Oats make a great, healthy addition to your daily routine! Learn why this nutrient-dense, inexpensive whole grain deserves a prominent place in your diet.
Why Eat Oats?
- Oats are high in fiber (especially soluble fiber), which may help control cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and reduce the risk for heart disease.
- Compounds in oats called polyphenols contain anti-cancer properties and can help promote health.
- Oats are a good source of protein, healthy fat, iron, potassium, and several B vitamins.
- 1/2 cup of cooked rolled oats provides about 80 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber.
You can purchase oats with just the hull removed (called “groats”), but they are more commonly found in these forms:
- Steel cut (also called “Irish” or “Scottish”) oats — Groats are sliced a few times by steel blades, leaving small pieces. They have a longer cooking time than other oats but have a great chewy texture.
- Rolled oats — Groats are steamed, and then flattened. They can be found as “old-fashioned” or “quick” varieties.
- Instant oats — Groats are steamed longer and flattened even more than the old fashioned or quick oats. These are often found in flavored packets of oatmeal.
- Oat flour — Groats are ground to various consistencies (coarse, medium, fine), and the flour can be added to a variety of baked goods, or even used as a thickener.
- Like the flavor and convenience of oatmeal in packet? Try adding 1/2 cup rolled oats to your favorite packet flavor. This will boost the nutrition, and give you a heartier portion with less added sugar than two packets.
Did You Know?
January is National Oatmeal Month. A warm bowl of oatmeal may be perfect on a winter day, but there are lots of ways to enjoy oats year round.
Try out some of these ideas:
- Make homemade granola, granola bars, or energy bites with oats and your favorite dried fruit and nuts.
- Toast rolled oats and add to your cold breakfast cereal.
- Bake cookies or breads with oats or oat flour.
- Blend into smoothies for added fiber.
- Make a savory oatmeal, and top it with a fried egg.
- Test some recipes for overnight oats and oatmeal bakes.