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Cooking with Oats

October 18, 2016 by Adrienne Ngai, Registered Dietitian

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Oats nutrition and how to cook oats

Cooked oatmeal with fruit, oatmeal cookies, oatmeal pancakes and even overnight oats may be some recipes that come to mind when you think of oats, but have you considered using this whole grain in a savory dish?

Oats Nutrition and Facts

Oats are a whole grain that became a staple in Europe before being introduced into North America. Oats contain fibre, many vitamins and minerals and antioxidants that are important for good health. Oats have both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre can help to control blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels and keep you feeling fuller longer. Insoluble fibre helps your bowel movements stay regular. Including whole grains like oats in your diet can also help to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, cancer and digestive disorders.

You may have noticed different names for oats at the store. These names tell you how the oats have been processed. Choose less processed oats to get the most nutrients per bite. Here is a list of oats, from least to most processed:

  • Whole oat groats: are oats that have the inedible hull removed and are similar to brown rice and wheat berries.
  • Steel-cut oats: are whole oat groats sliced into two or three pieces. They cook more quickly than whole oat groats, but take longer than rolled oats.
  • Old-fashioned rolled oats: are made when the whole oat groats are steamed and rolled into flakes.
  • Quick Rolled Oats: are old fashioned rolled oats that have been cut to shorten the cooking time.
  • Instant Oats: are oats that have been cut, partially cooked, dried and rolled thinly. These are the types of oats that are used in hot instant breakfast cereals. These cereals often have sugar, salt and other additives added. Read the food labels to choose the healthiest choice.

Going Beyond Oatmeal

Most people use oats for sweet dishes, but because they have a mild flavour they also pair well with savoury ingredients. Here are some recipes to get you started using oats in new ways:

Have you made oatmeal into a savory dish? Share your recipe with us.


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