Oatmeal isn't just for breakfast. You can eat oatmeal for dinner or any time of day and enjoy the high-fiber, high-protein benefits of this nutritious grain. It can also be part of a weight loss strategy.
Oatmeal contains tryptophan, which is beneficial in helping you sleep. Oatmeal is not only high in fiber, it has protein, so enjoy a bowl of oatmeal at night.
Oatmeal for Dinner
Oatmeal is a nutritional powerhouse. Oats are easy to cook, and a bowl of oatmeal takes only a few minutes to make. There are also many ways to prepare oatmeal. For some sweetness, you can add fruit. You can also top it with cooked vegetables or a little sprinkle of grated cheese.
These healthy ways of serving oatmeal can make for a soothing, quick dinner that will provide you with protein and fiber. One-half cup of dry rolled Quaker Oats contains the following:
- 5 grams of protein
- 4 grams of fiber, or 13 percent of Daily Value (DV) in a 2,000-calorie diet. Those 4 grams include 2 grams of soluble fiber.
- 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of which is polyunsaturated, and 1 gram is monounsaturated
- 1.5 milligrams of iron, 8 percent of DV
- 150 milligrams of potassium, 2 percent of DV
- 130 milligrams of phosphorus, or 10 percent of DV
- 40 milligrams of magnesium, or 10 percent of DV
Oats provide a nutritionally well-balanced dish, according to a February 2015 article in the Journal of Food Science Technology. It's an excellent source of carbohydrates and quality protein, with a nice balance of amino acids. It's a particularly good source of low-cost protein. When it's eaten in normal portions, oats grown and processed in areas free of wheat, rye and barley can provide hard-to-find nutrition for people with celiac disease, the study notes.
Oats and Weight Loss
Eating oatmeal to lose weight can work because oatmeal can help you feel more full, according to a May 2014 report in Nutrition Journal. The study followed 48 people who ate instant oatmeal, old-fashioned oatmeal and ready to eat breakfast cereal. The instant and old-fashioned oatmeal servings showed much better appetite control over four hours when compared with the ready to eat cereal.
According to Harvard Health, eating oatmeal made from whole-grain oats can make you feel full as well as control your appetite. Whole oats also contain phenolic compounds and phytoestrogens, which are plant chemicals that act as antioxidants to reduce chronic inflammation associated with heart disease and diabetes.
For people with type 2 diabetes, eating oats helps with glycemic control, or that sugar crashing feeling that can happen after eating simple sugars, according to a December 2015 article in the journal Nutrients. The study found the 260 participants given oatmeal had better glucose, insulin sensitivity and blood lipid profiles.
The difference in body weight and body mass index weren't significant when looking at oatmeal for weight reduction, but the improved appetite control from whole grains like oats may help over the long term, says the Mayo Clinic.
Read More: How to Eat Oats to Lose Weight
Oatmeal and Better Sleep
Oats contain tryptophan, says Canada's Prairie Oat Growers Association. Tryptophan is an amino acid the brain converts into serotonin, which helps to relax your body before you fall asleep. Oats also contain vitamin B3, which can help convert tryptophan into serotonin. So eating oats at night can promote better relaxation.
Furthermore, oats contain melatonin, says a study in the April 2017 journal Nutrients. The study found that eating foods rich in melatonin can help with insomnia, although more studies are recommended.
- Nutrition Journal: "The Role of Meal Viscosity and Oat β-Glucan Characteristics in Human Appetite Control: A Randomized Crossover Trial"
- Harvard Health: "The Nutrition Source: Oats"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet"
- Journal of Food Science Technology: "Nutritional Advantages of Oats and Opportunities For Its Processing as Value Added Foods — A Review"
- Nutrients: "The Metabolic Effects of Oats Intake in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"
- Prairie Oat Growers Association: "Oats For a Great Sleep"
- Quaker Oats: "Old Fashioned Product Details"
- Nutrients: Dietary Sources and Bioactivities of Melatonin