10 Reasons Why We Eat This Nutritious Breakfast Dish Made With Trader Joe's Steel Cut Oats
I want to share with you a breakfast dish that my wife and I have found to be the tastiest and healthiest possible start for our day. It is based on our personal experience over a number of years. It is satisfying, has a low glycemic effect, helps digestion and fosters regularity. What more could we ask of a breakfast dish?
I'll start off by giving you the full recipe. Then I'll explain how I prepare it, Next I'll explain the 10 reasons why we think it's the best ever. Finally, I'll break down its nutrient content and offer a few closing suggestions.
Ingredients -- For 2 Servings
- 2 tablespoons Trader Joe's Steel Cut Oats
- 1/2 apple, chopped
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, Craisins, by Ocean Spray
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon, ground
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- 10 whole grapes, halved
- 4 whole strawberries, sliced
- 1/2 pint non-fat milk
Ingredients -- Makes 2 Servings
Instructions -- For 2 Servings
- Get out 2 cereal bowls. Put a coffee scoop of Trader Joe's Steel Cut Oats in each bowl. (2 scoops = 1/4 cup per 2 servings)
- Wash an apple and slice it apple in half. (Save the other half apple for tomorrow's breakfast.) Slice and dice the remainder. Divide the chopped apples into two piles. Place one pile in each bow.
- Spread 1/4 cup (about 1 fistful) of walnut halves onto a cutting board. (I use Kirkland Walnut Halves.) Slice and dice into chopped pieces. Divide the chopped walnuts into two piles. Place one part in each bowl.
- Put 1/4 cup (about a fistful) of Ocean Spray Craisins onto the cutting board. (We buy them at Costco.) Divide the Crasins equally in the two bowls.
- Measure 1/2 pint of non-fat milk (fortified) and divide equally into the two bowls.
- Place the two bowls into a microwave oven and cook on high for 2 1/2 minutes.
- Remove bowls from microwave and spread 1 teaspoon of cinnamon over each bowl (2 teaspoons in all).
- Now add fruit. Cut one-half a banana into slices, and place half of the slices in each bowl. Slice 10 grapes and place half in each bowl. Slice 4 strawberries and place half in each bowl.
- Serve! Yummy! This makes two breakfast dishes -- one for my wife, the other for me. If you are single, you can place one bowl (before cooking) in the fridge to use tomorrow.
Why We Eat This Nutritious Breakfast Dish Every Day
My wife and I enjoy this healthy dish every day. It includes fruit and nuts, milk and oats, fiber and essential fats. But there's so much more. It tastes good. It includes essential vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and flavonoids.
Let's take a closer look at each ingredient:
1. Steel Cut Oats
Oats have been cultivated for millennia. Steel cut oats are produced by removing the hull of the oat grain and then slicing the inside kernel into pinhead-sized pieces . Steel cut oats have a slightly nutty texture compared to tradition oatmeal.
Traditionally, steel cut oats are cooked longer than what we recommend in the directions above. While Trader Joe's cooking directions call for 3 minutes in a microwave, followed by stirring, and then followed by 2-3 more minutes in the microwave. That results in a more porridge-like consistency,
We like the somewhat nutty taste and the longer digestion time that goes with our shorter cook time.
Oats contain beta-gluten, a soluble fiber that may reduce your low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol while maintaining your good cholesterol. Oats are a low glycemic food -- that means that after eating your blood sugar doesn't spike like it does following a high carb meal. And your hunger is more satisfied for a much longer period of time.
There is an old folk medicine tradition -- "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." We believe there is some truth to that old saying. So we include apple in every breakfast using this recipe.
Apples are rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids. Apples contain phytonutrients and antioxidants which have been shown to reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
We slice and dice a half-apple including the apple skin which contains essential nutrients. The chopped apple, cooked according to our recipe, has good taste and texture while retaining its food value.
We enjoy walnuts for breakfast because of their crunchy texture and great taste. More than that, however, the nutrients in walnuts are essential to good health.
Chronic inflammation can lead to serious diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer's. Walnuts are anti-inflammatory and therefore help protect against chronic disease.
Walnuts have more antioxidant activity than any other common nut. It contains vitamin E, melatonin and polyphenols. Walnuts help prevent oxidative damage to LDL (bad cholesterol) thereby helping to reduce atherosclerosis in your arteries.
Walnuts also contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid. No other tree nut is as rich in ALA.
Antioxidant properties of ALA tend to lower the level of blood sugar, reduce inflammation, slow skin aging, and improve nerve function.
One ounce of walnuts (two servings in our recipe above) contains 2.57 grams of ALA. The National Institute of Medicine recommends a daily intake of at least 1.1 grams for females 14 and over, and 1.6 grams for males.
We think that the walnuts in our breakfast dish are a definite daily dose of "good health."
Craisins is a dried whole cranberry product by Ocean Spray Cranberries. They are produced with just a bit of added sugar to offset the cranberry's slightly tart flavor, We find Craisins a tasty fruit to add -- not only to our breakfast dish -- but to many of our other dishes as well.
Cranberries contain xyloglucans, a type of carbohydrate that good gut bacteria need for energy.
The anthocyanins in cranberries give them their deep red color. Anthocyanins (and other dietary bioactive compounds) promote good health throughout life.
The anti-bacterial properties of cranberries help prevent some forms of harmful bacteria from causing urinary tract infections. Its high content of anti-oxidant polyphenols fights against harmful free radicals.
Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, support the immune and digestive systems. But probiotics need prebiotics to be effective. Prebiotics are food ingredients that fuel both the probiotics you consume and the good bacteria in your gut. Cranberry carbohydrates have that prebiotic effect.
We buy Craisins at Costco's in the 64 oz. bag.
5. Milk -- Nonfat
For most people, milk has long been associated with good health -- from mother's milk after birth, to nutrition for growing children
We use nonfat milk fortified with vitamins D and A. That's because we want to reduce saturated fats in our diet and increase our intake of vitamins and minerals. There is some debate about whether whole milk or skimmed milk is healthier, but our preference is for skimmed milk. We get some saturated fats in other meals.
Also, there is some debate about whether whole milk or skimmed milk tastes better. We've gotten used the skimmed milk without the thicker butterfat taste.
Both skimmed milk and whole milk point to a reduced risk of type II diabetes.
Ancient people have valued the medicinal use of this spice for millennia. We enjoy cinnamon sprinkled over the dish for its added taste and for contributions to healthy living.
Cinnamon is known to contain antioxidants, such as polyphenols, that help protect against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Like walnuts, it has anti-inflammatory properties that help protect against chronic inflammation.
It helps protect against insulin resistance (a condition that contributes to diabetes) and it helps lower blood sugar levels.
Though not confirmed in human studies, animal studies show that cinnamon may help protect against tau buildup in the brains of animals (a condition associated with Altheimer's disease).
Anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties associated with cinnamaldehyde, the main active ingredient in cinnamon, helps fight infections.
We buy Kirkland Ground Saigon Cinnamon at Costco's in the 10.7 oz. dispenser. According to the label:
"Cinnamon trees are nurtured in the tropical highlands of Vietnam - our ground Saigon Cinnamon rewards cooks with a sweet-hot flavor unmatched by any other cinnamon."
After removing cooking the steel cut oats, Craisins, chopped apples and nuts in the microwave, we add fresh raw and uncooked fruit to our breakfast dish. We like sliced bananas, grapes, and strawberries. By not cooking the fruits, their texture and tastes are preserved.
Bananas are particularly high in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium -- a mineral with many health benefits.
- aid muscle and nerve functioning;
- help reduce blood pressure by offsetting the effects of sodium;
- may help prevent kidney stones and kidney disease;
- contains pectin and resistant starch which tend to increase satiation and moderate blood sugar levels after meals.
Some people claim that extra potassium helps relieve or prevent muscle cramps, although the evidence is mixed.
We like the taste of whole seedless grapes, including the skin. We slice them in half to open up the flesh of the grape. The skin of a grape contains much of its phenolic compounds. Both the skin and the flesh contribute to taste and beneficial effects.
Grapes are particularly rich in vitamins C (a nutrient and powerful antioxidant necessary for connective tissue health) and K (needed for blood clotting and bone health.
Another antioxidant found in grapes is resveratrol, a polyphenol known to help lower blood sugar, protect against heart disease and cancer, and reduce cholesterol levels.
Compounds in grapes -- including resveratrol, lutein, and zeaxanthin -- may protect against common diseases of the eye.
Finally, we add fresh sliced strawberries. We enjoy the color and flavor of fresh strawberries. Strawberries are higher in phenolic antioxidants than many other fruits. They contain dietary fiber and vitamins and minerals that provide many of the health benefits similar to those of grapes.
10. Living Healthy and Aging Gracefully
There you have it!
My wife and I eat this delicious breakfast dish daily, not only because it tastes good, but because it promotes good health and graceful aging.
We affectionately call it MUFA, pronounced "moo-fa" -- short for Mono-Unsaturated-Fatty-Acid."
Based on my recipe and the nutrition data in the source references at the end of this Hub, I came up with a nutrition estimate for one bowl. The following summary uses the Hub tool for rough estimates of the percent of Daily Value (DA) for each nutrient. Following that, a more detailed list is shown in the form of a nutrition label (based on the tool in NutritionLabel.com).
You can see that the two estimates are very close. I am satisfied that they reasonably represent the actual nutrition value of this delicious and nutritious breakfast dish we call MUFA.
Quick Nutrition Summary -- Based on Hub Tool
|Serving size: 1 Bowl|
|Calories from Fat||27|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 3 g||5%|
|Saturated fat 1 g||5%|
|Carbohydrates 52 g||17%|
|Sugar 36 g|
|Fiber 6 g||24%|
|Protein 7 g||14%|
|Cholesterol 7 mg||2%|
|Sodium 86 mg||4%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Detailed Nutrition Summary -- Based on NutritionLabel Tool
US Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database Food and Drug Administration National Institute of Medicine Healthline.com Wikipedia.com Product labels Food Associations Cooperative Extension Service