By Nicole Spain, Registered Dietitian
Oatmeal is wonderful way to start your morning on a cold winter day. Oats are great to help keep kids regular and relieve constipation, which is common in childhood. They also provide further nutritional benefits such as lowering cholesterol and improving blood sugar control and contain a slew of vitamins and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and B Vitamins.
If you are overwhelmed by the choices of oats at the grocery store, read below to get a better understanding of which oat is the best choice for your family. The main difference between the different oats is their cooking time and texture. Nutritionally, they are all excellent choices!
- Steel-Cut Oats - These oats, which take about 20-30 minutes to prepare, are chopped into tiny pieces and have a tough texture before they are cooked. Also called Irish oatmeal, steel-cut oatmeal is chewier than rolled or instant. The are the least processed and contain the highest fiber content but only by a small amount.
- Old-Fashioned – Also called rolled oats, old-fashioned oats are flat and flakey. They absorb more water and cook faster than steel-cut oats — usually in about 5 minutes — and are the oat of choice for granola bars, cookies, and muffins.
- Quick Cooking Oats - If you want stove-cooked oats but are in a hurry, these oats, which cook in one minute, are a great option. They can also be microwaved.
- Instant Oats - Great for mornings when you need a quick bite, individually packed instant oats are a thinner, more finely chopped version of old-fashioned oats. They microwave in minutes, and have a soft texture. These are the most processed type of oats.
Our Grow Fit menus will be featuring Golden Apple Oatmeal and Sweet Potato Porridge during the winter months. You can join us in celebrating National Oatmeal Month at home by trying one of these Grow Fit inspired recipes.
Strawberries & Cream Oatmeal
1/3 C strawberries (fresh or frozen)
½ C quick oats
1 C milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine all the ingredients except cinnamon powder in a microwave safe bowl. Stir.
- Microwave for 1 minute and 45 sec.
- Garnish with additional strawberries and a pinch of cinnamon powder.
Carrot Cake Oatmeal
½ C carrots, shredded
¼ C crushed pineapple
⅓ C raisins
½ C rolled oats, old fashioned
½ tsp allspice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ C walnuts (optional)
½ C milk
1 C water
Vanilla yogurt (optional)
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add water, finely shredded carrots and salt. Bring to small boil.
- Once it comes to a small boil, turn the heat to medium and stir in the oats, raisins, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla extract, walnuts and crushed pineapple. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the brown sugar and milk until the oats are creamy and desired consistency. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes.
- Serve warm and top with walnuts, cinnamon, and a dollop of vanilla yogurt.
Recipe Adapted from: https://krollskorner.com/recipes/breakfast/carrot-cake-oatmeal-2/#wprm-recipe-container-20651
Savory Steel Cut Oats with Parmesan
1 cup steel cut oats
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs olive oil
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 eggs, poached or fried
1 tsp vinegar
- Put the oats plus 3 ½ cups of water into a heavy medium saucepan along with the salt. Bring to a boil, stir in the oats then lower to simmer. (Use 4 cups of water if you prefer a looser oatmeal texture).
- Cook until most of the water is absorbed (stirring occasionally) and the oats get creamy (approx. 25-30 minutes).
- Remove from heat and stir in olive oil & cheese.
- Serve the oats with a poached or fried egg on top. Top with more cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe Adapted from: https://familystylefood.com/steel-cut-oats-pecorino-and-poached-egg/