Nutrition Corner: January is National Oatmeal Month

January 4th, 2016 2:36 pm

January is National Oatmeal Month. Research has shown that protein and whole grain rich foods are key foods to include in your breakfast every day. Keeping hunger pains away and concentration level up is most important for those of us who are at work or in school. Choose oatmeal more often this month for breakfast and start your day off with a whole grain.

When hunger pains set in our concentration lowers and we begin to drift away or in the case of our children, unable to sit with attentiveness at school. Protein and whole grain rich foods take a bit longer to digest and will keep the hunger pains away for just a little longer.

Most oats in the United States are steamed and flattened to produce “rolled oats.” This is also advertised as “old fashioned,” regular oats, quick oats and instant oats. The more they are flattened and steamed, the quicker they cook. And the softer they become. If you like a chewier, nuttier texture chose steel-cut oats.

Nutrients like simple carbohydrates enter the body quickly tend to be used up quickly. Food containing simple carbohydrates such as candy, juice, soda, pastries and white breads will digest quickly and hunger pains will quickly set in.

Oatmeal gives us more than just a great source of whole grains. It also gives us fiber which is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Oatmeal is a form of soluble fiber which helps reduce and excrete cholesterol that can be found in the colon. One half cup of cooked oatmeal contains only 80 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

Oatmeal is more than just a breakfast food. There are other ways to include oatmeal in your diet this January. Use as a binder in meatloaf in place of bread crumbs or in place of bread or crushed cereal for meatloaf or tuna patties.

Or process through a food processor and replace flour to coat chicken or pork. Below are two recipes. One recipe is for the more traditional use and one for the non-traditional uses of oatmeal. Enjoy!

Banana Walnut Oatmeal

2 cups skim milk

2 cups oats (quick cooking)

2 banana (very ripe, mashed)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons walnuts (chopped)

In a small saucepan heat milk over medium heat until steaming hot, but not boiling. Add oats and cook, stirring until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in mashed banana and maple syrup. Divide between 4 bowls, garnish with walnuts, and serve.

Veggie Patties

1 3/4-2 cups cooked black beans- mashed

1 1/3 cups oatmeal

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Italian or pizza seasoning

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt & pepper to taste

Mash beans until they have the texture of ground meat. Add remaining ingredients; let stand 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed. Add more water if mixture is too dry. Heat a tablespoon of oil in skillet. Place large spoonful of bean mixture into skillet. Press into burger shape. Cook on both sides at medium heat until browned.

Nutrition Corner Mary R. Ehret Corner Mary R. Ehret

Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at