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Oatmeal: don't eat it because I said so, but because it's good for you

When I was a kid, you knew winter was coming when the box of oatmeal came out. Oatmeal was good for you, stuck to your ribs, as my Mom liked to say.  While I was all legs and feet as young girl, no one would ever suggest thickening my ribs these days.

I never liked breakfast and I really detested oatmeal. I especially despised the raisins, dark gluey clots that mingled with the clumpy oats. For some reason, our oatmeal was always lumpy.  The only saving grace was the butter and brown sugar, which I liberally dumped into the bowl.

Interestingly enough, I've grown to appreciate oatmeal, although I only half-heartedly attempt to get my son to eat the stuff. He takes one look at my bowl heaped with oats and shot through with honeyed dried fruits and usually slices from an offending banana and is aghast. (My son last ate a raw banana at roughly age 18 months. I have a photograph where he's clutching the dreaded fruit in his mits to prove it.)

Just like appetites change (I now love breakfast), so too do attitudes.

Oatmeal is good for you and it doesn't have to be a lumpy, disgusting and overcooked mess.  Not saying my Mom's oatmeal was all these things, but anyone who's eaten instant oatmeal can attest to its lack of appeal.

For better breakfast oatmeal, use better oats. Makes sense doesn't it? I like to add a little milk (soy in my case) to the oats while cooking and a dash of cinnamon for a nicer flavor. Add some of your favorite dried fruits like prunes (people who really calls them dried plums) and chunks of dried pears, maybe a few sour cherries. Add a pat of butter and a splash of maple syrup and you're ready to dig in.

Oats are a good source of many nutrients including vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. Oats are also a good source of protein. The insoluble and soluble fibers in oats give them cancer-fighting properties and help lower cholesterol levels. People who eat more oatmeal are less likely to develop heart disease.

It's true that a breakfast of oatmeal stays with you.  I rarely feel ravenous until well after midday when I start my morning with oatmeal. 

Why should you eat oatmeal? Not because I said so, but because it's good for you (and tastes good too).


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