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A Must-have Breakfast Staple for Every Home

This delicious and affordable staple has been dubbed a “superfood” because of its multiple nutritional benefits:
* high in fiber
* low in sodium and sugar
* helps lower cholesterol
* helps lower blood pressure
* regulates blood sugar levels
* improves the functioning of the immune system
* reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

We’re talking about oats. Now that mornings are cold, serving a hot bowl of oameal for breakfast is a perfect way to get the day started.

An oat is the seed of a cereal grain by the same name. “Oats” or “Oatmeal” are the standard names of the product we buy in the supermarket, but choosing the best one can be confusing due to the many adjectives prefixed to oat products – Steel cut / rolled / quick oats, etc.

Steel cut / Irish / Scottish oats – These oats look like chopped up rice. They have a chewy, nutty consistency and take a long time to cook (15-60 minutes). They contain more fiber, protein, calcium and other minerals than other varieties of oats, but on the downside they do carry slightly more calories and fat.

Rolled / “old fashioned” oats – These look like flat little ovals. They are quicker to cook than steel cut oats, but slower than quick oats. Mueslis and granolas are usually made with rolled oats. (See picture).

Quick oats – similar to rolled oats, but have been cut before being steamed and flattened. They are relatively quick to cook, and are often used in breads and muffins. Nutritionally, quick oats are similar to rolled oats. However, they are digested more quickly, and may not keep you as full for a long time.

Instant oats – These are the fastest cooking oats, because they have been rolled into very thin pieces. While they are more convenient than other oats, you’ll often find them with added flavors and salt. They lose a lot of their nutrition content because of the high amount of processing they have undergone.

Many popular oatmeal brands are made of instant oats with added flavorings and a hefty amount of sugars. Try to avoid these, and buy plain oats. You can add a touch of cinnamon, honey, or chopped fruits and nuts for a filling and nutritious meal.

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