There is nothing better than having a healthy and hearty breakfast ready to go in 10 minutes or less! This naturally sweet apple and raisin oatmeal dish will help get your day going. We often get asked "what's the best cereal for diabetics?", and the answer is a trick question -- it's oatmeal! So if you're wondering "is oatmeal ok for diabetics?", the answer is a resounding YES!
The Magic of Oatmeal
Great oatmeal starts with steel-cut oats, cooked in a little water or milk, and topped with wholesome ingredients. As a breakfast food and mid-meal snack, oatmeal is potentially a better option than the majority of foods available in the market (especially when you're talking about oatmeal and blood sugar)!
Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, meaning that it attracts fluid and stays in your stomach longer than insoluble fiber (like vegetables). Soluble fiber is thought to reduce blood cholesterol by binding with digestive acids made from cholesterol and sending them out of your body.
Why are Oats a Good Main Ingredient for Breakfast?
Oats are among the healthiest grains on the planet. In addition to being tasty, they're a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood glucose levels, better blood sugar control, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
A bowl of oatmeal a day can improve immunity because it contains selenium and zinc. Oats are also high in phosphorus manganese, minerals that are instrumental to bone, muscle and heart health. Besides making a great breakfast cereal, oats are excellent for baking other healthy oatmeal recipes for diabetics in cookies, breads, snack bars, and muffins.
Some people will look at the raisins included in this recipe and say "wait a second... are raisins good for diabetics?" And the answer is yes. All fruits are packed with antioxidants and a slew of key nutrients, so as long as you're not adding tons of sugar or additives, you're in the clear!
Why are Oats Good for You?
Oatmeal’s claim to fame is its proven ability to lower bad cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol. Chalk that up to a type of soluble fiber called beta glucan.
Eating oats is linked to an average 7% drop in LDL cholesterol, research shows. Many other things also affect your heart's health (like what else you eat, how active you are, and whether you smoke), but oatmeal is a simple heart-smart start. Oatmeal also:
- Lowers blood glucose levels
- Provides antioxidants
- Promotes healthy bacteria in your gut
- Helps you to feel full to manage your weight
Oats are a great source of carbohydrates and fiber, including the powerful fiber beta-glucan. They also contain more protein and fat than most grains. Plus, they are loaded with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant plant compounds. A half-cup of oats contains 51 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 8 grams of fiber, but only 303 calories, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.
As a whole, oats and whole grains are a very safe food (as long as you're not having instant oatmeal), which is why we call it the best cereal for diabetes, the best cereal for prediabetes, and even when people ask "is oatmeal ok for gestational diabetes" the answer is still a resounding yes. If you're building a diabetic diet, this hot cereal (or cold cereal if you prefer) stands supreme over all other breakfast cereals!
When you shop for oats, you'll see several types on the store shelves. They're all based on "oat groats," which are the whole oat kernel.
Groats are the purest form of oatmeal. They are made from hulled grains, which are then toasted to make them more edible. Groats are considered the healthiest oatmeal because they go through very little processing. Because the grains are still whole, nutrients stay intact.
- Oat groats: This is the whole oat kernel -- no cuts, flakes, or grinding. They take longer to cook than other oats. Give them 50-60 minutes to cook, after you bring the water to a boil.
- Rolled oats (also called regular or old-fashioned oats): Oat groats that have been steamed and rolled into flakes that are thicker (and thus take longer to cook) than instant oats.
- Steel-cut oats (also called Irish oats): The grains are hulled and cut into small chunks. Steel cut varieties are also highly nutritious and are a favorite choice for many because of their nutty taste.
- Instant oats: Oat groats that have been steamed and flaked. These are undoubtedly the least healthy oatmeal. Not only are they steamed and flattened, the grains are also pre-cooked. The flakes are then dehydrated before hitting store shelves. Some are flavored to enhance taste.
Healthy Ways to Eat Oatmeal
If you start your day with a warm bowl of oatmeal, spruce it up with healthy add-ins. Season your oatmeal with a touch of anti-inflammatory cinnamon or ginger and fresh fruit. Add nuts, seeds, or nut/seed butter for healthful fat and bonus flavor. The fruits in this recipe add a natural sweetness to the dish. Feel free to use other fruits you have on hand to customize your breakfast.
Oatmeal also works well with savory ingredients. Cook it plain, and then top with sautéed or oven-roasted veggies and herbs, along with beans, lentils, or tofu, and sliced avocado or a drizzle of pesto for added flavor.
How to Cook Oatmeal
Bring water, milk, or even a plant-based milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in oats, reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is creamy and the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
For steel-cut oats, the ratio is 1 cup of liquid per 1/4 cup of oats. If you are using quick-cooking or rolled oats, the ratio is 1 cup of liquid per 1/2 cup of oats. We suggest using steel-cut oats for optimal blood glucose control.
The Magic of Overnight Oats
Overnight oats offer a range of health benefits, due to their rich fiber and protein content. They also contain a number of vitamins and minerals, some of which include manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. This makes overnight oats healthy for your gut, as well as for overall health and well-being.
Apple Raisin Oatmeal
- 2 medium apples
- 3/4 cup oat milk or other non-dairy milk
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 5 pitted dates chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Add grated apple with the oat milk.
- Add the remaining ingredients and let stand for 10 minutes.