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Since I wrote the article about breakfast cereals in October, I've had a number of people mention their love or hatred of steel-cut oats.  While these lightly processed oats are widely considered to be the most nutritious option around, they take approximately FOREVER to cook.  However, a reader of the blog recently sent me a link to a page describing a method for preparing steel-cut oats in a much more convenient manner than the traditional "boiling from scratch" arrangement.  In addition to steel-cut oats, this recipe also incorporates some pearl barley, which I thought was a interesting and worthy addition.  The new and improved procedure:

1. Combine 1/3 cups steel-cut oats, 2 tbsp uncooked pearl barley, and 1 1/4 cups water in a microwavable bowl.  Cover it and refrigerate for at least four hours, though an overnight soak will work and might be more convenient for a breakfast application.

2. Microwave on high power for three minutes, stir well, and microwave for another three minutes.

3. You now have ready-to-eat steel-cut oats with only six minutes cooking time!  Feel free to add chopped or dried fruits, protein powder, spices, and/or nuts to complete your breakfast.

Remember, when constructing a breakfast with this sort of starchy ingredient, make sure to balance it with a significant portion of protein.  Whether it comes from meat, dairy, eggs, or other sources, make sure it's there.  Don't rely on a carbohydrate-heavy breakfast to keep you going.  Just because something is "healthy" or "organic" doesn't mean that it's all you need for optimal nutrition.  Balance is key!

The original source article can be found here.

 


Comments

Jonathan
12/21/2010 16:30

One half cup of dry oats (Quaker Old Fashioned) contains five grams of protein. That's about as much as an egg. A slice of whole wheat bread has about four grams of protein. If you do above average exercise, you might need more protein, but the average person will likely consume enough protein for optimal nutrition without a 'significant portion' of high protein foods.

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12/21/2010 16:43

Thanks for your comment, Jonathan. Unfortunately, in my experience, your statement just doesn't hold true. Also, what do you mean by "optimal nutrition"? Do you mean easy blood sugar level and body composition control? Or an efficient paradigm that can help control hunger through the day while holding down insulin levels and not promoting fat deposition? If you mean either of those, then the amount of protein you are talking about is NOT optimal. One of the most important points I try to illustrate in this blog is the multi-purpose nature of protein in a nutrition plan. It's NOT just about repairing damage from exercise, as you mentioned. While protein helps with that, it can do much more. It is a tool to help lower the average glycemic index of a meal and to keep people feeling full longer once they've eaten. Both of those effects are HUGE bonuses to a successful diet. And protein provides them while still having a higher cost of metabolism than some other nutrients that can be used similarly. Look beyond the limited perspective of protein simply as a source of raw materials for muscle repair and you will see that there are numerous reasons to include more of it in your diet than you propose.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

-Rob

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    Rob Bent is the founder and lead nutrition counselor at Nutrition Perfected.  He is a multi-sport athlete and works constantly to maximize sports performance through scientifically-guided nutritional optimization.

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