While we’re talking about weight loss and being healthy, let me share with you a new (to me) food that I have been enjoying recently: steel cut oats. I referenced these back in this post but didn’t really go in to detail. Steel cut oats are basically what oatmeal (as most of us know it) is before it gets flattened out. You can read more about them on Wikipedia. Steel cut oats are small cylinders; if you rolled those out you get rolled oats (the non-quick cooking oatmeal), and then if you cut them up small then steam then and roll them out you would get quick-cooking oatmeal (the kind that just takes a minute – used in most oatmeal cookie recipes), and to get instant oatmeal the oats get cut up small, rolled out, pre-cooked, and dried. So using our South Beach principles, which tell us that the less processed something is the better, we can see the continuum that steel cut > rolled > quick cooking > instant (for those of you who don’t adore math like I do, that means that steel cut is the best for you and instant is the worst). Steel cut oats have a lower glycemic index than instant oats, which means your body takes longer to digest them and they don’t raise your blood sugar as fast. Since starting South Beach I’ve always eaten the rolled oats – the not quick cooking kind, although they still only take 2 minutes. I’ve been hearing about steel cut oats and knew they were even healthier than rolled, so I bought some awhile back and finally decided to give them a try.
Steel cut oats take much longer to cook than other types of oatmeal. Mine took 20 minutes. What I’ve heard other people say they do and what I decided to do as well was to cook a big batch at once to use during the week. The package gave instructions for cooking four servings so I cooked those four servings, portioned them out into containers, and each morning I can just heat up one container.
Each 1/4 cup of dry oats yielded 3/4 cup of cooked oats. The package says 1/4 dry is a serving (170 calories) so I divided my cooked oats into 3/4 cup servings for breakfast. In the morning I just get out one of my pre-cooked servings, heat it up, add my toppings, and I have a good, healthy breakfast. As far as taste goes, the steel cut oats are a little chewier than regular oatmeal but that doesn’t bother me. I like them.
The first time I ate them I tried an apple/cinnamon/nutmeg combination that I found here but I didn’t like it – the spices were too strong for me.
Then I tried a variation of the banana coconut oatmeal found here and I liked it a lot better. That’s what I’ve been eating since. (Sorry, I keep forgetting to take a picture)
For my breakfast I use one serving of oats (3/4 cup cooked), one banana chopped up, a splash of milk, a sprinkle of sweetener (Splenda, whatever), a tiny bit of Smart Balance, and about a tablespoon of coconut. That comes out to about 320 calories. Not only is it yummy, but it is incredibly filling. I usually have to have a morning snack between breakfast and lunch but on the days I’ve eaten this oatmeal I haven’t felt hungry until lunch.
I haven’t yet tried my chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal using the steel cut oats, but I intend to soon.