All About Oats

I love me some oats.  I can tell the seasons have changed when I find my body craving hot oatmeal (specifically pumpkin oats!) because it is one of my go-to breakfasts in the cooler seasons. This morning as I was glancing through my pantry, I saw so many different types of oats to choose from. I have at least 4 kinds in my pantry (I say at least because my pantry desperately needs to be cleaned out but that’s another story for another day) – old fashioned, scottish, Steel Cut, and Oat Bran.

So I know oats are good for me, but why?

  • Lower Cholesterol Levels
  • Antioxidants in oats reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Whole Grains for breakfast prevent heart failure
  • Enhance Immune Response to Infection
  • Stabilize Blood Sugar
  • Substantially Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk
  • Fiber in whole grains protects against Breast Cancer
  • Highly Protective against Childhood Asthma
  • A Well-tolerated Wheat Alternative for people intolerant of wheat (celiacs)

So what are the different types of oats? 

  • Oat Groats – The whole oat grain, with only the hard unpalatable outer hull removed, but with the kernel’s outer bran layer left in tact. They are long and thin with a smooth shiny surface and look like brown rice. They can be eaten at this stage, but are typically processed into one of the forms below.
  • Scottish Oats – These are made by grinding the oat groats into a meal, which makes porridge type oats with a very creamy texture.
  • Steel Cut Oats – These are made by passing groats through steel cutters which chop each one into three or four pieces. Since they still contain the whole grain including the oat bran, steel cut oats are very nutritious.
  • Rolled Oats – These are made by steaming groats and flattening them with a roller. Old fashioned oats are made by first steaming the whole groat for a few minutes, thus partially cooking it, then passing it between rollers to flatten it out. Quick-cooking rolled oats are made by putting steel-cut oats through the same process.
  • Instant Oats – These made in a similar fashion to rolled quick-cooking oats, except they are steamed longer and rolled more thinly. It produces the kind of oats used for making some types of ‘instant’ porridge. Generally the more you process a food the less nutritious it becomes, instant oats are best avoided if you want to get the full benefit of this grain.
  • Oat Bran – The outer layer of the grain that resides under the hull. While oat bran is found in rolled oats and steel-cut oats, it may also be purchased as a separate product that can be added to recipes or cooked to make a hot cereal.

So what kind of oats should you eat?

It really depends on your taste preferences and how much time you have to prepare them in the morning. Lately, I have been loving Scottish Oats because they cook in just 5 minutes and make a really creamy bowl of oats with just using water. I also love steel cut oats, but those generally take around 30 minutes to cook which is time I generally don’t have in the morning. While instant oats are better than no oats, you should generally try to have less processed oats (basically any other kind on the above list) for the healthiest option, but instant oats can be good in a pinch.

So what did I have for breakfast today?

Pumpkin Oats!

In the mix:

  • 1/4 cup Scottish Oats
  • 1 cup water
  • ~1/2 canned pumpkin
  • 1 packet Truvia
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • homemade granola


SO good.

Are you a fan of oatmeal for breakfast? What are your favorite kinds of oats? What about your favorite way to top them?

0 comment on All About Oats

  1. Barb
    October 20, 2010 at 10:01 am (10 years ago)

    Yum, that looks soooo good! I love oatmeal too. I don’t make it at home though. I really should because it would save me a ton of money.

    I stop by Au Bon every morning and get their plain oatmeal and top it with sliced almonds, raisins, a little brown sugar and a drizzle of honey. So good!

  2. eatmoremeatless
    October 20, 2010 at 10:02 am (10 years ago)

    I’m a huge fan of oatmeal! I eat it most mornings. Great re-cap, thanks! 🙂

    On a side note, have you ever been hiking in Shenandoah? I’ve heard amazing things about the hikes there.

    • Beth
      October 20, 2010 at 11:24 am (10 years ago)

      You know I have never been hiking in my whole life – can you believe that?? I have heard awesome things about Shenandoah – specifically Old Rag Mountain.

      • eatmoremeatless
        October 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm (10 years ago)

        Never been hiking?! That’s wild! You have Great Fallas and Shenandoah so close to you too!

  3. happywhennothungry
    October 20, 2010 at 10:25 am (10 years ago)

    I love oats as well! I’ve recently been in the mood for overnight oats; I make old fashioned oats and add diced apple, brown sugar, and honey and then put them in the fridge for the next morning. They are delicious and so satisfying!

  4. Anna S.
    October 20, 2010 at 10:36 am (10 years ago)

    Yum! I made pumpkin oatmeal yesterday for breakfast. I have to add a little protein powder, otherwise it doesn’t keep me full!

    I didn’t like steel cut the last time I tried them. I bought some oat bran to try sometime this week though!

  5. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    October 20, 2010 at 10:40 am (10 years ago)

    Well… I have a bunch of steel cut oats I need to use. Not that I don’t like them, I just don’t have the time. I usually go for the rolled oats and top them with some cereal/granola and peanut butter or something. This gets me through the morning with NO problems. 🙂

    • Beth
      October 20, 2010 at 11:05 am (10 years ago)

      I have heard you can make them the night before which I am going to try very soon and I’ll post about. Then you just have to heat them up in the morning and you are good to go!

  6. Jamie
    October 20, 2010 at 10:55 am (10 years ago)

    I usually don’t eat oatmeal in the morning because I find that if I dont eat protein, I am so hungry in a couple hours. Maybe it is because I was doing instant? Your blog makes me want to give it another try.

    • Beth
      October 20, 2010 at 10:58 am (10 years ago)

      If you want to add some protein to your oats, you could do a scoop of nut butter, some protein powder, or even mix in egg whites while its cooking. I don’t know if instant are less filling than regular, they just have slightly less health benefits since they are processed. You should definitely give them another try!

  7. OliePants
    October 20, 2010 at 11:02 am (10 years ago)

    I have yet to try pumpkin oats – but I do l love me some brown sugar and cinnamon mixed in and topped with granola!

  8. Sarah
    October 20, 2010 at 11:15 am (10 years ago)

    I love quick oats! I can make them at the microwave at work with some pumpkin and greek yogurt 🙂 The greek yogurt helps get some protein without using a protein powder (which I’ve found for me doesn’t help). I do enjoy an egg white in my oats though too!

    • Beth
      October 20, 2010 at 11:24 am (10 years ago)

      Ohhh greek yogurt is an awesome idea to add some protein!

  9. Gretchen
    October 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm (10 years ago)

    I am sooooo obsessed with oats right now. I feel like reading your blog actually is what turned me onto them! I made my very first batch of overnight oats in a jar a while ago, and since then oats in general have been a staple on my stove. I haven’t been too adventurous with them – mostly just almond milk, a little blob of almond butter, honey, milled flaxseed, and some kind of frozen fruit (blueberries = love.) I did just get my first few cans of pumpkin, though, so you know that’s going to be happening!! It’s so thick and comforting and FILLING!! Nice to know it’s good for you, too. 🙂 I’ve only used rolled oats so far, but I may try steel cut cause it sounds like they’re even better for you (because they’re not steamed?)

    • Beth
      October 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm (10 years ago)

      Aww so glad I’ve made you want to eat oats – they are so good!! Yeah I think the steel cut oats are better for you because they are less processed, but they also have an awesome texture that I love. I’m going to try this new method I heard of to cook them the night before and leave them out and I’ll see how it goes and post it soon!

  10. Lori (Finding Radiance)
    October 20, 2010 at 4:01 pm (10 years ago)

    Ahhhh… a post after my own heart! I loves me some oats. I like rolled, steel cut, savory, sweet, yum!

  11. Lisa
    October 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm (10 years ago)

    Scottish Oats are my favorite!

  12. Ashleigh
    October 20, 2010 at 8:21 pm (10 years ago)

    Im the same way! I ate yogurt or eggs all summer and then once it started to get cooler my body just wanted oats!

  13. amanda june
    October 21, 2010 at 10:42 am (10 years ago)

    i have been LOVING the steel cut oats lately!! i love the texture and i actually like them a little chewier, so i only cook them for about 10 minutes. usually i just top them with some cinnamon and sf maple syrup…yumm. i’m excited to branch out and try it different ways too.

    can’t wait for your granola recipe!!!


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