for 1 minute. Take it out, stir it, and put it back in for 1 more minute, adding more milk if you like it creamier. I then add a squeeze of honey or maple syrup (preferably from Ohio).
People say steel cut oats taste a bit nuttier than oats you may be used to, but I can’t tell the difference. It’s warm, gooey, sweet, and is one of the only things I’ve found that if I eat for breakfast I’m not starving by the time lunch rolls around. It keeps me full for a good 4-5 hours. If you start to make this for a few weeks and then try the instant packet kind again it will taste disgustingly sweet and chemically. And don’t let the price scare you - it’s about $9 for the can pictured, but that’s for 20 servings. Enjoy!