Need to carbo-unload?
Oatmeal, with all its fiber and whole grains, is already one of the hallowed icons of healthy eating. How could you possibly make it healthier?
But if your daily diet is packed with grains (oatmeal at breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and pasta for dinner), you might be looking for ways to vary up the menu. Anywhere you can swap in a bean, fruit, or veggie would help to de-carb your diet.
But first, let’s clarify a couple things: Carbs aren’t the enemy. Your body needs a good balance of macronutrients, which include fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. That said, nutrition experts recommend making at least half of your grains whole to avoid simple carbohydrates that spike blood sugar levels. And oatmeal? Definitely a hearty, healthy, whole grain. (Learn more about simple vs. complex carbohydrates here.)
But if you’re getting plenty of whole grains elsewhere and are lacking in your fruits and vegetables, this oatmeal hack will do the trick. What’s the secret? Hang on to your seat: It’s … cauliflower.
Just like cauliflower rice can replace the white rice in your burritos and sushi, you can also cook it into a convincing faux oatmeal. Some breakfast hackers are adding grated cauliflower to their favorite oatmeal recipes, like this cauli-oat porridge by Dietitian Deanna; others use cauliflower rice to replace the oats altogether, like this chocolatey cauliflower oatmeal by Clean Eating Kitchen.
Sneaking a non-starchy vegetable into your diet whenever possible could have big perks: One cup of cauliflower contains just 27 calories and five carbs (nice!). Plus, over 80 percent of Americans are below the recommended intake of daily vegetable servings, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. Veggies have tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, and eating three to five servings a day can stabilize blood sugar and help prevent chronic health conditions.
2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Accessed on February 8, 2018 at https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/current-eating-patterns-in-the-united-states/.)Cauliflower, raw. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Accessed on February 8, 2018 at https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2908.) Non-starchy vegetables. Arlington, VA: American Diabetes Association, 2017. (Accessed on February 8, 2018 at http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/non-starchy-vegetables.html.)