How to Sweeten Oatmeal
Everyone loves a hot bowl of sweeten oatmeal. It’s nutritious, it’s high in fiber, and it’s one of the most calorie dense foods available, so it really sticks to your ribs. It also goes well with just about any fruit or sweetener. A glance at your grocer’s shelf will reveal dozens of flavor combinations, but if you’re a health-conscious consumer, you’re probably concerned about all the processed sugars in grocery store oatmeal packets.
Never fear. Here’s two scoops of advice on how to make nutritious, homemade oatmeal that tastes better than anything you’ll find in the grocery store.
How to Sweeten Oatmeal using Healthiest Oats
If you’re concerned about eating natural, whole foods, the first thing you’ll need to be aware of is that most commercially-available oats are highly processed. Quick oats and rolled oats are steamed before packaging, which makes them cook a bit faster, but also robs them of nutrients and causes some of the proteins to break down before the oats are even packaged. Your best bet is to use organic, steel-cut oats. These oats are unprocessed (except for being cut), so you get the benefit of every last gram of protein.
How to Sweeten Oatmeal Naturally
When it comes to sweeteners, there are many alternatives to processed sugar. Perhaps the healthiest way to sweeten your oatmeal is nature’s way: fruit! Raisins are a popular choice but can be extremely high in sugar and low in fiber compared to other fruits. A quarter cup of raisins contains 32 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of dietary fiber. By comparison, a medium-sized apple provides 25 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber. Strawberries, bananas, apples, blueberries, raspberries and even kiwis are not only delicious but rich in vitamins and minerals.
If you’re dedicated to eating whole foods, but less concerned about calories, honey, and agave nectar are fairly straightforward sugar substitutes. Of course, if you’re going to go that route, you may find it easier to just use an unprocessed cane sugar like Sugar in the Raw. Organic maple syrup is also just as sweet as honey or raw sugar and will give your oatmeal that extra kick of maple flavor.
How to Sweeten Oatmeal Without Using Sugar
If you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, you’ll need to be extra careful. Fruit, honey and maple syrup may be healthier than processed granulated sugar, but at the end of the day, they’re still high in sugar. If you’re trying to avoid all sugars, stevia is an excellent alternative. Stevia is derived from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana, a plant native to Brazil and Paraguay, where local people have been using it as a sweetener for centuries. Granulated stevia is as sweet as sugar, contains zero calories, and has a glycemic load of zero. This makes it perfect for people who need to keep an eye on their blood sugar.
Another great option is cinnamon. While cinnamon isn’t a sweetener in and of itself, it adds flavor and can be even tastier when combined with a natural sweetener like stevia. It’s also a whole, plant-based food so health-conscious folks of all stripes can enjoy it guilt-free.