January is National Oatmeal Month

Oatmeal is a more soluble fiber than any other grain, with excellent health benefits. - Submitted photo
Oatmeal is a more soluble fiber than any other grain, with excellent health benefits. - Submitted photo

PINE BLUFF -- January is National Oatmeal Month, which is a good time for people to start carrying through on their New Year's resolutions to improve their health by incorporating healthy whole grains into their diet, according to Teresa Henson, Extension specialist-program outreach coordinator at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

"Oatmeal is a more soluble fiber than any other grain, with excellent health benefits," Henson said in a news release. "Some benefits are good digestion, controlling blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, managing weight, supporting a healthy immune system and keeping your stomach fuller longer during the day."

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, oatmeal is a healthy whole grain food that is nutritious, heart-healthy and high in fiber. Oatmeal contains a slew of vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, B vitamins and magnesium, just to name a few, the release said.

Oatmeal is a warm, nutritious breakfast food that people can enjoy every day, Henson said. When selecting oatmeal for breakfast, pick from various oats -- old-fashioned, quick-cook, rolled or instant. For a fast approach to fixing oatmeal, purchase the packets of oatmeal that only need milk or water to cook.

Henson recommends trying this recipe, provided by the University of Nevada, Reno Extension Healthy Aging Program for a fuss-free breakfast oatmeal:

Greek Yogurt Oatmeal

Ingredients

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 banana -- sliced (optional)

Pinch of sea salt

1 1/4 cup water, milk or a blend of both

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

1/4 cup Greek yogurt + more if you'd like

Directions

Add oats, banana slices and sea salt to a pot. Add water/milk and stir to combine. Add cinnamon and vanilla, if using.

Heat over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Be sure to stir the oats several times while cooking to make sure the banana slices melt into the oats. The oatmeal is done when all the liquid is absorbed, and the oats are thick and fluffy.

Remove the oat mixture from the heat and stir in Greek yogurt. Start with a quarter cup and add more if preferred. Transfer the oat mixture to a bowl and top with favorite oatmeal toppings. Use banana slices, blueberries, granola or peanut butter as suggested toppings.

Instead of using the banana to add sweetness, add other natural sweeteners, Henson said. Some options include maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar or even Stevia.

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