Since Sebastian and Collette were about a year old (maybe younger) we have been giving them Irish oatmeal (steel-cut oats) for every breakfast. As the Head Chef of the Soto Household, I made the executive decision that we would stick to one breakfast, leaving my creative juices flowing for lunch and dinner. 6+ months later, and everyone, even Lola, is very happy with this decision.
Here is why you should try it first thing tomorrow morning.
- It's easier than you might think. It's true that they take almost half an hour to cook, similar to the way you would cook rice. Compared to a bowl of cereal or even instant oatmeal, this is longer. However, you can make a big batch so you only have to cook it once a week. You can easily reheat the oatmeal in the microwave (not so for oatmeal made with rolled oats) in 30 seconds with a little bit of water or milk.
- It's easy to add in yummy and nutritious things. Getting my kids, and I assume most kids, to eat fruit isn't a big problem. However, I do have issues with fruit going bad and I also like to buy fresh fruit in season. For this reason, I buy a lot of frozen fruit. Unfortunately, not all frozen fruit thaws nicely - think mushy thawed strawberries. But when added to oatmeal, mushy fruit is no big deal. Even frozen fruit will warm up quickly in hot oatmeal. We have also done nuts and raisins - a big hit but very chewy! You could easily add in prune juice if your having some poop issues. I bet you could get creative and add shredded coconut. For extra flavor, I always cook mine with cinnamon and about 1-2 tbsp maple syrup for the whole batch.
- It's VERY cheap. Boxed cereal seems pretty inexpensive. And, truthfully, it is. No one will go bankrupt eating cereal for breakfast. But steel cut oats purchased by the pound are much less expensive. I cook my oats one cup at a time. This yields about 3 cups of cooked oatmeal. That lasts the kids about 4 days, maybe more. I add a lot of fruit and that stretches the oatmeal out, but still. One cup of oatmeal (uncooked) costs 60 cents. That means its costs me 15 cents per morning to feed both of my kids oatmeal, plus the fruit. If I gave them cereal (one that I find a close comparison in terms of nutrition and lack of weird stuff) it would cost me 4 times as much.
- It's a good choice for your body. I'm not going to get into the specifics of nutrition here but oats are great choice, regardless of which kind you choose. Supposedly, steel-cut oats contain more fiber, gram for gram, than the rolled oats or instant oats.
- Easy for toddlers learning to use a spoon. These oats make a thicker, sticker oatmeal than rolled oats, IMO. Now, you may not like that as a taste or texture preference but for my 18 month olds, its a great food to help them learn to use the spoon. Success is almost guaranteed once the spoon hits the bowl. And it takes some serious flinging (still all to common around here...) for it to fall off.