When I talk about the benefits of whole grains, I often mention oats. They're easy, contain the phytochemical terpenoid and most people like them! In order to really understand which is better, we need to define what each type of oat is.
- Steel-cut oats are the whole oat kernel, which is cut into two or three pieces using steel discs. They are a better source of fiber than rolled oats, but take longer to cook.
- Rolled oats have the bran mostly removed and are rolled flat to make them easier to cook. With the bran removed, they have less fiber than steel-cut oats.
- Quick-cooking and instant oats are rolled oats that have been cut into smaller pieces and rolled thinner, thus cook quickly. They are an easy source for preparing many oatmeal dishes.
When comparing the different types of oats, the steel-cut oats are definitely less processed and have a higher nutrient content. However, when we make them it can take a LONG TIME (20 minutes or more).
Quick cooking oats are still considered a whole grain and have less fiber, but not by much. They are certainly more convenient and I would consider them very healthy. The ones you want to stay away from are the individual packets that contain sugar and other flavorings!
Your best bet is to cook your oatmeal and flavor it yourself. For a convenient chart that compares different products, check out Grains and Losses.
Personally, I like the texture and flavor of the steel cut oats but often eat the instant because it takes less time. If you want to save time though, try this recipe for steel cut oats in a crockpot. They can be refrigerated or frozen into individual portions once they are cooked.
Crock Pot Oatmeal:
1 cup steel-cut oats
1 cup raisins, cranberries, or dried fruit of choice
4 cups water
½ cup milk, half and half, or buttermilk
2 tablespoons of cinnamon or pumpkin spice
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
In a crock pot, combine all ingredients. Cook on low heat
(covered) for 7-9 hours. Stir and serve. *For non-dairy
oatmeal, try adding applesauce, apple butter, or almond
butter instead of dairy products.
For your personal enjoyment, I have included a poem that my dad wrote about oats. Now you know where I get my writing skills!
A Toast to Oats:
Quaker Man, Quaker Man, in your box so round,
Taking nature's oats and grinding them on down.
Sheaths with grains of goodness, waving forth and back,
Cut and ground and stored in boxes red and black.
But now I hear this oft refrain:
Steel-cut, Steel-cut, it is nutrition's gain.
So tell me, Miss Fooditian, in your blog so soft and low,
Is this really right, or is it just not so?
I hope I've answered the rhyme master's questions!