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What Oats Are The Best?

Today, it is no secret that oats are a healthful breakfast option. Oats area delicious and packed full of fiber, iron, phosphorus, and more! This whole-grain is versatile and can be used to make oatmeal, home-made granola bars, “energy bites”, stuffing, and overnight oats. However, there are many different types of oats in the grocery store, and this can be confusing for someone who has never used oats before. Here are some tips on how to choose which oat is best for you and your cooking needs.

Groats

– Groat is another name for a grain kernel. Meaning, groats are the result of harvesting oats, cleaning them, and removing the inedible outer hull. This type of oat is the most minimally processed oat in the grocery store and can be used in soups or as a substitute for rice in savory dishes. However, this type of oat takes the longest to cook.

Steel Cut Oats

– When you cut groats into two to three pieces with a sharp metal blade, you are left with steel-cut oats. This is where they get the name “steel cut”. Because of the smaller size, steel-cut oats will cook slightly faster than groats but may require some soaking beforehand. This type of oat has a nuttier, chewier texture than rolled oats and can be used in porridge, stuffing, or meatloaf.

Old Fashioned (Regular or Rolled) Oats

– This type of oat is made when groats are steamed and then rolled into flakes. Doing so stabilizes the oats so they stay fresh longer, and allows for the oats to cook faster. This type of oat is commonly used in granola bars, cookies, muffins, and other baked goods. Some no-bake options for this type of oat include energy bites and overnight oats for some simple and fast breakfast options.

Quick (Instant) Oats

– These oats are steamed longer and rolled thinner than old fashioned oats. While the nutrition stays the same, the texture will change (which can be good or bad depending on your preference!). Instant oats can be used in place of rolled oats, but the cooking time will be less and the final dish may have less texture. However, many instant oats may have extra added sugars, so read your nutrition facts label to see if instant oats are the best option for you.

While the different varieties of oats mentioned above have had different levels of processing, resulting in different textures and cook times, they are all nutritious. No matter which oat you pick, they are all made from whole oat groats. The bottom line is: your choice should be based on your preference because all will provide your body with good nutrition. Happy oat shopping!

No-Bake Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed 1
  • /2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.
  • Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  • Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.
  • Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.