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Nutritionally Speaking

Oat Products Are Fiber-Rich for a Healthier Diet

November 03, 1988|TONI TIPTON

Numerous health agencies, including the National Cancer Institute, have recommended that Americans consume as much as 30 grams of fiber each day--a figure that is more than double the current consumption level.

Breakfast is probably the best meal of the day for getting soluble fiber-rich oat products in the diet, especially oatmeal. A bowl of hot cereal, lightly sprinkled with brown sugar and a smidgen of whipped margarine, along with a slice of oatmeal toast and a tall glass of nonfat milk is a healthful way to start a cool autumn morning.

But some typical breakfast foods, even those that fit into the fiber-rich category, can be laden with saturated fat and cholesterol, so it is important to keep a watchful eye on such ingredients as eggs, milk, oils and butters that are common in the muffins and quick breads.

Start With Standard Recipes

Other meals present an even bigger problem to those making an effort to get oats in their diet. To be certain, a sprinkle of oat bran or oats in meat loaves, tuna salads or in the breading for fish and poultry won't require much culinary know-how, but because of its lack of gluten, cooking with larger proportions of oat products can produce surprising results. In some recipes the finished product has a sticky texture that has been described as "gummy" by some tasters.

To avoid this, it is best to use standard recipes such as these, which have been adapted specifically for use with oat products. They make the necessary adjustments in liquid and fat to keep the finished product moist and less sticky--a common characteristic of foods prepared with oats.

CINNAMON-APPLE-NUT MUFFINS

3/4 cup finely chopped apples

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup nonfat milk

2 tablespoons melted margarine

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Toss apples with 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in bowl. In separate bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, flours, baking powder and salt. Mix together milk, margarine and egg whites. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients just until moistened. Add apples and nuts. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full and bake at 400 degrees 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

OATMEAL-PUMPKIN BREAD

1 cup oats

1 cup nonfat milk, warmed

3/4 cup cooked pumpkin

2 egg whites

1 egg

1/4 cup melted margarine

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine oats and milk in large bowl. Allow to stand about 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, egg whites and whole egg and margarine. In separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Gradually add dry ingredients to oat mixture, then stir in raisins and nuts. Mix well. Place in 9x5-inch loaf pan coated with nonstick vegetable spray and bake at 350 degrees 55 to 60 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 16 slices.

BANANA YOGURT FLIP

1 cup plain or fruited low-fat yogurt

1 medium ripe banana

1/2 cup orange, apple or pineapple juice

1/4 cup oats

1 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup crushed ice or 4 to 5 cubes

Combine yogurt, banana, juice, oats, honey, nutmeg and ice in blender or food processor container. Process about 1 minute or until smooth. Makes 2 servings.

OAT PANCAKES

1 cup flour

1/2 cup oats

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup nonfat milk

2 egg whites, beaten

2 tablespoons oil

Heat griddle over medium-high heat and spray with nonstick vegetable coating spray.

Combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Add milk, egg whites and oil and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour about 1/4 cup batter on hot griddle and bake until top is covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Turn over and cook other side, turning only once. Makes 12 pancakes.

FISH FILLETS ITALIANO

2 tablespoons margarine

1 1/4 cups oats

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips

6 sole or flounder fillets

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Lemon wedges

Melt margarine in skillet and saute oats, cheese, seasoning and garlic powder, stirring frequently, until golden brown.

Sprinkle each fillet with 2 tablespoons mixture. Divide zucchini evenly among fillets, then roll up, beginning at wide end, and secure with wood picks. Place seam side down in 8 or 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees 20 to 25 minutes, or until fish turns opaque. Remove to serving plate. Top with remaining oat mixture and serve with lemon wedges. Makes 6 servings.

VEGETABLES AND OAT BISCUITS

1 cup oats

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, dill weed or basil

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons margarine

1 (7-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1/2 cup chopped tomato, seeded

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 egg white

Combine oats, flour, baking powder, seasoning and pepper. Cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in corn, tomato and onions. Combine yogurt and egg white and add to mixture, stirring with fork just until moistened. Drop by 1/3 cup onto baking sheet, sprayed with nonstick vegetable coating spray. Bake at 400 degrees 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet immediately and serve warm. Makes 10 servings.

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