Cooking Steel Cut Oats
Oatmeal has always been considered a healthy food but is it? There are many different type of oats and not all are alike in terms of nutrition. Of all the types, the steel cut variety contains the most nutrients and is the best choice for your health.
Why are Steel Cut Oats the Most Nutritious?
Rolled, instant, and quick oats may be more convenient to prepare but they also undergo more processing. Processing reduces the nutritional values of the oats. Steel cut oats are the closest to their natural state so they maintain significantly more nutrients.
Why Eat Steel Cut Oatmeal?
Cooking oats for breakfast is a tradition that goes back many generations. Breakfast is generally considered the most important meal of the day because it is the first meal after breaking your "fast." If we start the day with a coffee and a muffin we have only succeeded in elevating our blood sugar levels and this is a recipe for weight gain and poor health. This habit may also lead to diseases such as diabetes.
Maintaining blood sugar levels consistently throughout the day is important in achieving a healthy body weight. A low glycemic (low sugar) breakfast is the best way to nourish the body by providing the fuel we need to begin an active day. The body needs food that is going to satisfy our hunger and keep us feeling full until lunch or last least until a mid morning snack. Steel cut oats are an excellent choice that fulfills this nutritional requirement.
Nature's Field of Oats
Steel Cut Oatmeal and Nutrition
There is no question that oatmeal is a healthy food as long as you are avoiding the highly processed instant version. Oatmeal has been proven to be beneficial to our health in these ways:
- Instrumental in diabetes prevention by lowering blood sugar levels
- Protects the heart and prevents cardiac disease
- Helps to controls blood pressure and keep it within normal ranges
- Aids in weight loss
A diet that includes oats will contribute significantly to your cardiovascular health and prevent the development of diabetes that is so common in North America today. It is a good idea to think about adding oatmeal as a staple in your diet.
Bob's Red Mill is a well known organic brand of steel cut oats. It is available in most stores that have a health food section or you can order it online.
What are Steel Cut Oats?
Steel Cut oatmeal is the least processed type of oats. Oatmeal is made from the "groat" or the grain of the oat which makes it a whole grain food. However, there are different levels of processing and the less processing the better. We want our food to be as close to its natural state as possible.
Steel cut oats are made when the groat is simply chopped up with a steel blade knife. This is only one level of processing.
Rolled oats are steamed and rolled and flattened. That is three levels of processing.
Instant oats are processed even further in order to make them instant so this makes them the least nutritious.
Steel cut oats are also known as Irish Oats as they are commonly prepared in Ireland for use in porridge. Rolled oats are more common in England and thus became the more common oatmeal in North America. Prepared oatmeal is generally known as porridge UK.
This steel cut type of oat is now gaining in popularity as the healthiest version of oatmeal.
The Taste of Steel Cut Oats: Just Add Berries
Steel cut oatmeal is the most flavorful because they have undergone the least amount of change and therefore retain their natural flavor. The flavor is slightly nutty.
In spite of this nutty flavor oatmeal can be pretty bland and unappetizing on its own so brown sugar or syrup is often added as a topping. Adding this sugar topping changes the nutrition as it now becomes a high-glycemic food. The best way to eat steel cut oats is with fruit if you desire sweetness.
One of the easiest and healthiest fruits to add is blueberries. Topping the oatmeal with lots of blueberries and having a blueberry in every bite adds that sweetness that we crave and makes the oatmeal more enjoyable. If you don't care for blueberries try strawberries, raspberries or any berry for that matter. When using strawberries try cutting them up into tiny chunks so you have a little sweetness in every bite.
Quick Steel Cut Oats Recipe
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 7 - 10 minutes
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup steel cut oats
- 1 cup blueberries or berry of choice
- Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan
- Add the steel cut oats and reduce heat to medium
- Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until desired consistency (longer will produce a dryer oatmeal)
- Remove from heat, put in your favorite bowl and add as much fruit as you like!
- For more than one serving just double or triple the amounts. For four people the ratio is one cup oats to 4 cups water.
Steel Cut Oats with Cinnamon and Almonds
Cinnamon is a Super Food
Cinnamon is becoming known for its healthy properties. Research has shown that it is instrumental in keeping your blood sugar in check.There is some speculation that it may even lower blood sugar levels but more investigation is needed to confirm this finding.
This makes cinnamon the perfect partner for a low glycemic breakfast. Cinnamon has many other benefits and one study demonstrates that it plays a role in preventing the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Almonds are Super Healthy too!
Almonds are also a low glycemic food that lowers that troublesome blood sugar. Although almonds are high in fat studies have proven that those who eat them frequently are actually thinner than the average population who rarely consume nuts.
Other benefits include keeping bones and teeth healthy, protecting your arteries and supporting brain activity which is also preventative of Alzheimer's and similar to cinnamon. So put these foods together and you have an incredibly nutritious breakfast
Steel Cut Oats with Almonds and Cinnamon
- Prepare the oats as in the recipe above.
- At about the halfway mark of cooking add one teaspoon of chopped almonds.
- Sprinkle with a generous amount of cinnamon to taste.
- Mix it up well.
- Continue cooking for the remaining time.
Super healthy and tastes good too!
Overnight Steel Cut Oats
How would you like your breakfast already to go first thing in the morning? This super easy recipe for steel cut oatmeal is perfect and serves four; great for the whole family.
Here is what you need:
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup Steel cut oatmeal
- Pinch of salt
- A large saucepan
Here what you do:
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil
- Add a pinch of salt to the boiling water
- Add 1 cup of steel cut oats
- Cook Oats for 1 minute
If oats rise up too much in the pot, give it a stir or turn the heat down slightly. Turn the heat off when the minute is up and leave it in the pot covered overnight.
In the morning, turn on the heat to medium and give them a stir to heat through.
That's all there is to it, now add your favorite fruit, some cinnamon whatever you like!
Steel Cut Oats and You....
Have you ever tried Steel Cut Oats?
Steel Cut Oat Recipes - Online Resources
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Sharon Bellissimo