Oatmeal. You simply can’t get much better than that when it comes to your morning meal. Oatmeal is a slower digesting carbohydrate source that, on its own, is sugar free, loaded with fiber, and will even provide a small dose of protein as well. What’s more, it’s incredibly hearty, giving you that comfort food feeling that will fill you up while warming your soul. For those seeking fat loss, oatmeal is also great as it’s a high volume food, meaning you will be able to eat quite a large serving of it for relatively few calories. Or, for those who are looking for muscle gain, it can work for you as well if you eat it uncooked like you would any other cold cereal. If consumed in this manner, it’ll be a very calorie dense source of energy that will help you easily meet your overall calorie needs.
All of this said, not all oatmeal is created equal. One trip to the grocery store will soon have you realising that there are many different varieties that you can pick up. But, which are going to serve you well and which will put a dent in your healthy diet plan? Let’s take a closer look at the main oatmeal varieties that you need to know about so that you can see how each one stacks up.
Regular Minute Oats
First you come to regular minute oats. Usually you can purchase these in a large bag for a relatively cost effective price or simply get them from your local bulk food store in bulk bins if you prefer. Minute oats are great because as the name suggests, they cook up in just a minute or two flat. They’re often much finer than some of the other oatmeal varieties, which assists in the speed of cooking.
Because they are so fine, they’re also often the go-to when preparing recipes that call for oats such as oatmeal cookies, muffins, or any other type of square you may be baking. Likewise, if you ever want to make oat flour, which is often called for in many baking recipes, using minute oats to grind up the flour is often preferable, unless you actually just buy it already pre-made.
The drawback to minute oats is because they are slightly processed (altered from their original form), this does mean they tend to digest and break down faster in the body, so they will be ranked slightly higher on the GI index. They are still relatively low so a good choice for overall health, but they aren’t the slowest burning oatmeal source that you can buy. So, if keeping blood sugar levels stable is a priority for you, you may want to pass on this variety.
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Flavored Minute Oats
The next type of oatmeal is flavoured minute oats. You often buy these in boxes that have individual sized serving packets that you simply pour into a bowl, add water, and then microwave for a minute or two. After that, breakfast is served. These oats can come in a wide variety of different flavors such as peaches and cream, apple cinnamon, and maple and brown sugar along with other options depending on the brands you are looking at.
The great thing about these is as noted, they’re flavoured. Many people find regular minute oats quite bland to eat, so they tend to turn their nose up at it (unless of course they add sugar, cinnamon, etc.). With this flavoured variety, it’s all done for you. On the cons side of things however, these oats are typically quite high in sugar because the added flavouring contains a very strong dose of sugar and other additives. So, from a health stand point, these do leave much to be desired. While you will get the complex carb from the oats, given it’s combined with the sugar, it will still rank very high on the GI index. All in all, you will likely want to pass on this variety.
Which now brings us to rolled oats. Rolled oats are the larger oat flakes that have not been ground up to make minute oats, so are a less processed version. As such, they will require a slightly longer cooking time, however they are still relatively fast to cook that it won’t put a damper on your morning.
Rolled oats, many people find, will have a slightly heartier taste and texture, also due to the fact they have not been cut up from their original size. Once again, rolled oats are not flavoured, so you may run into the issue of either not liking the taste, or having to figure out a way to add more flavour yourself. Rolled oats can taste great when toasted however, and toasted oats are often used to garnish many baking dishes.
Steel Cut Oats
Finally, we come to the last oatmeal variety, steel cut oats. Steel cut oats are the slowest digesting form of oats as they have not been altered in any way. That said, they can take a while to cook. A batch of steel cut oats will typically take over 30 minutes to prepare, so for this reason, they aren’t for everyone. If you want breakfast on the run, they just won’t fit the bill.
They also tend to give off a nuttier taste, which some people really love. Steel cut oats will not be the best option for baking due to the fact they do take so much more time to cook and won’t bake like the normal minute oats most recipes call for. If you are going for maximum nutrition however, steel cut oats are your best bet thanks to their very low GI index rating.
There you have a closer look at the different oatmeal varieties. Oatmeal is one food that you do want to be adding to your diet as it is a very healthy source of complex carbohydrate. Just be sure to avoid consuming added sugar with it and you will be all set.
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