AP NEWS

Cart Smarts: Oatmeal to start your day

February 20, 2019

Whether it is 30 degrees below zero or a beautiful warm spring morning (wishful thinking!), oatmeal is a popular breakfast option all year-round. It’s warm, tasty and hearty.

Beyond breakfast, oats can be used in smoothies, muffins, granola bars, and much more. Oatmeal is known to lower cholesterol, but it also helps you to feel fuller longer and helps control blood sugar levels.

Kathy’s Cart Smarts article last week discussed the many benefits of oatmeal. I received a few questions this week on the different types of oatmeal in the grocery store. What’s the difference between all of them? Let’s take a look at the most common types of oatmeal.

• Instant oats. Instant oats are also known as quick oats. Instant oats are pre-cooked, dried out, and then pressed. They cook the quickest as they are the most processed of the three.

• Rolled oats. Rolled oats are also known as old-fashioned oats. Rolled oats are steamed, rolled, and then pressed. They cook more quickly than steel-cut oats, but longer than instant oats. Rolled oats are often used in granola bars and muffins.

• Steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats are chopped, rather than rolled. Steel-cut oats take the longest to cook and are the least processed.

Which type of oatmeal is the healthiest? Honestly, they are all good choices. They all pack benefits of fiber, protein, and whole grain nutrition. There are also flavored packets of instant oatmeal, but before you go reaching for the variety pack of maple & brown sugar, cinnamon roll, and apples & cinnamon, be cautious of the preservatives and sweeteners, specifically added sugar. Opt for flavoring your own oatmeal using fresh or dried fruit, honey, granola, ground cinnamon, flaxseeds, chopped nuts, and more. You can also make the included recipe for mixed fruit oatmeal bake. Enjoy!