According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women should consume at least 25 grams of total fiber each day, while men should consume at least 38 grams. So, how do you make that a reality? Oats could be the answer. They are a whole grain and a good source of fiber. A warm bowl of oatmeal is a great option to boost your fiber intake.
With so many varieties of oatmeal available, navigating the cereal aisle can be a challenge. Here's (a look at the different options) what all those labels mean:
- Steel-cut oats – the oat kernels, more formally known as groats, are broken into pieces with a sharp steel blade. Since there is more surface area for water to penetrate, steel-cut oats will cook faster than if the kernel were cooked whole.
- Scottish oatmeal – the oat kernels are stone-ground, not steel-cut. This offers more variety in texture which some believe helps create more creamy porridge.
- Rolled oats – sometimes called old-fashioned, these oat kernels are first steamed, then rolled out into flakes. The increased surface area allows these oats to cook faster than the steel-cut variety.
- Instant oats – the kernels are steamed a little longer and rolled out a little more than the old-fashioned variety. This helps reduce the cooking time even further, hence the name “quick cooking.” Be careful of instant oatmeal packets, they are often loaded with sugar, food colorings and salt. If you like the convenience, choose the plain variety. Add in fresh fruit and experiment with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Oat flour – ground up rolled oats. This flour can be used when a recipe calls for “whole grain flour.” It can also be used as a thickener in soups and stews.
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While the textures may vary, all varieties of oats are whole grains and offer the same nutritional profile. So eat up and enjoy the benefits.
Oatmeal is also a great food to prepare in the slow cooker. You can prep it the night before and wake up to a great tasting and nutritious meal. For more on how to set it and forget it, check out SAGE's Pinterest page, click here for our Overnight Oatmeal recipe.