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Your Heart (and Your Taste Buds) Will Love This Old-Fashioned Oatmeal

Recipe-Oatmeal-BAN-600x460-150115Featured Recipe

For American Heart Month, we’re turning to a breakfast staple of a heart-healthy diet. Oatmeal comes in many varieties for many cooking methods — you may reach for a canister of round flakes for quick boiling, or tear open a flavored packet for ‘instant’ results. But in order to have our oats ready faster and faster, they need to be processed: smashed, toasted, and steamed. The end result may be fast, but it may also be mushy and pasty. But there’s another cooking method that we think is worth the wait: the old-fashioned way.

This recipe calls for ‘steel-cut’ (or ‘Irish’) oats, which are less processed than their flattened (‘rolled’) counterparts. Nutritionally, oats are very similar across processing styles, but the intact grains of steel-cut is digested more slowly, keeping you full for longer and with less of a blood sugar spike. This variety has a more distinct texture and keeps well in the refrigerator, so you can cook a big batch and have homemade breakfast for days.

Worth the Wait Oatmeal

Servings: 4 | Time: about 30 minutes


1 cup steel-cut oats
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat to low
  2. Add salt and oats, and gently stir once. Cover and let simmer, without stirring, for 10-25 minutes, until water is absorbed and grains have softened as desired. (The longer the oatmeal cooks, the softer it will be.)
  3. If oatmeal thickens too much, add up to 1 additional cup of water and stir again, extending cooking time if necessary.
  4. Add toppings as desired (see below), and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 150; Fat: 2.5 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 145 mg; Carbohydrates: 27 g; Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 1 g; Protein: 5 g.


  • Let this plain oatmeal recipe serve as a blank canvas for toppings artistry. Fresh berries, banana slices, brain-boosting almonds and walnuts, drizzled honey, an infrequent chocolate-chip splurge…this dish is infinitely adaptable. Remember that any additions will change the nutrition counts accordingly. For a touch of sweetness and spice without raising your calorie intake, keep it simple with cinnamon and a zero-calorie sweetner.
  • If you like your oats creamy, stir in some added milk just before eating, or during reheating (again, that will change the nutrition content somewhat).
  • Reheat leftover oatmeal on the stove or in the microwave; you may need to add a bit of water or milk to thin it.
  • If you can’t devote a half-hour to cooking breakfast, there are adaptations to this recipe for convenience. For example, this overnight method gets most of the work done the night before (although note the added butter in that version). Another variation suggests using a slow cooker. And remember, you can prepare this oatmeal any time and save it for later.
  • Not about to give up your quick oats? At the very least, cook your own fresh; it’s a huge nutritional benefit over the flavored pouches, which have high amounts of sugar and salt.