One of the most versatile breakfast foods, oats are a powerhouse of energy and nutrients. Whether you’re using them to whip up a hot bowl of porridge, or adding them to muffins, pancakes or granola bars, they’re an excellent source of fibre, help lower cholesterol, protect gut health, and are chockful of antioxidants, Vitamin B and certain minerals.
Also, since they are slow to digest, they have a stabilising effect on blood sugar and keep you satiated and fuller for longer.
Oats come in roughly three varieties–steel-cut, rolled and instant. While the nutritional value of all three of them is more or less the same, they differ in textures and cook time.
So, which one should you pick? Well, lets first delve into the properties of the different types of oats:
Steel-cut oats look like broken rice, have a nutty flavour, and are known for their chewy and granular texture. The least processed variety, these are essentially produced by slicing whole grain using steel blades.
This means they take the longest to cook, which is a good thing in the case of oats because that is directly proportional to feeling full. Here’s one you could lay your hands on for a healthy and tasty breakfast.
Rolled or whole oats
These are slightly more processed than steel-cut oats. They are first steamed, then rolled, which makes them look like flat, irregularly rounded discs. They’re a great choice if you are looking for both nutrition and satiety.
These gluten-free rolled oats can be used in making everything from porridge to baked goods, especially cookies.
Instant or quick oats
The name is pretty self-explanatory. These are for you if you’re forever running late for work. These are the most processed, but that doesn’t mean their nutritional value is compromised even one bit. The only downside is you get hungry faster.
These instant organic oats are highly recommended since they are rich in complex carbohydrates, low in calories and are gluten-free.
So—which variety is the healthiest?
No matter what kind you choose to start or end your day with (they make for great bed-time snacks too), oats are easy to make, fun to eat and pack in the goodness of health.
Ultimately, the type you choose is completely up to you. If you prefer a sweet, nutty taste and chewy consistency, try steel-cut. If you like your oatmeal creamy and smooth, then rolled oats are your best friend. And if time is a factor, the instant variety makes for a healthy breakfast or quick energizing snack.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)