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It's Oatmeal Month! (Not All Oatmeals Are Created Equal)

It's Oatmeal Month! (Not All Oatmeals Are Created Equal)

It’s January and for some, that means cold, hibernation and comfort food. Fear not, there is a positive in all of this, it’s National Oatmeal Month! What’s more perfect than enjoying a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal during one of the coldest months of the year? Oats are highly praised by nutritionists and bodybuilders alike, but what do we really know about this little grain?

Oats were the last of the major cereal grains to be domesticated, around 3,000 years ago in Europe. Today, less than 5% of oats are grown commercially for human consumption. Most remain as pasturage or hay crop for feed.

Not all oats are the same. While doing your grocery shopping, you’ll notice plenty of varieties of oats. But what is the difference between them?

  • Whole oats: Minimally processed. Very nutritious, but need to be cooked for a long time before consuming

  • Oat bran: This is the outer casing removed from the groats. High in soluble fiber. Highly versatile and great for baking or raw

  • Steel-cut or Irish oats: chopped into small pieces and firmer texture

  • Rolled oats or old-fashioned oats: steamed and flattened with rollers for a quicker cook time

  • Quick oats: prior to being steamed and rolled, they are cut into several pieces. 3-5 minute cooking time

  • Instant oats: more processing involved. They are chopped into tiny pieces, pre-cooked, dried and then smashed. Usually flavor and salt are added

  • Oat flour: ground into powder. Does not contain gluten, so it does not rise like wheat flour

With such a variety of oats to choose from, you’re bound to find something you like. Oh, and there’s plenty of oatmeal recipes available too. Here are some tips for your oatmeal preparation:

  • Steel cut oatmeal is often preferred for hot oatmeal cereals. It’s pretty easy to make too! Combine oats, water and any add-ins of your choice in a slow-cooker and cook on low overnight

  • For those that want added protein – try cooking your oats in high protein milk (skim or soy), add egg whites, almond butter (yum!) or a scoop of your favorite protein powder

  • Looking for something a little sweeter? Try this recipe for some yummy oatmeal raisin cookies!

  • Instant oatmeal is great for those that are pressed for time. There are many tasty flavors to choose from too

  • Make your very own granola bars! Great for a healthy snack when you’re on the go

A nice, hot bowl of oatmeal might be just what you need to cure those winter blues! And if not, at least you’re being health conscious!

Have a question?