Nutrition facts: 1 cup of cooked oatmeal has 160 calories, 4 g fiber, 3 g fat (1 g sat fat), 6 g protein, 11% DV iron, 25% DV folate
Health benefits: With a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, oatmeal is good for the heart. Studies of oatmeal find that eating 3 g of soluble oat fiber (the amount found in one bowl) each day can lower cholesterol by up to 23% in people who have high cholesterol.
Moreover, eating whole-grain cereals, such as oatmeal, has been found in studies to protect men and women from developing arterial plaque and from heart failure. And an analysis of studies including more than 150,000 people found that those whose diets provided the highest dietary fiber intake, from fruits, vegetables and whole grains like oatmeal, had a 29% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with the lowest fiber intake. For this reason, the Dietary Guidelines (check them out at MyPyramid.gov) recommends at least 3 servings per day of whole grains.
Quick-prep ideas: For a low-sugar breakfast, make a cup of plain cooked oatmeal (instant, quick cooking, or regular) and stir in a handful of sliced almonds and chopped dried apricots. If you need a little extra sweetness, stir in a teaspoon of maple syrup or honey and cinnamon.