How many kinds of oats can you name? Different types of oats get their name based on the way they are roasted after being harvested and cleaned.
- Oat groats are the entire oat grain. The only part removed when harvested is the hard unpalatable outer hull. Groats are great for breakfast cereal and in stuffing.
- Steel-cut oats are made when groats are run through steel blades and thinly sliced. They have a dense and chewy texture.
- Rolled oats are sometimes called old-fashioned oats. To make rolled outs, groats are lightly steamed and then rolled.
- Quick-cooking oats are made like rolled oats. The difference is that rolled oats are made from groats and quick-cooking oats are made from steel-cut oats.
- Instant oatmeal comes from oatmeal that is partially cooked and then rolled very thin. Often, you’ll find them with sugar, salt, and other ingredients added.
- Oat bran is the outer layer of the grain, underneath the hull. It is found in rolled and steel-cut oat and can be purchased on its own. It is often used to make hot cereal.
- Oat flour is used in baking. Most of the time it is combined with wheat or other flours containing gluten to make bread.
Oats are high in fiber. Foods high in fiber can help reduce high cholesterol, reduce the risk of some cancers, lower blood sugar for those with type II diabetes, and help prevent heart disease. Oats specifically contain certain antioxidants that help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. In a nutshell, or should I say an oat hull, oats are very good for you!
Not only are they good for you, they are delicious, too. With so many different types of oats, you are sure to find a favorite way to eat them.
- Add oats to smoothies or make overnight oats.
- Use oats as a meat extender by adding them to your ground meat before you cook it. One cup of oatmeal per pound of meat is the general recommendation. This will give you about 50% more “meat”. Start with the full amount or start smaller and work your way up. This works well for recipes like meatloaf, meatballs, casseroles, taco meat, and hamburger patties.
- Thicken a soup or stew with oats. Use a blender or food processor to grind up oats. When the oats are the consistency of flour, they’re ready to add in. For a creamy soup recipe, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of oats ground oats.
- Sprinkle oats or make granola to top yogurt and desserts.
- Combine oats with other ingredients in pancakes and waffle recipes.
Breakfast cereal is one of the most common ways to use oats. Save money and skip unhealthy add-ins by making instant oatmeal packets at home.
Make several batches of the recipe above and portion into individual serving size packets. Store them in your pantry and you’ll have a quick breakfast or snack ready to go. Take it a step further and customize each batch. For a creamier oatmeal, add 1 tablespoon dry milk to each packet, or use milk instead of water when cooking. Experiment with mix-ins and flavor combinations. Try spices other than cinnamon, like pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cloves. You can also add fresh fruit or a scoop of peanut butter to the oatmeal once it is cooked.
Give a try. Come on back and let me know your favorite flavor combination. Enjoy!
Certified Nutrition Education Ambassador