Power of Oatmeal

Come on, guys and gals. Those Trix are for kids.

And don't follow your nose. Toucan Sam? He never knows.

The sugary cereal you pour into the bowl every morning before drowning it in an ocean of milk is hardly the ideal way to start the day. That's right, no matter what that silly tiger says, those flakes are anything but GRRREAT!

Next time you're in the aisle full of colorful logos and wacky cartoon characters, take a look at the nutritional menu and you'll surely see that most cereals are high in sugars and sodium and will thus translate to excess fat storage.

But if your fitness goal is to throw the fats to the rats, then try starting your morning off with a bowl of oatmeal, the highly nutritious grain that is free of both sodium and cholesterol. Oatmeal is also very low in fats while providing a great source of water-soluble fibers, an integral part of dieting in that it makes you feel full over a long period of time.

Because oats contain these water-soluble fibers, it functions to lower your blood cholesterol levels.

And let's not forget the taste. For you ladies who believe that you must sacrifice taste to maintain a healthy diet, think again. A great way to spruce up that bowl of oatmeal is to add various tasties to the mix; you can use strawberries, peaches, raspberries, apples . . . the list of fruity treats goes on.

Of course, the ideal way to conduct your diet is to indulge in smaller, frequent meals throughout the day instead of tackling a day of consumption in one sitting. In that sense, a bowl of oatmeal should fit into your eating regimen quite nicely. And oatmeal shouldn't be restricted to just the bird-chirping hours; it is a healthy treat for any time of day.

Although late-night snacks are not often encouraged in the weight-loss circuit, a bowl of oatmeal before bedtime is a fairly safe proposition.

Oats can be served up in various ways, not just through the convenience of a packet and boiled water in a bowl.

They can be used as an ingredient to pancakes and muffins, while working well as a covering for chicken breasts and various turkey dishes. Oats are also an excellent mix for various stuffings and meat loafs.

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