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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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A Tribute to Oatmeal

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A bowl of oatmeal with berries and brown sugar. This past Monday marked National Oatmeal day, and what’s a better way to celebrate than a warm bowl of oats in the morning? Growing up I’d have instant oatmeal in the car ride to school. My mom wasn’t a huge fan of oatmeal, or so she thought, and the microwave type is quick and easy for kiddos who know how to use a microwave to prepare. I’m not knocking the instant oats, but until I tried the real thing, I didn’t know what I was missing -- and neither did my mom.

After making a homemade oats recipe for her, she turned into an oatmeal eater, and now requests it when she comes over to my house. It’s not like it takes a while to make homemade oatmeal; from start to finish it's less than 10 minutes (unless you are using steel cut oats), but that extra few minutes of love makes a big flavor difference.

I like having oatmeal on a chilly fall day, especially with seasonal flavors of pumpkin spice or caramel apple. Talk about comfort food! But oatmeal is more than satisfying; it’s also good for your heart too. The soluble fiber in the oatmeal not only keeps you fuller for longer, but it helps to lower cholesterol, so it’s a win-win.

My bowl of oats depends on my mood. It can be made sweet or savory, hot or cold, crunchy or creamy. I love its personality. My boys would rather stick to the traditional variety with a sprinkle of brown sugar, whereas I enjoy a little spice. Here are my favorite toppings and mix-ins that keeps me coming back to a bowl of oats each morning.

Favorite Toppings and Mix-ins

  • Dried apples and raisins
  • Nuts- walnuts, pecans, pistachios, and sliced almonds
  • Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flax seed
  • Unsweetened flaked coconut
  • A spoonful of peanut butter
  • Fresh fruit- blueberries, strawberries, mango, pomegranate seeds
  • Yogurt
  • Dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • Spices- cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract
  • Milk- vanilla almond milk, soy milk, or skim milk
  • Fruit/veggie purees- bananas, sweet potato, applesauce, pumpkin, butternut squash

Outside of the bowl of oats, oatmeal can be added to many foods like granola, casseroles, meatloaf, smoothies, pancakes, breads, and cookies.

How do you like your oats?

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Tags: Healthy Eating

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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