If you have a toddler like mine, who has been known to be miraculously full after one bite, you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking a large batch of oatmeal for breakfast. It’s wasteful; I don’t even like oatmeal that much, so it’s not like I always want to eat a ton of leftover oatmeal. So, I usually make oatmeal in a cup for her.
I love how good oatmeal is for you. One of its most famous attributes is its amazing fiber content, a specific type called beta glucan. The high fiber content of oatmeal cuts down cholesterol, eases digestion, keeps blood sugar levels regular, lowers blood pressure, and boosts the immune system. Something I didn’t know until I was researching this post, however, is that oatmeal also has a special type of antioxidant called avenanthramide. These fight off free radicals that attack high-density lipoproteins (HDL) AKA the “good cholesterol.” They also protect LDL cholesterol from oxidizing due to copper, and this reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also very naturally high in magnesium. All in all, it is definitely something I want in my daughter’s diet.
Instead of cooking some on the stove traditionally, I:
- Put a few tablespoons of rolled oats into a cup
- Heat boiling water in my hot water kettle
- Pour water over the oats until they are almost covered with the water
- Allow to soak and soften for about 10 minutes or until done
It’s important to make sure it’s soft enough so that it is easy to digest! I then usually add a little honey (for babies over one year’s old, of course) and a generous amount of coconut oil. Ivy, who is a bit of picky eater, loves it, and porridge is always a great consistency for learning how to use a spoon too.
ALTERNATIVE: RAW SOAKED OATS
You could call this the “raw” version. You are essentially making simple oat “muesli.” Simply dispense with the hot water and pour milk (I use almond or coconut) over the oats, letting them soften without cooking.
- Spoon a few tablespoons of rolled oats into a cup
- Pour in enough milk to cover the oats and then some
- Cover and allow to soak overnight
I got this from my dad. He usually has soaked oats for his own low-maintenance breakfast because he is in a hurry and he always tells me it is healthier. Turns out, my dad is right. (There’s a joke in there somewhere.) Soaking the oats overnight breaks down their starches and the phytic acid they contain, making them much easier to digest. Raw oats are also higher in “resistant starch,” a type of carbohydrate that increases satisfaction, improves weight and also improves digestion. These “slow cooking” effects of soaking oats just can’t be matched by the normal faster stovetop cooking. Plus, having spent about two minutes preparing them the night before, they really are a time saver in the morning. Mixed with fruit and toppings, it is really refreshing!