Why it’s good for you: Oatmeal is high in the fiber beta-glucan, which lowers levels of bad LDL cholesterol. Nutritionists recommend steel-cut oats because they’re minimally processed, without additives. “Oatmeal is the best way to start your day,” says Brill. “It’s a whole grain and a great heart-healthy food. It has antioxidants that are unique to oats too.” Oatmeal’s an ideal postworkout food as well, since it contains energy-producing B vitamins and carbohydrates that replenish your muscles.
How to eat it: You can cook oatmeal with milk or water. Add cinnamon and walnuts for extra flavor, nutrients and crunch.
Serving size: ¾ cup cooked
Recipe: Steel-Cut-Oats Risotto with Mushrooms and Walnuts
Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced summer squash (zucchini, yellow or crookneck)
1 cup sliced leeks (green and white sections)
2 cup sliced brown mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
½ cup white wine
1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup packed chopped fresh basil
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the squash, leeks, mushrooms, garlic and black pepper and sauté for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the broth and wine in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm but not boiling. Stir the oats and walnuts into the vegetable mixture, then ladle approximately ½ cup of the warm broth mixture over it. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Add another ½ cup broth mixture and continue cooking, stirring and adding more warm broth until all the broth has been incorporated and the risotto is creamy and tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and serve immediately.
Nutrition per serving (1 cup):
Fat: 16 g
Sodium: 51 mg
Carbohydrates: 34 g
Dietary fiber: 7 g
Protein: 11 g
Recipe from Sharon Palmer, R.D., author of The Plant-Powered Diet