Is oatmeal bad for diabetes or good for it?
You can still eat starchy foods like oatmeal when you have diabetes. Oatmeal is a whole grain and is high in soluble fiber. It also provides several vitamins and minerals. In addition, oatmeal is a fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free food.
Starchy foods are high in carbohydrates so these foods will raise blood glucose if you have too much at once. The key is to fit healthy carbohydrate foods into your meal plan by controlling portion sizes.
Oatmeal is much more nutritious than some other starchy breakfast foods like sugary cereals, pastries, and bagels. It is also a filling breakfast option. Once again, it is especially important to pay attention to portion size when you eat oatmeal if you have diabetes. One-half cup of plain cooked oatmeal (made with water) has about 15 grams of carbohydrate and 80 calories. The amount of oatmeal you can eat at breakfast will depend on your meal plan. (Note that ¼ cup of quick oats yields about ½ cup of cooked oatmeal.)
Making your oatmeal with water will not add any calories or grams of carbohydrate. However, many people prefer to make it with milk. If you choose to use milk, be sure to account for the extra carbohydrates (about 6 grams for every ½ cup of milk) and use low-fat or skim milk.
Be aware that pre-packaged instant oatmeal products have added ingredients for sweetness and flavor. These are convenient because they are already portioned out for you. Check the nutrition facts label to see how many grams of carbohydrate and calories are in a serving. Some brands also offer a low-sugar or sugar-free version, which may be a good option for you. When you can, choose old-fashioned oats, steel cut oats or quick oats, which usually have less additives and sodium than instant varieties.
Most of us like to add some flavor to our oatmeal. Here are some healthy ways to do it:
- Stir in 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts, almonds, or other nuts.
- Sprinkle on some cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Try adding sugar substitute or a brown sugar substitute for sweetness.
- Add a tablespoon of dried fruit like cranberries or raisins or fresh fruit like sliced strawberries, bananas, or blueberries. (This will add carbohydrates, so make sure it fits with your meal plan.)
If you’re looking for more breakfast ideas, visit our Breakfast On-The-Go page.
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