New Year’s Res-OAT-Lutions

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As the calendar ushers in 2003, make a pact to add oats to your diet. There are simple reasons and easy ways to incorporate oats into your lifestyle.

Why oats?
• For the first time, fiber was targeted as a nutrient in the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board new Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). Studies show an increased risk for heart disease when diets are low in fiber. Oat bran is a rich source of dietary fiber, which is the edible, nondigestible component of carbohydrates found in plant-based foods. In just one serving, or 1/2 cup of cooked oats, there are 4 grams of dietary fiber (16% of DRI for women and 11% of DRI for men).
• The new recommended daily adequate intake (AI) for total fiber is 21-25 grams for women and 30-38 grams for men.
• Oats are a fantastic jump-start to your day. They are a rich source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. The FDA publicly praised oats in 1997 with the health claim, “Soluble fiber from foods such as oat bran, rolled oats or oatmeal, and whole oat flour, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
• With 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving, oat bran sustains energy levels and stabilizes blood sugar. Oats also exert cardiovascular benefits that go beyond its cholesterol-reducing properties. Oats impact 4 key CHD risk factors:

• Blood cholesterol
• Diabetes
• Hypertension
• Obesity

Form healthful habits
• Horace Mann, American Educator, 1796-1859, once said, “Habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day and at last we cannot break it.”
• Healthful lifestyle habits take time.
• Your health is your greatest asset and demands continuous care.
• Don’t get discouraged if you lose sight of your mission for a day or two.
• Work on making your breakfast healthier with oats and other whole grain cereals, fruit and skim milk for the month of January.

Delicious Ideas with Rolled Oats
Make oats a healthful habit. Take the time to balance your diet with oats throughout your day – every day. Here are some fun ways to enjoy oats any time:

• Sprinkle rolled oats over lowfat yogurt as a breakfast booster.
• Add honey, cinnamon and raisins to oatmeal for a more tantalizing taste.
• Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of oats over piping hot soup to add a lift to lunch or dinnertime.
• Mix oats into home-made turkey chili.
• Blend oats into a fruit smoothie for a flavorful snack.
• Stir-fry oats in a wok with vegetables and a lean protein such as shrimp, chicken or firm tofu. Oats will help thicken the sauce.
• Coat thinly sliced chicken breast or white fish with oats

• Dietary reference intakes released for carbohydrates, fats, protein, fiber and physical activity. Dietetics in Practice, American Dietetic Association, 2 (2) Fall 2002.

By Victoria Shanta, RD.

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