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Make an ‘oat-standing’ breakfast

Published: Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 11:30 a.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 1)

Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day, so why not start the day off right with a bowl of cholesterol-busting steel-cut oatmeal? Steel-cut oats can give you the energy you need to power through your day, while also providing you with a rich, hearty and delicious breakfast.

This super grain contains 2 grams of soluble fiber per serving, which has been shown to help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol when eaten as part of a heart-healthy diet. The soluble fiber acts like a sponge, binding cholesterol in the digestive track and removing it from the body. Steel-cut oats also are a good source of protein and are sodium-free. Because oats are a plant food, they naturally provide phytochemicals, similar to fruits and vegetables.

New research has found that oats have unique antioxidants that may play a role in maintaining artery health. Flavonoids found in oats may protect LDL from oxidation. LDL that is oxidized is thought to possibly lead to hardening of the arteries. In addition, other studies have found flavonoids in oats have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce plaque build-up in the walls of arteries.

Steel-cut oats have gained popularity recently. The difference between steel-cut and old-fashioned oats is mostly texture. Steel-cut oats are cut into two to three pieces, and when cooked have a chewy texture. Old-fashioned oats are steamed and rolled, which reduces the cook time. Nutrition for both varieties is similar, but the cooking time for steel-cut oats is considerably longer than for old-fashioned oats. This makes steel-cut oats perfect for the slow cooker.

Cooking steel-cut oats overnight in the slow cooker is a great way to offer a breakfast that will please everyone. Provide a variety of toppings so everyone can enjoy customized bowls to suit individual preferences. With this overnight creation, you will have a healthy breakfast that will be ready for early risers and kept warm for those who choose to sleep in.

Overnight Oatmeal

Serves 16 (12 cup each)

• Non-stick cooking spray

• 2 cups uncooked steel-cut oats

• 8 cups water or skim milk

• 1⁄2 tsp salt, optional

Heart-health enhancing toppings: almonds, apples, apricots, berries, Chia seed, cinnamon, flax seed, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, raisins or walnuts.

1. Coat 6-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Stir together oats, water and salt, if desired, in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for eight hours, or overnight or until nearly all water or milk is absorbed.

3. Stir well before serving. Serve with assorted toppings, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutrition per serving (with milk): 80 calories, .5g fat, 0 saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 5 g protein.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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