Bivins: January 2019 is National Oatmeal Month

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 16, 2019

January is oatmeal month and oatmeal is a whole grain that can be a delicious, warm way to add whole grains to your eating patterns during the cold winter months. Oats are full of important nutrients like vitamins B and E, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. They contain beta-glucan, a special kind of fiber, found to be especially effective in lowering cholesterol and insoluble dietary fiber, which has anticancer properties and keeps our bowel clean. Best of all, oats, like most other whole grains, can help us maintain a healthy weight once we’ve reached it.

There are several types of oatmeal such as rolled oats, quick cooking oats, instant oats, oat flour, and steel-cut oats. All these types have similar nutritional values, but many times…

“Instant oatmeal” has other ingredients added – such as salt. Check the “Nutrition Facts” label if reducing dietary sodium is important to you.   

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“Quick” or “quick-cooking” oatmeal will take slightly longer to cook than instant version.  It is usually made without added salt – check the “Nutrition Facts” label for sodium

“Old-fashioned” oats take longer to cook than instant and quick/quick-cooking oat and also are usually made without salt.

Remember, a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal provides a delicious and healthy start to a day.

Here are some Ideas to boost nutrition and flavor further:

Make oatmeal with calcium-rich milk instead of water.  Follow the same directions given for water, just use milk instead.

Toss in raisins or dried cranberries and chopped walnuts.

Add fresh or frozen berries or other fruits like apples, bananas, cherries, mangos or peaches.

Mix in ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce.

Sprinkle oatmeal with cinnamon for sweetness, and possible health benefits.  Cinnamon is one of the sweeter adds flavor without calories. With a dusting of cinnamon, a smaller amount sweetener, or perhaps none at all, may be needed.

If eating oatmeal isn’t something you even want to consider try using rolled oats in baked products like cookies, muffins, breads or other desserts. Or they can be used in place of bread crumbs in meat loaf or patties. According to the Whole Grains Council the benefits of whole grains include reduced risks of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease and better weight maintenance.  Combine a new goal of eating more servings of whole grains with a regular exercise program for a healthier 2019!  Source: Nancy Frecks and Alice Henneman, Extension Educators

Here are two great recipes to try:

Quick Berry Oatmeal 1 serving

1/4 cup quick oats

1/2 cup non-fat milk)

1/ 2 cup frozen berries erry

2 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)

1 Tablespoon finely chopped nuts (optional)

1. Place oats, milk, berries and brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover. Microwave 1 ½ to 2 minutes until hot, stirring at least once. Watch mixture carefully so that it does not cook over the container.

2. Top with nuts and enjoy! Each serving contains: 154 calories, 1 g fat, 7 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 52 mg sodium without brown sugar and nuts (and with brown sugar and nuts: 225 calories, 6 g fat, 8 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate and 54 mg of sodium). NOTE:  *If serving to young children, chop nuts finely to reduce choking hazard.

Cook’s Notes: Consider using a larger bowl or even a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup with “space” at the top to heat oatmeal if problems with overflowing occur. Adding berries after cooking oatmeal to help mixture to “cool down” is another option. Be careful when serving to young children to make sure that bowl and oatmeal are not too hot. You may consider placing oatmeal in another bowl before serving.

Berry Good Overnight Oatmeal – No Recipe Required


Oatmeal (old-fashioned or quick cooking)


Yogurt (any flavor)

Frozen or fresh berries

For each serving of overnight night meal, just remember:  Add 1/ 2 cup each of these ingredients beginning with oatmeal.  Follow with milk, then yogurt and end with berries