Oatmeal probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of exciting foods. However, not only is it an amazingly versatile breakfast idea, but it’s also packed with nutrition and potential health benefits. You can add tons of fresh fruits and toppings to your bowl each morning, or you can bake oats into bars, energy bites, and desserts. Just read on to find out how.
Once oats are picked and the loose hulls removed, you’re left with what’s called a groat. From those “berries” we get the oats you see on our shelves.
Sometimes referred to as Irish oats, the steel-cut variety is made by cutting the groat into two or three pieces with a steel blade. They’re heartier in texture and can take longer to make, but they also provide more fiber.
Also known as old-fashioned oats and almost identical to steel-cut in terms of nutrition, rolled oats are steamed and rolled so they cook faster and stay fresh longer.
Pick up a big container of our old-fashioned oats and enjoy them every morning for weeks.
Unbeatable in terms of convenience, the “quick-cooking” or instant variety of oats still offer a great helping of nutrition. Because they’re lightly processed, however, your body breaks them down fast so you don’t stay full for as long. Also worth noting: it’s not the best idea to substitute them into recipes in place of other oats because the texture will be thrown off.
Quaker Oats are a great go-to. And there are plenty of variety packs to choose from, too.
To put it simply, oats have little of the things you don’t want and lots of the things you do. They’re low in calories, fat, and cholesterol; and full of protein, vitamins, and non-soluble fiber. All of their inherent wholesomeness can help your overall health in many ways.
You may have noticed your oatmeal says “heart-healthy” on the label. That’s because oats have been shown to help reduce cholesterol when eaten regularly.
As mentioned above, oats are also high in fiber, which helps slow digestion. As a result, your blood sugars rise more slowly. This, of course, makes oatmeal an ideal breakfast choice for diabetics.
The slow digestion rate also helps you feel full for longer, meaning you’ll likely get fewer cravings in between meals.
Oats are naturally gluten free, making them an easy option for those who are avoiding gluten altogether or trying to limit their intake.
While oats alone offer whole grain goodness, you can always make them even healthier. Top them with ingredients like fruits, nuts, and seeds such as chia or flax, and you’ll get extra antioxidants, minerals, and more. Fruit can add even more fiber, nuts add healthy fats, and seeds can boost protein.
By tossing your favorite toppings into the mix, you all but guarantee a great breakfast. But to truly get the most out of your oatmeal, try these tips:
Make It With Milk
Instead of water, use milk to give your oats a creamier texture. Plus, you’ll be upping the amount of calcium and other vitamins and minerals.
And a Pinch of Salt
Like with most foods, adding a dash of salt while they cook helps enhance the flavor.
Toast the Oats
Before cooking, toast your oats in a little butter or oil to bring out more nuttiness.
Spice It Up
Cinnamon and brown sugar always goes well with oatmeal, but mixing up the spices you sprinkle will keep things interesting. Try adding ginger, nutmeg, paprika — get creative.
In recent years, overnight oats seems to have become more and more popular. It’s easy to see why: they’re easy to make. And when you need a quick breakfast that fits your busy schedule, a make-ahead option that’s ready when you wake up is an incredibly convenient time-saver.
Watch how easy it is to make them.