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Food of the Month: Oats

Oats were first brought to America in the 1600s by the British.  They are a cereal grain that is grown for both human and animal consumption.  Oats in their most natural form are oat groats.  They can be cooked or steamed.  However, they have a bigger grain than rice so they take much longer to cook.  Since they are the least processed of all the oats they are the most nutritionally dense.  They digest very slowly thereby reducing the glycemic load and making them very filling.  While oat groats are delicious they are hard to find in stores so the next best option is steel-cut oats, followed by rolled oats and finally quick oats.  As the level of processing increases the nutritional value as well as the cooking time decreases.

All oats contain vitamin E, calcium, potassium, magnesium and several B-vitamins.  Additionally, oats contain trace minerals copper, zinc,  manganese, selenium and iron.  They are full of phytochemicals and soluble and insoluble fiber. Oats provide many health benefits including lowering blood pressure, preventing diabetes and improving heart health.

I have oatmeal for breakfast almost everyday in the form of overnight oats or rolled oats with berries and nuts as toppings.  Since oats are so good for you, maybe we can incorporate them into the rest of your day as well. I found a great oil free and low sugar recipe for granola.  It is easy to throw in a bag and take with you for a snack on the go!  Add whatever, dried fruit (no added sugar of course) you would like to the recipe.  Enjoy!

Good For You Granola

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quinoa

3 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup hemp seeds

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup coconut nectar

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup dried cranberries, dried blueberries or raisins or any fruit you desire

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 330 degrees.  Line a 15 X 10 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  2. Add the quinoa to a skillet over medium heat and give the pan a few shakes until you hear the quinoa popping, about 5 minutes.  Turn the pan off and let cool for a  few minutes.
  3. Mix together the oats, seeds and salt in a large bowl.  Add the popped quinoa and make a well in the middle.
  4. Add the orange juice, coconut nectar and vanilla and stir to combine.
  5. Spoon the mixture onto the pan and spread it out evenly.
  6. Bake until the oats are golden brown and toasted, about 25 minutes (make sure the oats are good and toasted).  Stir halfway through baking.
  7. Let sit for about 10 minutes and then mix in dried fruit.

Enjoy all by itself, as an add-in for oatmeal, or over your favorite non-dairy yogurt.

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