Sunday, May 13, 2012

Let's Talk About Oats

Are you an oats kind of morning person? Do you even eat breakfast? My amazing mother-in-law eats steel cut oats quite often, after her daily workout. (She's very good.) I tend to make a batch of regular rolled oats that will last a few days. Steel cut oats (AKA Irish oats in the white & gold can at the grocery store) take a little longer, but they're still very easy to make in a big batch and use them throughout the week.
I also rarely have steel cut because it's MUCH pricier than regular Quaker rolled oats...that little white can, although wonderful, can be up to $8 for 28 oz, compared to my mega tub of rolled oats at $3 for 42 oz. B-I-G difference. And the large canister lasts months. But now I'm finding more grocery stores carry the steel cut oats in the giant bulk barrels. One store near us sells a pound (16 oz) of steel cut for $0.77! Alas, it's a great deal. I encourage you to try steel cut if you prefer chewy over mushy.

So here's the breakdown of easily available oats in our grocery stores:

  • Instant Oatmeal: the little, colorful pouches of oats, sugar, salt, spices and sometimes dried fruit. Oh, they are easy...the oats have the same nutrition content as rolled or steel cut BUT the sugar, salt and sometimes added oils are kind of awful for you. If you're traveling, I'd buy the PLAIN version of these (or put your rolled oats in zipper bags) and drop in some dried fruit. You'll still have sugar, but less than those little packets. Worst value per serving, too.
  • Rolled Oats: More processing than steel cut oats. Also, the wider surface area of the flakes means it is easier to digest and, therefore, not as soluble as steel cut. These are great, but won't keep you as full as steel cut and have a slightly higher glycemic index (the measure of how quickly carbohydrate foods affect your blood sugar).
  • Steel Cut Oats: Least processed, lower glycemic level, very versatile.
  • Thanks to Dr. Weil, the USDA, and Food Network for the info!

So there's our little lesson on oats. Happy day, friends. Let's go eat some oats.  :)

Happy eating!

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