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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

NEWS: Oatmeal, The New “Hot” Food?

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A healthy, hearty bowl of Holly’s Oatmeal.

Starbucks began selling oatmeal in portable covered bowls this fall, and it has proven to be one of the most successful food products the company has introduced, according to an article in this week’s Wall Street Journal. Smoothie chain Jamba Juice has launched oatmeal in Chicago, with a rollout to all locations by January. Is the food that so many moms had to struggle to make kids eat becoming hot?

It should. Oatmeal a whole grain cereal. A diet high in whole grain foods (2.5 servings per day) is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. If you think your current cereal or bread is whole grain, read our article on whole grain cereals)—you may be surprised.

Oatmeal tips:

– Try to avoid turning your bowl of health food into a high-glycemic nightmare. If you crave sweetness, instead of topping it with brown sugar, try an artificial sweetener and fresh fruit, like half a banana or some strawberries (strawberries are pricey right now, but there are bargains to be found).

- The Quaker Oats product most of us have grown up with is rolled oats. A quick lesson: After the outer husk (the chaff) has been removed from the oat grains, the bran-covered grains that remain are known as oat groats. Steel-cut oats are oat groats that have been chopped into smaller pieces and retain bits of the bran layer, that provides flavor, texture and nutrition. Rolled oats have been rolled into flat flakes under heavy rollers, so they lose that texture.

– Don’t scrimp on the quality of your oatmeal. As with any other food, you get what you pay for, and the specialty brands are better than the mass marketed brands. (Try Bob’s Red Mill, which can be found at Whole Foods Markets, natural food stores and other specialty stores.) It you don’t like the “mushiness” of rolled oats, try steel cut oats. They take a while to cook (there’s no “quick-cook” version), but it’s worth it.

– Best of all, try Holly’s Oatmeal, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week and a winner of THE NIBBLE Outstanding Artisan Award. If this textured, flavorful mix of different whole grains, almonds and dried fruit doesn’t convert naysayers into oatmeal lovers, nothing will. The small gift boxes may seem pricey ($6.99 for a 16-ounce box yields 8 portions, or 81¢ a serving—of course, a fraction of what you’d spend on a muffin or croissant). But you can buy it in bulk bags for the same price as any other oatmeal. One serving of Holly’s Oatmeal has 38g of the 48g of your daily whole grain requirement and there’s a gluten-free variety, too.





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